Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: October 2008 Page 2 of 12

VA State Board of Elections Wants Citizens Prosecuted for *What*?!

This is beyond ridiculous:

Now, if someone comes to vote while wearing, say, an ObamaBiden button, here’s what the SBE wants the election officials to do:

1.  As the person to remove or cover up the button.
2.  If the voter questions the authority for such a request, direct them to the “Prohibited Area Sign/Poster.”
3.  If the person refuses, to remove or cover up the button, let them vote, and then “complete an incident report,” which “should be forwarded to the locality’s Commonwealth’s Attorney by the local electoral board and general registrar” for prosecution for a misdemeanor.

So — you can wear your button when you vote, but then they’ll arrest you days, weeks or months later?

Read the whole thing.  I’d prefer to get a hold of a copy of the guidance the author is relaying, but the author is trustworthy.

Hope (for the House) in Virginia?

My belief that Virginia is in reach for Obama isn’t newly acquired, but it’s certainly stronger these days.   However, I can’t say that I’ve ever really been optimistic about the races for Virginia’s seats in the House.  Sure, I thought that a Dem pickup in the 11th was a lock the moment that Rep. Tom Davis announced his retirement, but beyond that, I thought we’d be able to count on Virginia’s usual resistance to change to prevent any other swaps.  Well, it looks like there may yet be a ray of sunshine breaking through in Virginia, as two House races have been shifting towards the Democratic challengers.  I’m still not optimistic about them, but I can definitely picture a victory.

The first instance is down in the Second District, where Glenn Nye is challenging Rep. Thelma Drake.  This is a heavily military district, and the race has just been moved from “leans Republican” to “Toss up” by the folks at Cook.  Drake is one of those “Support the troops on the trail, vote against them on the Hill” Republicans, while challenger Nye has actually worked towards stabilization in Iraq.  Vivian Paige takes a look at the state of this race here, and there’s a longer piece at Roll Call here.

The second instance is a longer shot, and takes place in Virginia’s Fifth District.  Here, Tom Periello is challenging Rep. Virgil Goode, who is perhaps one of the most open and disgusting bigots currently in Congress.   Goode’s constituents, unfortunately, have demonstrated quite a tolerance for his intolerance by putting him back in office over and over again*.  However, challenger Tom Periello seems to have found a connection with the district, and the DCCC just dumped $650k into the race.   My friend and Fifth District resident Mark Brooks has been writing about the race here.

So.  Here’s to hoping.

*And as a warning to those who assume Dem = good, I’ll point out that he arrived in Congress as a Democrat.

A View from the Palin Rally in Leesburg

A friend of mine, fresh off her experience at the Obama rally in Leesburg, decided to check out the Palin rally that occurred five days later.  I asked her whether the Palin rally involved any “positive vibes”, and this is her response:

I sense desperation from the right wing crowd.  The message at this rally was about average Joe the so and so, lying about Obama raising your taxes, him being hurtful to small businesses and being big government.  This is their message now going forward,  after all this time they finally have one.  Fortunately, they latched onto this late in the game and hopefully people won’t buy into it.

These visits to Leesburg by both candidates were historical and I wanted to see them both. I loved the Obama rally and the cool people of all types there.  Palin’s rally only got about 5,000 people if that, and MANY were kids and teens who cannot vote.  I did not see any hate spewed at this rally like the others ones I have seen on video.  Unlike the rude McCain people at the Obama rally, no Obama supporters yelled anything while Palin was speaking.

I don’t like Palin at all , but her positive vibe thing for her people is that I saw she has a way of really connecting to the crowd, being very personal just like Bush, the guy you could have a beer with.  But both of them are dummies, and very scary with their views, but these people are too stupid to see that.   I think many people were there at the rally because she is pro-life.  Her comment on that got the biggest roar out of the crowd above all others and that answered my question as to why many were there.  In spite of our country falling apart that is is all many care about.  The protests at the Obama rally last week on the street near the site seemed to be pro-life related signs too, so I heard.

Oh, Frank Wolf was there, but I did not see his cane wielding staffer beating any Feder supporters.  There were Obama supporters with signs protesting at a different entrance than where I went in.  They were yelling, “Use your brain – don’t vote McCain!”

When I left they were having a fire sale of free McCain yard signs. People were walking away with 4-5 of them as if putting up more signs will help their cause.   I can’t wait to see the Republican party melt down and their in-fighting after this election.

Indeed.  She ended with this note:

I went to this Palin rally with my friend’s husband whose son has just been sent to Mosul, one of the worst areas of Iraq.   He is very worried for his son.  He is voting Obama.

Yes we can.

Refusing Searches on the DC Metro

The Flex Your Rights Foundation has put together a handy guide to how to refuse the ridiculous searches that Metro recently announced.

(Even if you’re not in DC, check out the site in general.  I heartily approve of their mission.)

Celebrating Victory Already?

YouTube Preview Image

Thanks to Mike May (of the unequaled GamJams.net) for the tip-off.

DC Man of the People: Rep. Don Young

Convicted felon Sen. Ted Stevens gets some sympathy from likely-future-convicted-felon Rep. Don Young, when Young said:

You have to understand that this was not a jury of his peers. It was in Washington, D.C. , which most people in Washington, D.C., don’t look very favorably on the Congress because we run them. I don’t know why anybody didn’t bring that out. They’re not a self-governing city like they say they are. We actually make decisions for them. Makes us very, very suspicious.

DCist observes:

Allow DCist to thank you, Rep. Young, on behalf of all D.C. residents for taking the time to let us know that we’re petulant, ungrateful subjects. We’re so glad someone of your level of moral superiority is here to tell us just where we stand in the eyes of the U.S. Congress. It’s not like you’re also under federal investigation over your ties to Bill Allen and VECO Corp. or anything. You’re absolutely in a position to tell us who is capable of making an impartial verdict in the Stevens case, and we are not. Thanks for clearing that up.


Imagine the gall of this guy. Here he is, under federal investigation, part of what appears to be the most corrupt congressional delegation in history, and he’s throwing mud at the 600,000 disenfranchised residents of the District of Columbia. Oh, and surprise, surprise, guess who voted against the D.C. Voting Rights Act? Rep. Don Young.

I Warned You About Twitter

All that time you’re spending on Twitter?  You’re harming US national defense, as some portion of the military is apparently spend its time analyzing your tweets instead of doing something useful.  From a recent report issued by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion (of the U.S. Army):

Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences[.]

Seriously.  Vegetarians?  Some military unit spent time creating this report.  Boggling.  Next up: terrorists AND those weird macrobiotic diet people use the telephone system!  Oh noes!11!!!

(BTW – the attraction of Twitter remains a mystery to me, despite the fact that I’m a member of a number of the noted groups.)

NAACP Lawsuit Over Virginia Elections: Merits?

The NAACP has sued Virginia in Federal court, claiming:

that the state is violating the U.S. and Virginia constitutions by not allocating enough voting machines, poll workers and polling places — particularly in precincts with high minority populations [i.e., Richmond, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach] — which could result in long lines and lost votes.

As a result, it reportedly wants the court to direct Virginia:

to move voting machines to precincts most likely to have long waiting lines; keep polls open for an extra two hours; and use paper ballots in some cases.

You can read a copy of the complaint here.  The crux of the argument appears to be that Virginia has failed to ramp up election day resources to sufficiently match the massive increase in voter turnout (the complaint notes that turnout for this year’s Democratic primary in Virginia was 146% higher than 2004). Further, the complaint notes some significant disparities in the voter:voting machine ratios across a number of Virginia jurisdictions.  From the complaint:

Under the current plan for Norfolk, some precincts have a voters-to-machine ratio of 196 to 1, while others have voters-to-machine ratios of 496 to 1, and voters-to-poll worker ratios range from 73 to 1 to 283 to 1.

I don’t think it’s necessary to have perfectly consistent ratios, as it’s reasonable to allocate machines to improve the ratio in historically high-turnout precincts.  However, these appear to be some fairly significant gaps, and the complaint certainly documents the problems with long lines resulting in discouraged voters in these same areas in 2004. And the state has reacted to those 2004 problems.  From the Washington Post:

In a lengthy statement released late Monday night, the State Board of Elections maintained that all localities are complying with the minimum number of voting machines and voting booths in each precinct as required by state code. Since 2004, the number of voting machines, polling places and workers has increased, according to the statement. For example, the number of voting machines has increased from about 5,700 in 2004 to about 10,600 in 2008.

The question, then, is whether Virginia’s done enough to prepare for 2008.  And honestly, I have no idea.  The numbers of new voter registrations in Virginia are certainly huge, and every bit of experience I’ve had indicates that actual turnout will match those numbers.  The unknown, for me, is what local registrars have done.  In Northern VA, you can hear elections officials encourage in-person absentee voting in order to avoid the crush of voters they expect.  This is something I’ve never heard from local officials before, and it  indicates to me that they’re worried about capacity to handle turnout.  Then the very same officials will turn around and say that they’ve got everything covered for election day.

Given Virginia’s history of going with the bare minimums (often only when forced to), I can’t say that I’ll be surprised if the alleged harms in the NAACP complaint come to pass next Tuesday.

Let Us All Bow Our Heads

Truly inspired.

Just This One, Please?

The number of possible surprises next Tuesday are endless, but one I think I would take over all others is the defeat of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).  You probably only vaguely recall the name, but let me remind you that he was the one who rode to office in 2002 on this despicable piece of garbage that placed Sen. Max Cleland – a longtime Georgia public servant – alongside Osama bin Laden:

YouTube Preview Image

Saxby cemented his place at the bottom of the GOP sleaze barrel with that, and deserves a resounding defeat next Tuesday, as explained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

If Chambliss is defeated by an advertising assault free of context or fairness, score a win for retributive justice. He won the seat by running one of the most despicable ads in the Republican playbook —- no easy thing to do.

McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, have themselves followed the Rovian low road by questioning Obama’s patriotism and linking him to “terrorists.” But even McCain condemned as “reprehensible” a Chambliss ad against Democratic incumbent Max Cleland, a Vietnam War triple amputee, in 2002.

I can’t say that I’ve got much faith in my Georgia brethren, but if I were to be granted one surprise wish for next Tuesday, it would be Saxby paying the price for what he did six years ago.

Page 2 of 12

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén