Election Connection: Voting Rights

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I thought on November 3rd that this series would be retired.

And then Republicans in Congress went off the rails. They took every conspiracy theory, every half-baked piece of nonsense, and tried to overturn the legal election.

How do people who coined themselves the Tea Party after the original throw-British-tea-in-the-river protesters and become the seditionists and treasonous anti-democratic rioters?

After that, their supporters marched to the Capitol and breached security, injuring over 140 police officers, killing one, directly causing the suicide of two other officers. Four other rioters died in the process. The FBI is still investigating, arresting, and jailing those seditionists.

Meanwhile in Georgia, state Republicans are attempting to pass laws to suppress voters going forward in the future.

We will need to remain engaged in order to keep the fragile democracy we have. We need a larger majority in both Houses if we want to continue to help the American people.

What follows is a starting place for following people who know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about. Please add your own suggestions in the comments.

Marc E. Elias

Democracy Docket

Department of Justice

Dept. of Justice Twitter

Ari Berman

Stacey Abrams

Fair Fight

Vote Save America

Dan Pfeiffer

Dan Pfeiffer’s The Message Box

Election Connection: Welcome to the Biden Administration

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The Election Connection series will be a bit more sporadic, posted on a need-to-know basis now that we have an Administration that cares about its citizens in all the important and even in the most mundane ways. I still feel waves of PTSD at moments and then I see Press Secretary Jen Psaki swatting stupid questions, not arguing with White House correspondents, and offering experts to give briefings and answer questions, and I remember that it’s all going to be okay. It’s like the last four years were a dream, and I’m Pamela Ewing.

Unfortunately, the last four years weren’t a dream, and as nightmarish as it was to live through, it wasn’t a nightmare either. It was very real.

We need to take that same energy from the last years, the same energy brought to the Georgia Senate race, the same energy brought by the summer protests, and we need to focus it unrelentingly on the next two years, and then the two after that, and then the two after. We can never get complacent again.

Complacent = Complicit

We came very close to losing our republic. As it was, we witnessed a coup attempt, an insurrection that struck at the heart of our democracy. Five people died, including a Capitol police officer, but hundreds of others were injured. Two members of law enforcement have committed suicide. And still, there are Republicans who refuse to comply with law enforcement requirements to go through a magnetometer before entering the House floor. I mean, let’s be realistic and honest here, they’re also refusing to wear masks despite common sense and Executive Order, putting their colleagues and staff at risk (four members of Congress plus one spouse became covid infected because of Republican negligence on January 6th, and that was without their obvious complicity in the attack on the Capitol).

So, it’s time for a Civics lesson, and I will go extra slow as if I were speaking to the newly elected Senator from Alabama (this one) who doesn’t know the three branches of government (see below*) or a Supreme Court justice (this one) who doesn’t know the five rights guaranteed in the First Amendment (see below*).

Some things are etched in stone – the Constitution including the Bill of Rights is one of those things. The Constitution may be amended, and there are procedures in place to do that. In fact, we have amended the Constitution twenty-seven times, most recently in 1992.

Some things are not – Number of Supreme Court justices, the use of the filibuster. Supreme Court justices were based on the number of circuit courts, which have increased to thirteen. This is why many experts feel that the Supreme Court should be expanded to cover each circuit court with its own justice (as established in 1869 with what is known as the Circuit Judges Act).

The filibuster is not part of the Constitution, which makes it easier to change than amending the Constitution would be.

A couple of points:

Unity does not mean to continue to allow ourselves be abused or gaslit.

Unity does not mean giving in to bullies.

Unity does not mean power sharing when Democrats have a clear mandate.

Below the cut are Twitter follows of the Biden Administration, the House Managers of the Impeachment Trial, a selection of podcasts, and other accounts that I follow regularly and find are very informative and honest. Add your own in the comments and I can include them in the next Election Connection.

*Branches of Government
| | |
Legislative Executive Judicial

*5 Rights Enumerated in the First Amendment:
1. Freedom of Speech
2. Freedom of Religion
3. Freedom of the Press
4. Freedom to Assemble
5. Freedom to Protest the Government

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Election Connection: Georgia Runoff: Get Rid of Republican Corruption, Elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on Jan. 5th

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I know that people often talk about the corruption of politicians and sometimes that can be an oversimplified catch-all and generalization and stereotype, but even I was surprised at the level of corruption of the Trump Administration, and I believe that the blatant corruption and lack of empathy towards the American people led to a much wider array of abuses.

Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are two of the most unethical and shady pols I have come across. To the point, that in the last debate Perdue had with challenger Jon Ossoff, he had no response to Ossoff calling him a crook right to his face.

He didn’t defend, he didn’t excuse, he stood silently by as if accepting the description. He has refused to debate in subsequent opportunities.

Loeffler debated her challenger Reverend Raphael Warnock, but instead of laying out her policy priorities and her ideals, she persisted in name-calling using “radical liberal Raphael Warnock” as if that false characterization was all that mattered, and perhaps to the GOP it is.

To Georgia voters, though, I hope that they can see through the dishonest shenanigans of both incumbents who have done nothing for their constituents and only worked to line their own pockets.

Both have sat in on classified briefings earlier in the year about the oncoming Covid pandemic, and instead of taking care of Georgians, they made sure their stock portfolios were in order, trading stocks they felt would fall when the pandemic reached the United States and become common knowledge, and buying stocks in the health care field that would surely grow as Americans became sicker and sicker.

In any other administration, there would be an ethics investigation into both of them.

We currently stand at just under 300,000 dead from the virus known as covid-19. They haven’t pressured Mitch McConnell to bring covid relief to the Senate floor, and have stood in line behind him as he ignores the ravages of the pandemic.

As long as they’re getting paid, I suppose.

Some links for you to see for yourselves what they’ve been doing for most of 2020:

What We Know About David Perdue’s Stock Trades

David Perdue profited from a Navy contractor’s stock while overseeing the Naval Fleet

Perdue and Loeffler’s Well-timed Stock Trades Give Georgia Democrats an Opening

Georgia Senator David Perdue privately pushed for a tax break for rich Sports Teamowners

After Insider Trading Probe, Loeffler Offers Donors Access In ‘Co-Investor Program’

9 Questions about the Georgia Senate Runoffs You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask

Loeffler among Senators whose stock trading during coronavirus raises questions

Please give your support to Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock; vote for BOTH of them and bring integrity and purpose to the Senate in representing the people of Georgia.

Follow these accounts on Twitter and visit their websites to see what you can do to ensure a Democratic win in the Georgia Runoff!

Black Voters Matter

Website

LaTosha Brown, co-founder Black Voters Matter

Stacey Abrams

Reverend Raphael Warnock

Website for Donations

Jon Ossoff

Website

Vote Save America

Vote Save America: GA Runoff

Get Mitch Fund for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock

Fair Fight

Website for Donations

Fair Count

Website

SEAP – The Southern Economic Advancement Project

Website

Election Connection – Georgia Runoff – Why You Should Care About Georgia

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Living in New York, why do I care about a runoff election in Georgia? And more importantly, why should you care?

Two words, one hashtag: #MoscowMitch

Mitch McConnell, Senator of Kentucky and overall partisan hypocrite.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t start out with calling names, but believe me there are much worse that would be applicable that I am refraining from. He has no conscience. He has no shame.

We came out, 80 million + of us and we sent a clear message that we want the Trump Administration and its policies gone. G-O-N-E. With the amount of votes and the states that flipped from 2016 and especially the states flipping that have been Republican strongholds for years, Arizona and Georgia, it is clear that Republican tactics and policies have been rejected out of hand.

Currently, Senator McConnell is the Majority Leader in the Senate. He has single handedly halted legislation in Congress.

The House of Representatives have passed laws for the past two years – hundred of laws – and sent them to the Senate. Mitch McConnell decides what is brought to the floor for debate and to be voted on. He’s brought nearly none of them. Not voting rights, not covid survival checks for struggling American citizens, not state and local government monies to offset their covid spending for police and fire, not money for testing and PPE.

All Mitch McConnell does is confirm judges, most of them unqualified as determined by the American Bar Association. Many of them with less experience than anyone else on the bench. Mitch McConnell blocked most of President Obama’s agenda including judges and one Supreme Court justice.

On the night that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Mitch McConnell was communicating his intention to confirm a “replacement” justice as soon as possible despite the election coming in mere weeks.

He cried in saying farewell to fellow Senator Lamar Alexander who is retiring and has yet to say any words of condolence for the almost 300,000 Americans who have died during the pandemic this year from covid.

He tells his followers that he doesn’t want to “bail out blue states” while ignoring the reality that the blue states bail out the red states each and every year, and blue states receive less in federal aid than Republican run states.

To put it simply, Mitch McConnell is despicable.

He has already said that he will block Biden’s choices for judges and any Supreme Court justices that are nominated. He will not advance for vote any Cabinet confirmation who he doesn’t agree with.

In other words, McConnell will single-handedly hamstring the Biden Administration that the majority of the country has voted for, has spoken in favor of.

President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris have been given a mandate to get this country on track and to be better; to move away from corporate welfare and debilitating trade wars and help the people in this country who desperately need the help. They can begin to address the racial disparity that’s been built into our system since its founding.

All that is for naught without the Senate though.

As of this writing (a few days before publishing), 126 House Republicans, 17 Republican Attorneys General, and untold numbers of GOP Senators have signed on, either by name or by silent complicity in attempting to overthrow the will of the people, to have the courts intercede and throw out the election with lies of nonexistent voter fraud and disinformation.

However, we have a chance to nip this un-American, unpatriotic behavior in the bud: if we win the two Senate seats in the Georgia runoff happening on January 5, 2021 and you can help even if you don’t live in Georgia and can’t personally vote for Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.

Money is still needed.

Volunteers are still needed – for phone calls, for texts, for transporting voters to the polls on January 5th.

We also need to remind people that when they go to the polls during early voting beginning on December 14 (yesterday) and finishing on January 5th, they need to vote for BOTH Warnock and Ossoff. If they are BOTH elected to the Senate, the Senate will be tied 50-50, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be the deciding vote and the Democrats will control the agenda.

Start by going to Vote Save America’s Georgia Page. It will give you all the information you need to get started in volunteering, in getting out the information, and in getting out the vote.

Next week, I will talk about the current Georgia’s Senators’ blatant corruption.

Vote Save America – Georgia Runoff

Jon Ossoff

Rev. Raphael Warnock

Fair Fight

Election Connection: ELECTION DAY! IT’S HERE! IT’S NOW!

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Today is Election Day; the last day of the 2020 Election to make your voice heard.

My Home Page is now temporarily an Election Resource Page. It includes voter protection hotlines including for the deaf and hard of hearing, some informative graphics from Vote Save America including how to volunteer and help people waiting in long lines.

When the polls close tonight, it will probably not be over. Here are a few resources to follow or get on email lists. It is also a good idea to support investigative journalism. I can’t afford a lot, but the two things I subscribed to in the last year or so are The Washington Post (on Kindle) and Cafe Insider, which features former US Attorney Preet Bharara and a few of his closest friends and associates who bring national security information to life on several podcasts with interviews on a variety of other subjects as well. These are both well worth the monthly subscription.

Others:

Vote Save America

Dan Pfeiffer’s Message Box

Pod Save America

Marc E. Elias

Ron Klain

Rachel Maddow

Preet Bharara

Connie Schultz

Andy Slavitt

Andy Slavitt’s Podcast: In The Bubble

Penzeys Spices – they have really stepped up in the last four years to help Americans know the issues and walk the walk on their values and ours.

Jesus on Twitter – I know, I know, but this Twitter feed has a way of distilling things into simple terms and reminders and adds a calming feeling in the midst of chaos. (And this Jesus Twitter specifically)

And of course, your own Representatives and Senators. Know who they are, know their online and phone information and continue to hold them accountable. They work for you.

Please add any of your own recommendations in the comments.

Below the cut are some graphics related to VP Biden’s policies including a comparison and timeline between his and Pres. Trump’s covid response/reactions.

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Election Connection: One Week. Seven Days. We’ve Got Work To Do.

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I’ve already voted. I made my plan and followed through. I voted on Saturday. In a typical year, that would mean I’m done for the next twelve months. But this is not a typical year.

Even though I’ve cast my vote for Joe Biden, my work (and yours) is not finished until the end of Election Day.

At that point, others may take up the baton, but hopefully the landslide and mandate will express crystal clearly the will of the American people.

As I was working on what this post was going to be eight days before Election Day, and even as I was writing my notes late last night, things happened that need to be brought to light for prospective voters.

The first is the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. This was an illegitimate process to confirm a justice whose beliefs are so far opposite of the American people that that alone should disqualify her. Her lack of litigation experience is a second disqualification. Confirming her eight days before the end of an election after sixty million people have already voted is a despicable act by the Senate GOP and especially the evil*, hypocritical Majority Leader McConnell.

Clicking this photo will take you directly to Vote Save America’s Voting Plan. Twitter. (c)2020

The second big item was a Supreme Court ruling that while ballots in Wisconsin can be postmarked by Election Day, they cannot be counted after Election Day. What this means in the real world is that if you mail your ballot in, it may not be counted. Again, McConnell (evil hypocrite) and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have consistently kept Congress from including voter security monies for the post office and have sabotaged key sorting equipment nationwide. Because of this partisan hackery, please, either vote early  or on Election Day in person or hand deliver your absentee ballot to an official ballot box, to your board of elections, or at the polls on Election Day.

To be sure your vote is counted, have a plan. The following are resources to help you from now through Election Day.

Remember – speak to your family and friends about voting. Be prepared to answer any questions. Direct them to the Biden website to read up on his policy proposals and priorities.

Make sure they’re voting.

Offer to drive people to the polls.

Volunteer – it’s not too late to help (see the links below).

*see his debate with Amy McGrath in Kentucky laughing about not bringing covid relief to the floor for a vote.

Clicking this photo will take you to volunteer opportunities at the Vote Save America website.


Other links:

Vote Save America – Donate to relieve this country of Mitch McConnell’s “leadership”

Vote Save America – Have a Plan to Vote

Vote Save America – Volunteer

I Will Vote

When We All Vote

Follow Marc Elias on Twitter.

What do you do if there is voter intimidation at your poll? Call 1-866-687-8683 (1-866-OUR VOTE)

What do you do if armed “militias” are at your polling place? Georgetown Law has information for all fifty states.

Clicking the photo will take you to We The Action where, if you’re a lawyer, you can sign up to volunteer to protect our vote.

Election Connection: 2 Weeks: Voter Suppression and Russian Disinformation

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This link will take you to the story of Corey Brotherton’s father who was turned away for not being registered to vote. Except he was registered to vote.

Know your rights and know where to get the correct information in order to exercise your right to vote.

Corey went to I Will Vote and was able to show the poll workers that his father was indeed eligible to vote. His is one of many stories of voter suppression.

I’m sure you’ve seen the long lines during early voting, especially in minority neighborhoods. Please stay in line. Bring water, food, a chair.

Another resource to keep with you or on your phone is Georgetown Law’s information sheets – one for each state – on what to do if confronted with unauthorized militia groups at the polling places.

ACLU’s information is also good to keep in your phone.

This is the election protection hotline if you are having trouble voting: 1-866-OUR VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

This week has been full of Russian disinformation and DNI Ratcliffe and Sen. Ron Johnson have been at the top of the list encouraging this sort of thing. I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s demoralizing. Try to ignore it. Pay attention to reliable news sources and ignore the Trump Administration’s sidetracking their voter suppression efforts with their screaming about the Biden family. Russia is very much at play in our election, as they were in 2016.

Ignore the polls. Make a plan to vote, and vote as early as you can.

14 days. (See the new countdown on my sidebar.) We can do this. Together.

Election Connection: 4 Weeks: Voter Intimidation

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The President has called upon his supporters to be poll watchers. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t just show up at the polls on Election Day and declare yourself a poll watcher.

It is against the law.

What’s worse is that the people he’s encouraging are armed militants; militants, not militia. The US does not have a militia and private “militias” are not legally allowed to act as law enforcement.

Not for the state governments, and not for the federal government.

Georgetown Law has put together this link highlighting the applicable law to turn away any of these right-wing, fascist members of the Trump fan club and keep them from intimidating voters trying to exercise their rights at the ballot box.

The link will take you to the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection fact sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws in each state barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive.

State Fact Sheets Addressing the Rise of Unlawful Private Paramilities

Election Connection: 5 Weeks: SCOTUS

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[OPINION]

I think it’s important to look at this SCOTUS nomination in its totality, and not simply whether or not we like this nominee choice of Amy Coney Barrett. I also think we need to take care not to conflate our strong feelings for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and keep our biases in check when we talk about Barrett’s personal life and instead stick to her judicial record, which is scant. I also believe a little humility is necessary by those pressing for this nominee. Whatever judicial strengths she has, she cannot compare to an icon of RBG’s stature. RBG’s work for women and first head of the ACLU’s Women’s Project steered much of the equal rights we women (and men) enjoy today. Not everyone can be a Thurgood Marshall or a Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and that doesn’t necessarily disqualify someone, including Judge Barrett.

As a matter of course, this nomination absolutely should not go forward. Even without Mitch McConnell’s blatant hypocrisy, we aren’t too close to an election – we are in the middle of an election. Over one million voters have already spoken with millions more to vote between now and the conclusion of the election on November 3rd.

I do understand Barrett’s unwillingness to step aside somewhat; the President would only choose someone else, although stepping aside on principle would show us what principles she has, as not stepping aside has already shown us.

Very simply, my opinion is clear-eyed.

This President, who was impeached earlier this year, and has now been reported to have engaged in tax fraud should not be the person to nominate a new Supreme Court justice. There are still allegations that a deal was worked out for Justice Kennedy to retire. This President admitted on tape his malfeasance in conducting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it invaded its way across our country. He failed in his stewardship, and he should not be rewarded by the complicit and cowardly Senate; the same Senate and Majority Leader who refused to work with the nation’s first Black President on any legislative agenda. The same man who let his racism cloud his solemn oath to guard the Constitution.

The Election is now. People have voted. People are voting. Right now.

When the election is certified, if President Trump wins re-election, he can then nominate someone (including Amy Coney Barrett) for SCOTUS. However, if the President-Elect is Joe Biden, then we, as a country must wait until after the inauguration on January 20, 2021, and let the duly elected President follow the will of the American people, and nominate the justice who will fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat.

Although irreplaceable, someone will eventually take her place on the High Court and that someone should be nominated by the President chosen by the American electorate.

Go to Vote Save America and see how you can help get out the vote!