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RandySF

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 37,326

About Me

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

One million Americans have already cast 2020 vote in 'historic' early voting surge

More than one million Americans have already voted in the 2020 presidential election, the highest number of votes cast at this period in the race in US history.

The unprecedented surge has been driven by new state laws designed to help people vote safely during the coronavirus pandemic, according to election observers, a clear sign that the crisis is changing the way people cast their ballots.

The figures also suggest higher than usual voter interest in one of the most divisive and polarised elections in generations.

“We’ve never seen so many people vote this far in advance of a presidential election before. We are in uncharted territory,” Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida, told The Independent.

Mr McDonald noted only 9,525 people had voted by the same time in 2016, and described the shift as “historic”.



https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election/early-voting-2020-us-presidential-election-trump-biden-b675330.html

U of TN asks election commission to move early voting on campus to Thompson-Boling Arena

The University of Tennessee is petitioning to move the early voting location on campus from the Howard Baker Center to Thompson-Boling Arena.

UT is asking the Knox County Election Commission to approve the request because it wants to encourage voting in the upcoming election by making it easier for everyone to access its campus polling location.

UT believes the arena is a better location because most people in town know where it is and it's also easier for people to find parking. The Howard Baker Center, located at 1640 Cumberland Avenue, has limited places for people to find parking.
The Knox County Election Commission will meet Friday, October 2 at 8:30 a.m. to consider the request.
When the early voting cycle for the November 3, 2020 election begins on October 14, people can cast an early ballot at any one of the designated voting locations across the county below. The UT campus location will be open only during the final four days of early voting from October 26 to 29.



https://www.wbir.com/article/news/politics/elections/ut-asks-election-commission-to-move-early-voting-on-campus-to-thompson-boling-arena/51-5dd8a7c0-42fb-478f-adc4-65eae3e8a907

A's, Alameda County to convert Coliseum and Arena into voting site for election

The Coliseum and Oakland Arena will serve as a voting site for the Nov. 3 general election, the A’s and Alameda County announced Monday.

In-person voting will be available to Alameda County voters inside the Arena from Saturday, Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, according to an A’s release. Voters will also have the option to vote “curbside” from their car in the Coliseum parking lot, drop off their mail-in ballot at the site or request and pick up a ballot at the stadium’s Will Call, the team said.

“The Oakland Athletics are committed to doing our part to create a more equitable democracy,” A’s team president Dave Kaval said in a statement. “We are extremely proud to partner with the State of California, Alameda County, and the Coliseum Authority (JPA) to provide a safe and easily accessible location for people to vote.”

The site will be an Accessible Voting Location and follow CDC and public health guidelines for physical distancing and mask-wearing, the A’s said.

The A’s said they are also encouraging front office staff to vote, work at polls and take part in other volunteer activities surrounding the election.

“The A’s have stepped up in a big way and hit another home run for Oakland and Alameda County,” said Nate Miley, Alameda County supervisor and vice chair of the Coliseum Authority, said in a statement. “Partnering with the County to utilize the Coliseum as a voting hub is another example of our continuing collaboration and reflects the A’s commitment to our community.”



https://www.sfchronicle.com/athletics/article/A-s-Alameda-County-to-convert-Coliseum-and-15603446.php

To protect our democracy, Democrats must win state legislative elections

ovember’s state legislative races were always going to be important. Now they are an existential imperative. With Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, we mourn not just the death of a brilliant scholar, feminist and progressive trailblazer. In the absence of a court willing to strike down unconstitutional and harmful laws and enforce federal protections, states may be our last line of defense. Eighty percent of this country’s state legislative seats are up this year. We must act now, quickly, to shore up these critical chambers.

For decades, Democrats prioritized federal elections over state-level races, and left-leaning interest groups often fought through the courts, not local elections. Ginsburg, after all, won her icon status after becoming an attorney and crusading to establish human rights in court. That tactic worked well for many progressive causes. In the 1970s, litigation against corporations worked so well, in fact, that libertarian billionaires responded by building an entire political apparatus designed to stack the courts with ideological judges opposed to environmental and labor protections. Meanwhile, conservative interest groups began cultivating anti-abortion and anti-gay rights judges and political connections. The Republican party’s transformation of the judiciary under Trump is the culmination of those decades-long efforts.

At the same time, Republicans and their donors have kept a laser focus on winning state legislative races – especially in redistricting years like this one. By gerrymandering districts, Republican strategists have almost guaranteed that their candidates can pass unpopular legislation without risking their seats or control of their states. This trend is especially alarming given that a central goal of conservative jurisprudence is to eliminate federal protections and give states more leeway to write their own laws.

Consider this stark example of how the conservative judiciary and Republican legislatures can dovetail to oppress: In November 2018, through a ballot amendment, Floridians overwhelmingly voted to expand voting rights to include formerly incarcerated people, ending a vestige of Jim Crow. But the next year, the Republican-controlled legislature enacted a law designed to void those voting rights – and the will of the people. A federal court recently upheld the state legislature’s actions, thereby effectively denying the right to vote to tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated people – in a swing state, in a major election year. One of the federal judges who made that decision to restrict Floridians’ voting rights, Barbara Lagoa, is on Trump’s shortlist to replace Ginsburg.



https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/22/democrats-state-legislative-elections-democracy

Appeals court blocks order that required straight-ticket voting in Texas

A federal appeals court on Monday temporarily blocked a recent lower-court order that required Texas election officials to make straight-ticket voting available for the Nov. 3 election.

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo of Laredo had ruled that a state law banning straight-ticket voting, which took effect Sept. 1, would require voters to spend much more time filling out their ballots, leading to longer lines at polling places that would endanger voters during a deadly pandemic.

“The longer voters stand in line, the greater the risk that they contract COVID-19. Texans already wait a long time to exercise their right to vote,” the judge wrote in an order released late Friday.

Attorney General Ken Paxton immediately asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to issue an emergency stay blocking enforcement of Garcia Marmolejo’s ruling while he prepared an appeal to overturn the order.

On Monday, the appeals court issued an administrative stay that blocked the ruling to give judges time to consider Paxton’s motion for an emergency stay. The court also ordered briefs on Paxton’s request to be submitted by noon Wednesday.

With early voting set to begin in two weeks, Garcia Marmolejo’s ruling had alarmed county election officials who have already finalized ballots and verified voting machine software.

Gov. Greg Abbott added six extra days of early voting, set to begin Oct. 13, to reduce polling place congestion during the pandemic. However, several GOP officials and activists, including Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and Texas GOP Chairman Allen West, have asked the Texas Supreme Court to cancel the added days, arguing that Abbott lacked the authority to extend early voting.


https://www.statesman.com/news/20200928/appeals-court-blocks-order-that-required-straight-ticket-voting-in-texas

Pandemic overwhelms Donald Trump's message in critical North Carolina

In one of the nation’s most consequential swing states, Trump’s push to inject new dynamics into the final weeks of the 2020 election is being overshadowed by the frightening realities of everyday life during a pandemic. Trump and his allies hope the escalating Supreme Court nomination fight will help unify a fractured Republican Party that has lost its grip on college-educated suburban voters, particularly white women.

But for many, the coronavirus and the related economic challenges are much more pressing issues.

Trump’s challenge is acute here in North Carolina, a state that his senior aides describe as a “must-win.” A loss in the state, which Democrats have carried only once at the presidential level in the last 30 years, would make Trump’s path to a second term incredibly difficult and signal dire challenges elsewhere on the electoral map.

Public polling, backed by private discussions with strategists from both Trump’s and Democrat Joe Biden’s campaigns, indicate that North Carolina remains a true tossup five weeks before Election Day. And lest there be any doubt about Trump’s concerns about his standing here, he has traveled to North Carolina every week for the last five weeks, second only to Pennsylvania.


https://floridapolitics.com/archives/370293-pandemic-overwhelms-donald-trumps-message-in-critical-north-carolina

Florida Democratic groups to canvas for votes, backed by Mike Bloomberg money

Three Democratic-allied political action committees are planning big Florida canvassing operations, mostly in Central Florida, backed by funding from Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, the former Democratic presidential candidate who pledged $100 million to help Democrat Joe Biden defeat President Donald Trump in Florida, is giving a total of $4 million to the groups to support autumn canvassing, Bloomberg’s organization announced Monday.

For Our Future PAC is receiving $1.5 million to work statewide to increase voter turnout in areas historically underrepresented at the polls.

BlackPAC is receiving $1 million to focus on Black voter outreach in North and Central Florida.

Somos PAC is receiving $1.5 million to focus on Latino voter outreach in Central Florida.

The canvassing would largely break from the Democrats’ tactics. Since March Democratic campaigns largely abandoned door-to-door efforts due to the coronavirus crisis. While Democrats have mostly campaigned electronically, Republicans have shown no hesitation in knocking on doors since June.

All three organizations are heavily backed by labor unions and other PACs and Super PACs that traditionally support Democrats. BlackPAC also has received several hundred thousand dollars from another Democratic billionaire, George Soros, according to the Center for Responsive politics.



https://floridapolitics.com/archives/370312-democratic-groups-to-canvas-for-voters-backed-by-mike-bloomberg-money

Florida Republican investigated for 'potential election criminal misconduct'

Eric Robinson, a prominent Republican political committee chair, this month was under investigation for “potential election criminal misconduct.”

The revelation came through an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis reassigning the case to State Attorney Andrew Warren. The order was signed on Sept. 22.

The matter moved from the 12th Judicial Circuit in Sarasota to the 13th Judicial Circuit in Tampa at the request of State Attorney Ed Brodsky, who utilizes Robinson’s services as his campaign treasurer. The order also states the State Attorney’s Office employs Robinson in a professional capacity.

The Governor’s order allows any case the comes from an investigation to move ahead in the 12th Circuit rather than the one where Robinson lives.

For his part, Robinson said he has no idea what prompted any criminal investigation.



https://floridapolitics.com/archives/370522-eric-robinson-investigated-for-potential-election-criminal-misconduct

Williamson County sheriff charged with felony evidence tampering in Javier Ambler case

A grand jury has indicted Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody on a felony evidence tampering charge in the case of Javier Ambler, a Black man who died in 2019 after being stunned with a Taser multiple times by deputies.

The grand jury accused Chody of destroying or concealing video and audio recordings “with the intent to impair their ability as evidence in the investigation,” according to the indictment. Jason Nassour, a county attorney, was also indicted on the same charge.

Chody said he didn't tamper with evidence at a press conference Monday afternoon.

"The Travis county District Attorney dropped the ball on the investigation, and when the video surfaced during her campaign, she had to find someone to blame for her own mistakes," Chody said during the press conference.



https://www.texastribune.org/2020/09/28/williamson-sheriff-robert-chody-javier-ambler/

Houston Republicans sue to limit in-person and absentee voting options in Harris County

A litigious conservative activist in Houston, the Harris County Republican party, and a number of Republican officials and candidates are asking the Texas Supreme Court to limit in-person and absentee voting options for Harris County voters during the pandemic.

The county, the state’s most populous and a major Democratic stronghold, began letting voters drop off absentee ballots Monday for the Nov. 3 general election at 11 annexes. In line with a directive from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, the county also intends to begin in-person early voting Oct. 13.

Prominent activist Steve Hotze, as well as Wendell Champion, a Republican candidate for Congress; Sharon Hemphill, a Republican candidate for judge; and the local GOP chair, are suing to stop that, arguing Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins is overreaching the bounds of state election law. They’re asking the state’s highest civil court to order Harris County to not begin early voting until Oct. 19 — the date set by state law that Abbott extended by executive order, citing safety concerns — and not accept absentee ballots delivered in person until Nov. 3.

A longtime culture warrior on the right, Hotze has gone to court a number of times to challenge Abbott, Hollins and other elected officials over coronavirus-related restrictions — and lately over election procedures — with minimal success so far. An opponent of same-sex marriage, Hotze was a key figure in the Legislature’s 2017 fight over a “bathroom bill” that would have limited transgender Texans’ access to public facilities. He called Abbott’s staff earlier this year to ask that law enforcement “shoot to kill” rioters protesting after the police killing of George Floyd.

The new case comes less than a week after Hotze, along with a number of other top Republicans, challenged the governor for extending early voting in response to ongoing health concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. That case is pending before the Texas Supreme Court.

The conservative plaintiffs also argue that state law does not allow Hollins to permit voters to drop off their ballots at the 11 sites, a strategy they claim “creates an opportunity ripe for fraud.”



https://www.texastribune.org/2020/09/28/houston-republicans-lawsuit-voting/
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