As 2014 midterms race to their nail-biting conclusion, many Democrats are already setting their sights on 2016, when they hope Hillary Clinton lifts all ballots and leads the party back to the White House. But will 2016 be like 1988, when George H.W. Bush won a third straight term for the Republicans? Or will it be like 2008, when George W. Bush’s unpopularity helped sink John McCain—and elect Barack Obama? Some of 2016’s key factors, like the crafting of a winning message and the selection of the nominees, will be in the hand of the campaigns and the voters. Others, like the president’s popularity and the state of the economy, will not. With that in mind, here’s a visual look at what matters going into another presidential marathon—and what doesn’t.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
The common sharpie might be responsible for as much confusion and harm to American voting as any other technology. Voting officials have wielded these little indelible markers with good intentions but absolute abandon, posting ad-hoc signs everywhere—where to go, how to register, what door to use, and where to find the bathroom. I’ve witnessed more than a few gotchas. At a recent election setup in Boston, official signs were carefully placed on the wheelchair-accessible entryway door. But once the doors swung open at 7 a.m., the signs became invisible. Poll workers then used sharpies to mark a circuitous path through a cafeteria to the polling place. They also marked a narrow entrance on the other side of the building as an afterthought, creating bottlenecks in all directions.
Seven months after the Supreme Court struck down a provision of campaign finance law that limited the total amount that individuals could contribute to campaigns, parties and political action committees, big donors have a host of new options to more conveniently spread their political influence around. There are 213 new joint fundraising committees this year, a type of committee that allows contributors to write a single big check to be split among multiple candidates. Before the McCutcheon decision, the maximum number of recipients that could be included in a joint fundraiser stood at seven. Its beneficiaries can include campaigns, parties and leadership PACs. Since April 2, when the case was decided, 11 new PACs were formed with more than seven beneficiaries, a Sunlight analysis found. Two of these new "super joints" include more than 20 recipient committees.
After controlling for population and examining county-level data in each state, we found that during the 2012 election, voters in counties with a higher percentage of minorities cast provisional ballots at higher rates than in counties with lower percentages of minorities in 16 states. Those 16 states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Utah. Our findings raise serious questions about the health and integrity of the voting process in these states. Since nearly one-third of provisional votes are eventually rejected, the finding that minority voters may be more affected by the use of provisional ballots gives rise to concerns of whether minority voices are being properly heard in these 16 states. Although there are legitimate reasons for provisional ballots to be issued—and some such ballots are properly rejected—these statistically significant correlations between provisional ballots and minority populations are deeply troubling.
New research from Harvard Institute of Politics on the political attitudes of young Americans paints a picture of a population that is digitally connected to the outside world but wary of putting their political beliefs into action through traditional offline actions, such as attending a protest or volunteering for a candidate. According to the study of more than 2,000 18-to-29 year olds, young people in the United States are nearly universally connected, often in multiple ways. Some 94 percent report having an Internet connection at home, and 88 percent say they have a mobile phone. Eighty percent have a Facebook account, though social-network participation drops off sharply from there: Google+ stands at 45 percent, Instagram 39 percent, Twitter 38 percent, Pinterest 30 percent, Snapchat 28 percent, and Tumblr 13 percent.
The University of Kentucky College of Law Election Law Society, a law student organization, and election law professor, Joshua A. Douglas, announce the first of its kind at UK – an Election Analysis Blog. Professor Douglas, the Robert G. Lawson and William H. Fortune Associate Professor of Law, and students from the Election Law Society will provide live analysis on legal issues surrounding the election as results pour in across the Commonwealth and the nation. They will field questions from the general public and media and provide ongoing commentary on any legal issues that may arise.
Source: UK College of Law
Being registered in more than one jurisdiction doesn't prove you committed fraud, only that you've arranged things to permit it or that you've overlooked this detail of good citizenship by absentmindedness. But convincing evidence that vote fraud is both real and consequential has appeared. A new academic paper published in the journal Electoral Studies provides evidence of voting by non-citizens that directly contradicts the Democrats' "nothing to see here" mantra. Under the neutral headline "Do Non-Citizens Vote in U.S. Elections?" three professors from Virginia universities answer in the affirmative. Using an enormous database of voters nationwide (32,800 from 2008, and 55,400 in 2012), the authors find that about one-quarter of the non-citizens who participated in the survey were registered to vote. Studying survey responses, the authors judge that non-citizen voters tend to favor Democratic candidates by large margins.
Abstract In spite of substantial public controversy, very little reliable data exists concerning the frequency with which non-citizen immigrants participate in United States elections. Although such participation is a violation of election laws in most parts of the United States, enforcement depends principally on disclosure of citizenship status at the time of voter registration. This study examines participation rates by non-citizens using a nationally representative sample that includes non-citizen immigrants. We find that some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.
Source: Do non-citizens vote in U.S. elections?: Electoral Studies