election ballot

Eloi Machoro, sometimes called ‘the Che Guevara of the Pacific,’ was a Kanak socialist and Minister of Security for the provisional Kanaky government. He became famous in 1984 when, as part of the FLNKS boycott of the New Caledonian elections, he smashed a ballot box with an axe. Machoro was assassinated by French paramilitary police in 1985, during the FLNKS occupation of the village of Thio. His last words, spoken while fatally wounded by a sniper’s bullet, were ‘Only the struggle counts, death is nothing.’


ELECTION FRAUD: Voters Receive Damaged Le Pen Ballots

The Chartists have at last had their final demand fulfilled, 179 years after it was set down in the People’s Charter -alongside universal suffrage, the secret ballot and payment of MPs, yearly elections have finally become a permanent feature of British democracy.

“Catalonia’s elected autonomous regional government, the Generalitat, had called the referendum after pro-independence parties were able to form an administration following elections in 2015.

The president of the province’s national assembly, Jordi Sànchez, on Wednesday morning called for "peaceful resistance” to the police operation.

“The time has come. We resist peacefully. We come out to defend our institutions with non-violence,” he said in a post on social media.

On Tuesday police searched for election material including ballot boxes, voting papers and campaign leaflets - raiding private courier companies in the process.

The Spanish national assembly on Wednesday rejected a motion to support the Spanish government’s heavy-handed response to the the referendum by 166 votes against to 158 in favor, after the centre-left opposition party PSOE teamed up with left-wingers Podemos and smaller separatist parties in the parliament.

After news of the raids broke on Wednesday, separatist political parties, as well as Podemos, cancelled all their planned political events for the rest of the day.

“It is unacceptable for there to be political prisoners in a European democracy. The Partido Popular leads us to an authoritarian regression that cannot be tolerated,” a spokesperson for Podemos said on social media.

Right-wing parties however endorsed the police operation. Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera said he supported the raids because the Catalan government had “skipped the law and are trampling our rights”. A spokesperson for the ruling Partido Popular said that “the rule of law is stronger than those outside the law”.“

the independent referendum was lawful and non-violent… also, in case you needed anymore prove that police serves the state and not the people…

Justice Department Says No To Funding Vote On Puerto Rican Statehood 

Adrian Carrasquillo at BuzzFeed News:

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice Thursday sent a letter to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló denying a $2.5 million appropriation for nonpartisan voter education and a plebiscite vote that would allow Puerto Ricans to vote about what they want in terms of their status as a territory.

Puerto Rican government officials told BuzzFeed News they will still likely move forward with the plebiscite vote June 11. A Department of Justice spokesperson said their role in the matter was limited to the issue of whether to appropriate funds.

Most of the issues raised by DOJ in the letter related to the goal of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status that the popular will of the people of Puerto Rico be ascertained in a clear way. The letter argued that the 2012 plebiscite vote, in which a majority rejected the current status and chose statehood, was “the subject of controversy” and much had changed in five years politically, economically, and demographically on the island, which means it is unclear that residents reject the status quo territory option. (The upcoming plebiscite as written only gives “statehood” and “free association/independence” as the two options, not the current territory option.)

In a series of tweets, Puerto Rico’s governor said it was “unacceptable” to include a “colony” option in an effort to decolonize Puerto Rico. The Trump administration’s position, he said, is contrary to the will of the Puerto Rican people who have rejected a continuation of a colonial system that is wrong.

“I think that this is an attempt by the attorney general to singlehandedly go against what has been the policy of the U.S. for the last 25 years,” said Kenneth McClintock, Puerto Rico’s former secretary of state, who said that there is no dispute that the island is a territory of the United States. “Therefore present status can not be part of the options to resolve — resolve means solutions, an alternative to the problem itself.”

Puerto Rico has in recent years been felled by a financial and health care crisis. McClintock said the 2011 White House task force came to the conclusion that in order to resolve Puerto Rico’s economic problems “you have to address the political status problem or the economic situation will not improve.”

The DOJ letter also took issue with how the 2017 plebiscite is worded, including the description of statehood as the only option that guarantees American citizenship by birth in Puerto Rico and the description of “free association,” which the agency said could be misleading.

The DOJ declined comment beyond the letter.

Puerto Rican officials said that in calls before and after the decision was made, DOJ officials remained open to working with the Puerto Rican government. Officials said they will study the DOJ recommendations but fully intend to move forward with the plebiscite, though there is concern that the vote will not be recognized by Congress moving forward. Still, Governor Rosselló called the June 11 plebiscite the most important vote that will reveal the will of the people.

But in conversations after the decision came down, statehood supporters were sharply criticized Sessions individually.

“He’s almost acting on this holy Thursday evening as a Judas who is being traitorous to longstanding American policy on Puerto Rico,” McClintock said.

Spanish/Español: Departamento de Justicia Dice No Para Financiar Voto Sobre Estado de Puerto Rico

If an abuser is making you take a ballot selfie, you can still vote the way you want to

If abusive people in your life are expecting you to take a ballot selfie, this doesn’t need to prevent you from voting the way you want to vote. You can fill out a ballot the way they want you to, take a selfie, spoil the ballot instead of casting it, and then vote a new ballot the way that *you* want to vote.

(Note: Taking ballot selfies is actually illegal in several states. In any case, I think taking ballot selfies is a really, really bad idea. But since I know people are doing it, I am writing this to help people protect their right to cast a secret ballot)

Here’s a step by step list of how to do this:

  • Step one: Get your ballot.
  • Step two: Fill out the ballot the way your abusers want you to. *Do not cast it*. Do not put it in the ballot box. (If you are using a voting machine, *do not tap vote* and *do not pull the final voting lever*. )
  • Step three: Take a selfie with the ballot filled out the way your abuser wants you to vote.
  • Step four: Spoil the ballot and ask for a new one (Or if you’re using a voting machine, go back and correct your vote). Draw a line down the middle, and bring the spoiled ballot back to the table where you got the ballot. 
  • Tell the polling person that you made a mistake, and ask for a new ballot. They should take back your spoiled ballot and exchange it for a new one.
  • (If they won’t give you a new ballot, tell their supervisor or call 866-OUR-VOTE for help. You have the right to start over with a new ballot if you make a mistake. *So long as you have not put it in the ballot box yet*. Once you’ve put it in the ballot box, you can’t take it back.) 
  • (If you’re using voting machines and aren’t sure how to start over, ask the polling officials for help. They are required to help you. (But make sure that you don’t press the Vote button or pull a final lever before you fix your ballot! Once you press Vote or pull the voting lever, your vote is final and you can’t undo it.)
  • Step five: Fill out your new ballot the way you want to fill it out. 
  • Step six: Cast your real ballot that you have just filled out. (Put it in the ballot box, pull the lever, or push the Vote button).

Tl;dr If abusers are trying to coerce your vote by making you take a ballot selfie, you can take the selfie and still vote the way you want to. Scroll up for step by step instructions.


FRANCE24 English - FOUR MILLION blank ballots?!

Elections vocabulary in Finnish

Originally posted by teded

Vaalit - election
Eduskuntavaalit - parliamentary election
Kuntavaalit, kunnallisvaalit - local election, municipal election
Presidentinvaali - presidental election
Europarlamenttivaalit - election to the European Parliament
Poliitikko - politician
Ehdokas - candidate
Kansanedustaja - member of parliament
Presidentti - president
Puolue - party
Kampanja - campaign
Puhe - speech
Lupaus - promise
Rahoitus - finance
Paikka - seat
Äänestys - voting
Ennakkoäänestys - early voting
Kansanäänestys - referendum
Ääni - vote
Äänestää - to vote
Äänestäjä - voter
Äänioikeus - suffrage, franchise, right to vote
Äänestysvelvollisuus - compulsory voting
Äänestysprosentti - voter turnout
Äänikynnys - election treshold
Vaalikone - voting advice application
Vaalipäivä - election day
Äänestyspaikka - polling place
Äänestyslippu - ballot paper
Vaaliuurna - ballot box
Vaalisalaisuus - secret ballot
Laskea - to count
Tulos - result

Minister: Canada will build up its military as the U.S. pulls back from world stage

By Alan Freeman, Washington Post, June 6, 2017

OTTAWA–Canada intends to make “a substantial investment” in its military because it can no longer rely on the United States for leadership in the face of threats posed by terrorist groups or countries like Russia and North Korea, the Canadian foreign minister said Tuesday.

Echoing complaints made recently by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chrystia Freeland told Canada’s House of Commons that Washington is no longer committed to its position of world leadership, forcing Canada to invest in its own armed forces to defend liberal democracy.

“The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” Freeland said, never mentioning President Trump by name. But she said many of the voters in last November’s U.S. presidential election cast ballots “animated in part by a desire to shrug off the burden of world leadership.”

While setting out several areas where Canada has taken a different tack from Washington, Freeland conceded that Canada has not been pulling its weight in terms of its military spending. It’s a criticism that Trump has made of several NATO members, without singling out Canada. She promised that in the future Canada will do its “fair share.”

In 2016, Canada spent just over 1 percent of its gross domestic product on its military, half of the 2 percent level that is the goal of the NATO alliance. In fact, Canada ranks 20th of 28 NATO members in military spending. The United States is No. 1 at 3.6 percent of GDP.

“On the military front, Canada’s geography has meant that we have always been able to count on American self-interest to provide a protective umbrella beneath which we have found indirect shelter,” Freeland said. But she added that to depend totally on U.S. protection would make Canada a “client state.”

“To put it plainly, Canadian diplomacy and development sometimes require the backing of hard power,” she said.

“We will make the necessary investments in our military, to not only address years of neglect and underfunding, but also to place the Canadian armed forces on a new footing,” she added, without providing any figures. Freeland’s speech is to be followed Wednesday with an announcement of a new defense policy review.

Although Freeland was careful to say that Canada was “grateful” for the “outsized role” that the United States has played in the world, there was an undertone of disappointment throughout the speech, something seldom heard recently in Canada-U.S. relations.

Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson Center, said she saw the speech as less a “shot against the U.S.” as an effort by Canada to reassert its voice on the international stage while continuing to be seen as a helpful ally to Washington.

She said she expects Trudeau’s government to invest significantly in new military equipment and boost defense spending but says the nation will probably not attain the 2 percent GDP threshold set by NATO. “I would be quite surprised to see a doubling of Canadian military spending,” she said.

What's the post-Trump reform agenda?

Not sure if anyone noticed, but I’ve been neglecting this blog lately. Too many fish in the barrel, not enough bullets. And others doing it much better, which is a good thing. 

But I’m surprised there isn’t much discussion (that I’ve seen) on the post-Trump reform agenda. We could need one sooner than we think - or later than we fear. In any case, here’s my two cents. This list focuses on institutional/structural changes - hopefully these are acceptable to people of all ideological stripes who are interested in strengthening democratic self-government rather than narrow partisan interests. Many will need constitutional amendments, and some are more realistic than others. But we have to start somewhere. 

 Prosecutors and judges 

1. The Attorney General becomes a non-political, non-partisan post. Yeah, you can still have a “Secretary of Justice” or whatever for policy issues, but prosecutions under federal law should be independent from political influence. Have the AG serve one, nonrenewable 10 year term, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, but cannot be removed except for gross incompetence/malfeasance. FBI reports to the AG. 

2. AG appoints US attorneys for fixed, staggered terms, say 6-8 years. Again, cannot be removed without cause. AG can choose to appoint special prosecutors for special cases. 

3.  All written and verbal communications by officials in the executive or legislative branch with the AG, other federal prosecutors or the FBI are matters of public record. 

4.  Federal district and appellate judges serve for fixed terms, say 12 years. Supreme Court justices maybe 16 years. 

 Campaign finance 

5. Sources and amounts of all donations to political candidates, causes or organizations greater than $1000 in a calendar year are matters of public record. This applies to any donation, in cash or kind, to anyone who seeks public office, and to any person or organization that communicates against others seeking public office, or advocates on an issue that is currently subject to political debate 

 The president 

6. The president becomes fully subject to executive branch ethics rules. 

7. The president must release complete financial info, including tax returns, assets and debts, and eliminate any financial conflicts of interest and all foreign sources of income by the time of his/her inauguration. If s/he fails to do so, this automatically triggers impeachment proceedings. 

8. If the president is impeached and removed from office, the vice president serves in a caretaker role until new elections are held, no later than six months after the president leaves office. 

 The Senate 

9. No more Senate filibuster. However, all matters of substance in the Senate must be approved by a majority of senators and by a majority of population represented by those senators as measured at the most recent census. A bill would become law if it passes the House by a majority, and both tallies in the Senate. Kamala Harris would have 37 million votes, Mike Rounds of South Dakota would have 814,000. Right-wingers will be happy to learn that Ted Cruz gets 25 million votes. 

10. Senate vacancies are filled by prompt special elections, not gubernatorial appointment (this always bothered me). 


11. No more electoral college. President chosen by nationwide popular vote.

12. No more party primaries, at any level. All elections have two rounds: if no one gets more than 50% in the first round, the top two candidates compete in the second. This would be a big culture shock at the presidential level, but I think we could make it work. 

13. Congressional and state-legislative district lines to be set by independent commissions with equal representation of both major parties and representation by minor parties. Agreement of reps of both major parties on these commissions needed for final approval, and districts must meet broad federal guidelines (contiguity, racial balance etc). 

14.  You want voter ID? OK, anyone who shows up at a polling place (which opens two weeks before election day) with a valid photo ID that proves citizenship can vote and is automatically registered for the next eight years. So no chance for voter fraud (which is virtually nonexistent anyway) and no more convoluted requirements for advance registration. You can get a special voter ID based on address-based forms of identification (birth certificate + bank statement etc) from your local DMV or elections office, without a fee, up to two weeks before the election, also valid for 8 years. 

15.  Ballots are mailed to all registered voters four weeks before the election. Completed ballots can be mailed in or dropped off at a polling place at any time thereafter. 

16. For those who wish to vote in person, voting machines must meet strict security and transparency guidelines, including published software and an auditable paper trail. 

17.  Every election will automatically be audited (ie a sample of precincts/counties will have their votes hand-counted); any irregularities will trigger a broader recount. 

18. A county where officials are found to have harassed, intimidated or otherwise restricted voters will have its elections federally administered for the next ten years. A state that has three or more such counties will have all of its elections federally administered for the next ten years. 


19. No more penny. WTF is worth two cents? 

20. You want to sell health insurance across state lines? OK, health insurance can be sold across state lines, but the health insurance industry is now regulated at the federal rather than the state level. Actually all insurance should be regulated at the federal level. 

21. No more debt limit. Come on, it’s a stupid idea. 

22. If the appropriations bill for an authorized federal agency or department is not passed by the end of the fiscal year, the previous year’s appropriation is automatically renewed, with an inflation adjustment. So no more government shutdowns. 

23. Members of Congress can be prosecuted for insider trading based on knowledge they acquire as part of their legislative activities.

24.  The District of Columbia gets either the senators and representatives it would be entitled to if it were a state, or statehood. 

25. Puerto Rico gets either statehood or (once its finances are straightened out) independence. 

26.  Civics classes made mandatory in all schools, public or private. These will cover how the government works, how citizenship works, how to critically read news coverage, how to judge the reliability of news sources, how to engage in public debate, and how to distinguish facts from opinions.

Anyway, that’s my agenda. What’s yours?