Florida Moves To Outlaw Handing Out Water To Voters

Voters stand in line waiting to vote

Voters stand in line waiting to vote

A Florida lawmaker has introduced legislation that would follow Georgia’s lead in barring handing out water or food to people waiting in line to vote within 150 feet of a polling venue.

Via Politico:

“It’s influencing the vote and that’s what we are trying to stop because they are a captive audience,” Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill), the bill sponsor and the former chair of the Republican Party of Florida, said at a hearing Monday. “The 150 feet area is supposed to be a safe zone where they are not going to be bothered by a campaign.”

Ingoglia also said that nothing in the proposal would prevent local election supervisors from handing out water to people in line if they wanted. “I just think it should be a function of the government,” he said.

So, people not affiliated with any campaign  – folks who just want to encourage people to stay in line and vote, Democrat or Republican – can’t hand someone a bottle of water? #srsly

Many Of The ‘Stop The Steal’ Insurrectionists Didn’t Even Vote

CNN found many insurrectionists didn't even vote in the presidential election
Donovan Crowl (mugshot)

We all recall the chaos and mayhem caused by the hundreds of Trump supporters who invaded the U.S. Capitol building on January 6.

You know, the ones who felt so DEEPLY that the presidential election they held SO DEAR had been stolen from them?

CNN did a deep dive into the voting histories of some 80+ people who have already been arrested for taking part in the insurrection and found many of the insurrectionists didn’t even vote.

Just one story:

Federal authorities later identified Crowl, 50, as a member of a self-styled militia organization in his home state of Ohio and affiliated with the extremist group the Oath Keepers. His mother told CNN that he previously told her “they were going to overtake the government if they…tried to take Trump’s presidency from him.”

Despite these apparent pro-Trump views, a county election official in Ohio told CNN that he registered in 2013 but “never voted nor responded to any of our confirmation notices to keep him registered,” so he was removed from the voter rolls at the end of 2020 and the state said he was not registered in Ohio.

Crowl was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of destruction of government property and conspiracy for allegedly coordinating with others to plan their attack.

There’s much more at the click.

CNN notes that some of the voting records of those who have been charged in the Capitol riots were not available to the public.

So there may be even more hypocritical ‘patriots’ out there who couldn’t bother to cast a ballot.

(image via Twitter/JohnPavlovitz)

Texas Republicans Lose Again Trying To Block Drive-Thru Voting

Drive-through voting in Harris County, TX (screen capture)

And stay out!

First, the Texas state Supreme Court said ‘no.’ Then, a federal District Court judge said ‘no.’

Now, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has said ‘no’ to a bid by Texas Republicans to block Election Day drive-through voting in Harris County.

From NPR:

In a terse order, the three-judge panel wrote: “It is ordered that appellants’ motion for injunctive relief to issue a preliminary injunction banning drive-thru voting on Election Day, November 3, 2020, is denied.” No explanation was given.

The move is yet another loss for Texas Republicans who had sought to challenge the legality of some 127,000 votes cast at drive-through voting sites in the Houston area.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen threw out that suit, ruling the plaintiffs don’t have legal standing to sue. The Texas Supreme Court dismissed a similar challenge on Sunday.

Harris County, Texas’ most populous county and majority Democratic, erected 10 drive-through sites, mostly tents, to expedite the early voting process as a way of allowing people to cast ballots safely during the coronavirus pandemic. They were also in place this summer before the state’s primary.

Noting that point, Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee, asked plaintiffs, “Why am I just getting this case?” He later said that the suit was not timely and that “this has been going on all summer.”

Harris County Clerk Christopher Hollins decided to shut down 9 of the ten Election Day drive-thru voting sites out of concern that the votes could later be thrown out via ongoing legal challenges filed by Republicans.

Michael Henry On Gays Who Don’t Have Time To Do This One Little Thing

Chris Renfro and Michael Henry (screen capture)

Which is worse – being called a ‘basic’ gay or being kicked out of bed for not voting?

I have to say Michael Henry’s latest video exploration into the world of the gays had me scratching my head a bit. I know I’ve heard of gays who don’t vote, but do they really exist?

Really?

In the video, Clint shares a recent story of a nooner gone bad after he casually mentioned he doesn’t vote, nor does he plan to. Shaken out of his afterglow by the revelation, Nathan throws Clint out of his apartment.

Needless to say, Clint’s indignation over being kicked to the curb falls on less than sympathetic ears as Michael and Chris are just as horrified by his lack of civic duty.

“Would you kick someone out of bed for not voting?” asks Clint with a – pardon the expression – straight face.

Clint Keller (screen capture)

Chris and Michael in unison: “YES!”

The democratic duo then goes into all the reasons how not voting serves no purpose whatsoever.

Oh, and Clint also admits he won’t be going out this weekend because he partied so hard at Atlanta Pride he got gout. “What’s the big deal? It’s my right to have a good time in a dark warehouse. So what if it’s a ‘super spreader’ event at the public’s expense?”

In this day and age of Donald Trump packing the courts with ultra-conservative judges whose rulings can shape (or reduce) LGBTQ rights, kicking transgender soldiers out of the U.S. military and arguing at the Supreme Court it’s fine to fire someone for who they love, why would someone choose to not vote? I mean, not even fill out a mail-in ballot?

Michael Henry is, once again spot-on not only on the issue but with his timing as the election is only one week away. Watch the quick video below, then make sure you vote!

Note: For those concerned about coronavirus safety, Michael Henry shares, “Nathan and Clint are in a relationship and we filmed in their apartment.”

Georgia: 1,000 Double-Voted In State Primary

(image: Element5 Digital/Pexels)

Georgia’s Secretary of State says 1,000 Georgians voted twice in the June 9 primary, although the double-voting didn’t change the outcome of any races.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Tuesday that 1,000 Georgians voted twice in the state’s June 9 primary, a felony that he said will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

These voters returned absentee ballots and then also showed up to vote on election day June 9, Raffensperger said. County election officials are able to stop double-voting most of the time, but they weren’t able to catch everyone.

“A double voter knows exactly what they’re doing, diluting the votes of each and every voter that follows the law,” Raffensperger said during a press conference at the state Capitol. “Those that make the choice to game the system are breaking the law. And as secretary of state, I will not tolerate it.”

Of those, 1,000 voters had returned their absentee ballots to county election offices, and poll workers also allowed them to vote in-person.

In the report, Raffensperger doesn’t note the party affiliation of the double-voters.

100th Anniversary Of 19th Amendment Granting Women Right To Vote

From NowThis News:

Today marks 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.

The culmination of decades of activism from women suffragettes, the amendment was originally passed by Congress on June 4, 1919. Just over a year later, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, securing its adoption.

This footage shows just a handful of the 8 million women who took to the polls a few months later, in November 1920, for a presidential election that saw Republican Warren G. Harding defeat Democrat James Cox.

How To Avoid Lines During Voting & Make Sure Your Ballot Gets Counted

After Tuesday night's elections, Americans have elected more than 1,000 LGBTQ candidates to serve across the country in various state and local offices.

Photo showing a hand dropping a ballot in a ballot box at the polls

My friend Jerome shared this advice on Facebook for people who might feel unsafe about voting in person but now fear the USPS will be unable to deliver a “mail-in” ballot in a timely fashion.

There is a way around it:

1. Request a mail-in ballot.
2. Do not mail it.
3. Google your supervisor of elections to see where you can drop off your mail-in ballot. Its usually NOT THE POLLING PLACE. All states allow this!

Here is what you’re accomplishing by doing this:

1. Your ballot gets in on time no matter what happens to the USPS.
2. You don’t have to worry about standing in long lines and risking infection. You’re just stopping by to drop it off.
3. You still voted! Hooray!

Also, when you drop it off, find out how to track it online to make sure it is verified. California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado have systems that can track your ballot just like tracking a package from Amazon.

All CA vote centers (which are open for weeks to a month before election day) have ballot drop-off boxes too! Many government buildings have them as well, so there’s no need to wait until election day when it’s crowded to drop them off.

The list of drop-off sites is always posted on each county’s voter info website.

‘Power The Polls’ To Help Ensure A Fair Election In November

(photo: James Emery/Flickr – CC License)

Guest post by Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.

To say the hope for America, our Democracy, and the preservation of the US Constitution hang in the balance come November 3rd would be an understatement.

Exacerbating the situation and everyone’s already heightened anxiety is the knowledge that foreign governments have and are interfering in our free and fair elections.

Now, add the coronavirus pandemic and the integrity of Election Day is in serious jeopardy. But you can help “Power The Polls.”

From their website,

“Our democracy depends on ordinary people who make sure elections run smoothly and everyone’s vote is counted. This year, we’re facing an unprecedented shortage of poll workers that could mean closed polling places and long delays. You can help make sure we have a safe, fair, efficient election for all voters.

“Power the Polls is a first-of-its-kind initiative to recruit poll workers to ensure a safe, fair election for all voters.

“This is a critical moment. America is in the midst of a nationwide poll worker shortage.

“We aim to inspire upwards of 250,000 Americans to sign up as poll workers this year.”

Click here to see how you can help Power the Polls today!

“Hi, I’m Larry and I’ll Be Your Poll Worker”

In 2018, I became a certified New York state poll worker when the Trumpfuckery of the day intersected with the certainty of Russian interference in our elections and awoke my sense of civic duty.  I had to do more than, “Go Vote!”

It’s not a glamorous gig by any stretch of the imagination.  The first time I set my alarm for 3:30 AM to be at the polling site by 5 AM, my cell phone replied, “Seriously, Bitch?”

It’s not rocket science. But you’d be surprised at the level of detail and redundancy required to ensure security and the level commitment poll workers bring to the work.

It ain’t about the money either.  It varies by state but in New York, it pays $100 for 4 hours of training (if you pass the open-book test and work an election). Election Day pay is $250 for roughly a 17 hour day (including 2 one hour breaks). It goes surprisingly fast.

What they don’t tell you about are all the truly diverse and wonderful people you’ll work with.  At my polling place, you name it, we probably got it!

Something else they don’t tell you about are the voters.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some crazy ass people compelled to tell you everything wrong with the American political system. #BlessTheirHeart

But it’s the line of voters waiting AT 6 muthafing AM for the polls to open; the excited first-time voters; families who come to vote together; voters who are so clearly immigrant citizens; disabled voters who could vote by mail but show up, when so may Americans don’t bother to even vote; and the parents who are bringing their child to see them vote, and giving them an “I Voted” sticker too. #FacesLightUp

Admittedly Americans would be better off if we all had mail-in ballots, but we don’t. Every state needs poll workers in November, so does the future of our democracy.  What’s one day out of your life, so your state on Election Day doesn’t look like Wisconsin or Georgia did on their primaries?

Or worse yet,  November 4, 2020, doesn’t look like Groundhog Day, November 9, 2016?

Learn more about becoming a poll worker in your state by heading over to WorkElections.com.

Work Elections is a project of The Fair Elections Center, a national, nonpartisan voting rights and election reform 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, D.C.

Their mission is to use litigation and advocacy to remove barriers to registration and voting, particularly those disenfranchising underrepresented and marginalized communities, and to improve election administration.

 

Lawrence Pfeil, Jr., is a freelance writer/playwright who has written for media outlets including The Randy Report, the New York Blade, and Edge Publications. You can follow him at TheOUTfront.com.

Wisconsin Voters Head To The Polls Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Long lines for voters in Wisconsin today after GOP lawmakers were able to stop a proposed postponement of the state primary due to COVID-19.

Wisconsin is the first state to proceed with in-person voting since most states enacted stay-at-home orders.

Wisconsin Democrats wanted to extend absentee voting and even postpone the election altogether, but state Republicans fought to block both in legal wrangling. Democratic turnout is expected to be low due to the virus and today’s deadline for mail-in ballots.

From the Washington Post:

Hundreds of voters stood in lines that stretched for blocks in several Wisconsin cities Tuesday morning to cast their ballots amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus, a chaotic start to elections in the state that went forward only after a last-minute legal battle.

Morning scenes at the polls across Milwaukee — which was able to open only five polling locations, down from 180 — underscored the near-unprecedented challenge facing election administrators one day after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers sought to suspend in-person voting in light of the covid-19 pandemic, an order that was quickly reversed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The decision was a victory for the state’s GOP-controlled legislature, which had declined to postpone the election and filed a legal challenge to Evers’s order, arguing it exceeded the governor’s constitutional authority.

No results will be released until Monday as so many mail-in ballots (which have to be postmarked by today) are in play.

According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, there were 1,273,374 absentee ballots mailed out and 864,750 were returned which already exceeds the record 830,763 absentee ballots received in the 2016 general election.

The New York Times reports there are voters waiting in line for up to two hours in Milwaukee where there are only five polling stations open instead of the usual 180 polling sites.

Judge Rules Florida Must Provide Voting Materials In Spanish

A judge has ruled Florida must provide election materials and assistance in Spanish in 32 of the state’s 67 counties.

Just in time for the 2020 election!

From Florida Politics:

A federal judge Friday required 32 counties to provide Spanish-language ballots and other assistance to Spanish-speaking voters in Florida’s March 2020 presidential primary election.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued a preliminary injunction that follows a similar ruling in September.

In the earlier ruling, Walker required the 32 counties to provide Spanish-language sample ballots but did not require Spanish-language ballots and other assistance, saying there wasn’t enough time before the November 2018 elections. The ruling Friday goes further in requiring Spanish-language ballots.

The case has focused on Puerto Rican voters and part of the federal Voting Rights Act aimed at people who were educated in schools where the predominant language was not English. It seeks to ensure they are not denied the right to vote in Florida.