Problems At The Polls


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State Laws And Election Administration Errors Causing Problems On Election Day

***The polls are set to close in a few hours. If you have yet to vote, what are you waiting for? Vote! Click here to get all the information you need when you go to the polls. A number of state laws have changed and may have altered the required documents you need to cast a ballot.***

Throughout the course of Election Day, ThinkProgress has been reporting on the ground from seven states across the country. They have gone beyond the horserace to uncover how the election process is going for voters. And they are finding numerous problems, whether the result of new state voter suppression laws, election administration issues, or something else. Here are a few (and check out the liveblog for more):

  • North Carolina’s New Election Restrictions Are Turning Away Voters: At two polling places south of the city center, voters are turning up in steady numbers throughout the morning. But many of them aren’t casting ballots: they are being turned away because they aren’t at their correct precinct.
  • Georgia Voter Redirected To Polling Place 35 Miles Away: Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office failed to process tens of thousands of voter registration cards — mostly in heavily African-American counties — before the election, and it’s causing confusion at the polls. Karl Ragland and his wife moved to Atlanta from Covington, Ga., earlier in the year and submitted a change of address form to the Board of Elections. But when they showed up at their new polling place in Atlanta, they learned that the form had never been processed. Karl now has to drive 35 miles to Covington to vote, causing him to miss up to two hours of work. “I am going to vote today,” Karl said.
  • Texas Voting Restrictions Sow Confusion At The Polls: At a polling site in Third Ward, a historically African American neighborhood in Houston, two voters have been turned away for lacking a photo ID. One had simply left it at home, and would have to make an additional trip to the polls. The other had to cast a provisional ballot, which has a much lower chance of being counted.
  • More Than 21,000 Kansans Could Be Blocked From Voting On Election Day: Tens of thousands of Kansans who registered to vote may find themselves ineligible on Tuesday as a result of a new law that “requires people registering to vote for the first time to provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport,” the Wichita Eagle reported on Friday. As of Oct. 31, 21,473 registered voters had not sent in documentation showing that they are American citizens.
  • Atlanta Voters Are Being Required To Pay To Park: In one of Atlanta’s largest voting precincts, voters are complaining about being required to pay as they leave the parking lot next to Georgia Tech’s student center polling site, even though signs advertised free parking on Election Day. Advocates say that requiring people to pay extra fees during the process of voting essentially amounts to a poll tax.
  • Miami Man Waited More Than 4 Hours To Vote After Poll Workers Refused To Allow Address Change: Florida law allows voters to change their address at the polls on Election Day. But because poll workers have not been adequately trained on Florida’s Electronic Voter Identification System (EVID), some voters who have recently moved are having problems casting ballots in their new precincts. Opa-Locka resident Eugene Gonzalez arrived at his polling location at 8:30 this morning, but did not cast his ballot until 1 pm because poll workers mistakenly told him that he needed to vote in Broward County, where he lived previously and was still registered.
  • Alabama Voters With Public Housing, Shelter IDs Are Being Turned Away: At least three Alabama citizens apparently have been denied their right to vote thanks to the state’s voter ID law, a last-minute decision by the state that public housing and shelter ID’s are not valid proof of identity.
  • Longtime Voter Removed From Voter Rolls In Ohio: Jamil Smith, a producer for MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, reported on Twitter this morning that his father encountered a serious problem attempting to vote: “My father, who has voted in every election as long as he can remember, tells me his name wasn’t on the rolls this morning. He lives in Ohio.” It’s unclear how Smith’s father’s name was removed from the voter rolls, but Ohio was one of several states that signed onto a voter purge scheme devised by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) that developed a lost of voters under consideration for purging by simply finding people who share the same first and last name as a voter in another state.

BOTTOM LINE: These problems at the polls are just a few extremely concerning examples that should be immediately corrected — and could be illegal or unconstitutional. In response to this and other anecdotal evidence of barriers to voting, the Center for American Progress has issued letters to Secretaries of State in Kansas, North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia, urging them to take “immediate action” to rectify these concerns. Voting is a fundamental deomcratic right, and it should be free, fair, and accessible to all citizens.

What’s life got to do with it?


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The key to the survival of our species is found in the Amazon rainforest. Yet this magnificent, biodiverse environment, holding half of the remaining tropical rainforest on our planet, depends upon your commitment and action in order to survive.

Indigenous communities, rainforest stewards for uncounted generations, speak for and defend the Amazon. One out of every ten animal species lives in this region, and a full third of all plant species on the planet. We must never forget that the Amazon’s fate parallels that of the global climate, for if left intact it will stem climate chaos, helping us to avoid the tipping point of catastrophe.

For almost two decades Amazon Watch has worked tirelessly to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples. For almost two decades Amazon Watch has worked tirelessly to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples. Our work, like our supporters, grows stronger each year and together we’ve already protected millions of acres of pristine rainforest. These efforts are effective because we leverage our strengths and partnerships to strategically focus on the the most crucial areas. We can’t be everywhere and we can’t do it alone, but with your support we’ll have the resources necessary to win more important victories.

Let us show you how. Heading into the final weeks of 2014, we will bring you closer to our work and the elements of the Amazon so precious for our survival. Please make a gift today and demonstrate your commitment to the Amazon and its peoples, and to all life.

With gratitude,


Branden Barber
Engagement Director

Nov. 17: UCS teams up with White House to talk climate


Join a special briefing on newly proposed limits to global warming emissions.

UCS and White House Talk Climate

Join the UCS president and staff from the White House and the EPA for a special national briefing on efforts to tackle climate change and increase our country’s use of clean, renewable energy like wind and solar.

EVENT INVITATION
November 17: Briefing from the White House and EPA on Tackling Climate Change

 

The Union of Concerned Scientists is teaming with the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a special national briefing for UCS supporters about efforts to tackle climate change and increase our country’s use of clean, renewable energy like wind and solar.

Briefing from the White House and EPA on Efforts to Address Climate Change
Date: Monday, November 17
Time: 5:15 p.m. EST

button register today

UCS President Ken Kimmell and senior White House and EPA officials will discuss the EPA’s plan to limit global warming emissions from power plants, the single largest source of these emissions in the United States, and other administrative actions to address climate change.

Featured speakers include:

  • Ken Kimmell, president, UCS
  • Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, EPA
  • Rohan Patel, special assistant to the president and deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, White House

Please join us for this unique opportunity to hear directly from top officials about important efforts to address climate change!

Sincerely,
Angela Anderson signature
Angela Anderson
Director, Climate & Energy Program
Union of Concerned Scientists

8 Cleaning Mistakes You’re Probably Making


From faulty dusting to defective dishwashing, common blunders can muck up even your best efforts. Use these pros’ smart suggestions over the holidays and every day to save you time and trouble.

1. Placing all utensils in the dishwasher facing the same direction.
It’s fine for all the forks to point up. (This prevents the tines from bending.) But when spoons sit in one direction in a standard dishwasher basket, they end up, well, spooning, which prevents a complete clean. Place some up and some down for a more thorough, even wash, and do the same with knives.

2. Washing windows on a sunny day.
Glass cleaner dries up much more quickly in direct sunlight, resulting in streaks on window panes. That’s why, in any season, the ideal time to clean windows is late afternoon or evening, or when the skies are overcast (and the temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit). For quicker drying, swap your microfiber cloth for a window squeegee, which covers more surface area with each swipe.

3. Spraying cleaner directly on a surface.
This method is OK once in a while but should be reserved for extremely dirty surfaces that need extra solution. This shouldn’t be an everyday practice, because it will probably leave residue behind (for example, a gummy buildup on wood furniture and drip marks on walls). Instead, spray the formula onto a microfiber cloth. Wipe-downs done this way require less solution, which cuts down on buildup. (Your bottles of cleaner will last longer, too.)

4. Cleaning bare-handed (even for a quickie sink scrub-down).
Your skin is super-absorbent and will soak up almost any substance that touches its surface. Even natural products can dry out hands lickety-split. Avoid chalky rubber or latex gloves. Instead, choose gloves with a lined cotton interior (try these). They offer more of a protective barrier and are so comfortable, you’ll be motivated to put them on.

5. Treating liquid stains on a carpet superficially.
Scrubbing stains like pet urine, red wine, and coffee isn’t effective in the long term. Unless you remove fresh carpet spills at the deepest level, in time they may resurface. Try this method: As soon as you notice the spill, use a dry towel to sop up as much liquid as possible. Next, douse the spot with club soda or ice water and blot again with another dry towel. Step on the towel to absorb the liquid. Repeat the blotting until no more color is transferred to the towel. If the stain persists, apply a stain remover and repeat the process.

6. Putting a rinsed toilet brush right back in the holder.
Moisture breeds bacteria, so it’s important to let the brush dry completely before stashing it. Sandwich the handle between the toilet seat and the base, with the business end suspended over the bowl, to drip-dry. Leave it for at least 10 minutes or until fully dry, then return it to the holder.

7. Considering a rinsed sponge clean.
Because food and bacteria hide in a sponge’s crevices, a water rinse isn’t enough. So once or twice a week, toss sponges into the top rack of the dishwasher, or heat wet ones in the microwave for two minutes. Another option: Use a sponge sanitizer. During the holidays, when cooking activities ramp up, it’s best to clean sponges daily.

8. Vacuuming pet fur without an attachment.
Standard vacuuming on a wood or tile floor often blows away as much fur as it collects, so you’re essentially moving debris all over the room. For controlled suction, resulting in fewer fur flyaways, use the wand attachment. And before you vacuum, do a little prep work: Collect any visible fur into a pile with a broom or an electrostatic dry mop (like a Swiffer).

Thanks to our masters of maintenance:
Linda Cobb, cleaning pro based in Phoenix and creator of the Queen of Clean book series
Laura Dellutri, cleaning pro based in Overland Park, Kansas, and author of Speed Cleaning 101
Donna Smallin, cleaning pro based in Madison, South Dakota, and author of Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness (due out mid-December)