The right to vote is a cornerstone of what it means to be a free people: It represents the bedrock tenets of equality and civic participation upon which our Nation was founded. Throughout American history, courageous patriots of every background and creed have fought to extend this right to all and to bring our country closer to its highest ideals. Voting is vital to a principle at the core of our democracy — that men and women of free will have the capacity to shape their own destinies. On National Voter Registration Day, we recommit to upholding this belief by encouraging all eligible Americans to register to vote and exercise this essential right.
Opportunity and Freedom PAC, and its two siblings, Opportunity and Freedom PAC numbers 1 and 2, were meant to be heavyweight sluggers for Republican Rick Perry, providing big-budget support for his second presidential bid. But Perry himself turned out to be a welterweight at best. The former Texas governor entered the race late, raised a skimpy $1.1 million by June 30 and “suspended” his campaign barely two months later. “We had a plan,” political consultant Austin Barbour, senior advisor to the superPACs, told NPR. “To me it also represents the peak of spending absolutely foolish money. It’s not rational, but I love it.”
You could be forgiven for not knowing, but Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day—a chance for eligible Americans of all stripes to register to vote. Registration is always a worthwhile goal, but this year, it’s more salient and politically charged than usual. That’s because it comes at a time when, despite record low turnout last fall, the voter registration process has been drawn into the center of a fierce partisan battle over access to the ballot. The more people who vote, the better Democrats do. As a result, with very few exceptions, one party is following a strategy of expanding the electorate, and the other is working to limit it. Officially, National Voter Registration Day has no agenda beyond signing up as many Americans as possible. But the reality is that voter registration, like so much else in today’s charged political climate, has become a subject of intense partisan conflict. That’s because these days, the more people who vote, the better Democrats do. As a result, with very few exceptions, one party is following a strategy of expanding the electorate, and the other is working to limit it.
Editorials: The Warnings About The Supreme Court’s Dangerous Campaign Finance Ruling Are Now Coming True | Paul Blumenthal/Huffington Post
Presidential candidates from both parties are going to solicit six and seven-figure contributions directly from donors for the first time in a decade, thanks to looser campaign finance rules enacted by the Supreme Court and Congress in recent years. Both parties are pushing wealthy donors to give more than $1 million for the 2016 presidential campaign, according to The Washington Post. Their efforts mark the first $1 million party campaign solicitations since the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act banned individual donors from making “soft money” donations — or unlimited contributions to political parties — in an effort to curtail opportunities for corruption. (Corporations are still banned from making “soft money” donations to parties.) The Supreme Court upheld this ban in 2003. Yet thanks to another Supreme Court ruling a decade later, as well as a congressional decision in 2014 to increase party contribution limits, Hillary Clinton’s campaign will now be able to ask single donors to contribute approximately $1.3 million over the two-year 2016 election cycle — and could potentially raise more. Her Republican rivals could follow her lead.
Today is National Voter Registration Day, and we are encouraging all eligible Floridians to register to vote or update their registration if they have moved since the last election. September also is National Voter Registration Month, and we are asking Floridians to set aside just a few moments to register to vote, or if already registered, to go online and check that their registration information is correct and up to date. Once you have checked your status, if you are on Twitter, post a tweet with the hashtag #CelebrateNVRD and encourage your followers to do a check of their registration status. During the 2015 legislative session, the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections (FSASE) and the Bipartisan Policy Center worked together to educate the public and legislators on the nonpartisan policy advantages of Online Voter Registration (OVR).
For roughly two hours Monday, 10 members of the new Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission listened to voters and elected officials alike vent about the state’s congressional and legislative district maps. Speakers told them they felt disenfranchised and distressed. They said their voices had been silenced, and their views weren’t represented. “They’re frustrated and apathetic,” former district court judge and commission co-chairman Alexander Williams Jr. concluded after the hearing. “People want something done.” Monday’s hearing, conducted at Hagerstown Community College, was the second in a series the 11-member panel is holding across the state.
The secretary of state on Monday said she would review a letter from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council who are pressing her to establish satellite voting offices for Native Americans in 10 Montana counties. In a meeting with William “Snuffy” Main, Linda McCulloch said she is a “fan” of satellite offices and voting rights but could not give a definitive answer to the requests made in the letter as it had been in her possession less 24 hours. She said she was looking at the possibility of a directive but could not elaborate as to what the directive would say. Earlier this month, The Rocky Mountain Tribal leaders called on her to “issue a directive to Montana counties that have American Indian Reservations within their boundaries telling the counties that they must establish satellite voting offices for in-person absentee voting and later voter registration on those Indian Reservations within their boundaries for the 2016 general election. “
A new study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that 43 states, including South Carolina, have voting machines that are at least 10 years old, past their life expectancy, and that’s likely to lengthen voting lines on Election Day. South Carolina has been using its current voting machines since 2004. “How many people out there are using 11-, 12-year-old laptops? Probably not too many, and that’s because they reach the end of life cycle and become obsolete,” says Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the South Carolina Election Commission. He says the state’s voting machines are not obsolete, though, even though they are old.
New and more inclusive elections in November have been proposed as military leaders said the general behind the coup will lead the country during the transitional period. The proposed plan will be taken up Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria, by West African member states of the regional bloc known as Ecowas. The announcement by Senegal’s President Macky Sall comes after a day fraught with tensions that began with an attack by pro-coup demonstrators and elite presidential guard soldiers on the hotel hosting the talks. Earlier in the day, angry protesters had clashed outside the hotel where negotiations were taking place, with some shouting: “No to Diendere! No to military rule!”
The celebrations began shortly after dawn. A cluster of monks in saffron robes gathered beneath this city’s historic golden Shwedagon Pagoda to murmur prayers and chants. A procession of vans then took the men to a monastery on the outskirts of Yangon, where groups of monks, nuns and civilians huddled under umbrellas before a large stage lined with senior abbots and emblazoned with Buddhist insignia. This was no ordinary religious festival. The Sept. 14 gathering was the start of a two-week nationwide anti-Muslim event organized by Myanmar’s powerful Buddhist nationalist group, known locally as the Ma Ba Tha. The cause for celebration was the recent adoption of a package of laws to “protect race and religion” in the Buddhist-majority country, further marginalizing its beleaguered Muslim minority. “Victorious! Victorious!” the crowd bellowed as a soft-spoken monk took to the stage.
Thousands of people rallied on the streets of Moscow on Sunday to demand fair elections and challenge Vladimir Putin’s 15-year-old rule, in the first significant opposition protest in the capital for months. The gathering was restricted by authorities to a district of southern Moscow. Police said no more than 500 took part, while a Reuters witness said there were some 3,000 protesters. “Putin is a bureaucrat, not the czar,” one poster said. Opposition leaders, including anti-Kremlin figurehead Alexei Navalny, said they were protesting against what they called Putin’s “lifelong” rule. “Russia will be free!” Ilya Yashin told the rally. “We will not depart from the country and leave it in the mercy of ‘crooks and thieves’,” he said, referring to a phrase coined by Navalny to describe Russia’s ruling party.
The head of Catalonia’s regional government says a unilateral split from Spain is unstoppable unless the central government agrees to call a binding referendum on independence. Artur Mas threw down the gauntlet to Madrid less than a week before a local election which Catalan separatists have billed as a proxy vote on secession. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has repeatedly ruled out a breakaway by the wealthy northeastern region and opposed any attempt to hold a referendum. Mas did not expect matters to change after a national election due in December as not only the ruling People’s Party (PP) but also the opposition Socialists and the smaller Ciudadanos party oppose such a possibility. “I am very skeptical that a new Spanish government could offer a deal to Catalonia on holding a referendum,” Mas said in an interview with Reuters at the 16th Century Palau de la Generalitat regional headquarters.
UAE citizens residing abroad continued to come forward to vote in the Federal National Council (FNC) Elections 2015 in 94 polling stations at UAE embassies and consulates around the world. The electoral process has been extended outside the UAE for the first time in a move aimed at allowing Emirati citizens to exercise their voting rights even if they are residing in a foreign country. On the occasion, Tareq Hilal Lootah, Under-Secretary of Ministry of State for FNC Affairs and Head of the Elections Management Committee, pointed out that the polling centres abroad have provided all the facilities to the voters to enable them to effectively participate in the elections. Voting process continued without any interruptions despite an increase in voter turnout on the second day, Lootah said. UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan casted his vote at the UAE Mission to the UN on Sunday.