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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Knowledge is power - US Elections and bending the rules

Elections clues  and issues. Or We must hit first (since he who hits first hits twice)

1. Voter fraud/vote suppression. 
After years of partisan legislation designed to make it harder for people to vote,  we all soon will learn whether election officials in key states are willing (or not) and able to ensure that registered voters are able to vote, to vote accurately, and to have those votes counted fully and fairly. Meanwhile state and federal court fight for rulings protecting broader voting rights

2. Recount in crucial states.  
The tougher question is whether such a recount will be dispositive as it was in Florida in 2000. There are many reasons to be concerned about this happening again. Mind you, only New Hampshire requires hand-counting of ballots during a recount. 

3. Districts. Redifining borders

item 1. Redistricting is the process of redrawing the districts from which public officials are elected. The General Assembly is required to redraw all of these districts following each decennial census due to population changes and the need to maintain equal representation. The most recent census was carried out in 2010, so districts were redrawn in 2011.
item 2.  The odd shapes of the GOP congressional redistricting plan
 favors reworking the process into a bipartisan or citizen-driven commission, omitting the politicians.
"It doesn't matter who is in charge. When the Democrats were in charge we had the same problems," he said. "It's hard to have confidence when politicians are drawing their own districts."
4. Never-ending campaign makes registration voters Key to win
In the key swinging states the campaign started much earlier than a year ago. In Ohoi, the activitsts have been on the road every weekend for 4 long years, so that the more than 2.000.000 voters could be added. In some cases up to 8% of them had still some problems to be fully accepted and were help up..
In the frenzied final days leading up to the election, Marcos Vilar manned a bilingual command center in central Florida, where he's been working to register voters and make sure they are engaged in Spanish as well as English. About 60 to 70 percent of about 100,000 newly registered Latino voters in Florida are Spanish-dominant. 
But not only:  This year was the first presidential election in which there were more Asian-American voters (11 percent) in California than African-American ones (8 percent). In 2008, 6 percent were Asian-American and 10 percent were African-American.

5. Microtargeting. 

In the NYTimes we read taht the practice is called microtargeting and like a lot of marketing techniques on the Internet aimed at identifying consumer tastes and behaviors, it is an information-age approach that is helping change how political groups identify and interact with voters.
Moreover, microtargeting may give pollsters, campaigns and interest groups a sharper idea of how candidates and issues may fare at the ballot box, raising concerns about personal privacy in a medium where government regulation is minimal.

What these firms receive is detailed information about how often a potential voter has cast a ballot in addition to data on what they read, where they shop and other consumer behavior tracked for decades off line.
6. Judiciary in states closely aligned with Tea Party sentiment.
ArizonaMissouriNew Hampshire, and Florida-- conservative activists seek through ballot measures to limit judicial authority and independence through a series of partisan initiatives. The most blatant of these efforts is in Florida, where Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-sponsored group, is seeking to remove three justices of the Florida Supreme Court. Millions have been spent on that race alone. Follow William Raftery's Gavel To Gavel blog on election night if you want the play-by-play. Here is his list of all judiciary-related amendments.
visual display: PREZZI 
EPILOGUE. The latino-issue. Figures and analysis.
Thomas D. Elias: Latino voters are sleeping giants

Weeks before Tuesday's election, President Obama began to realize his only chance for victory: Awaken the so-called sleeping giant of American politics, the approximately 50.5 million Latinos or Spanish-speaking US residents, 26 million of whom are eligible to vote.
"If I win," he said in late October, "it will be because of Latinos."
Obama and his private pollsters, then, may have had a clue that something was happening among Hispanic voters, those whose ethnic roots lie in Mexico, Central and South America, as well as Spain and Portugal.
Something important was indeed occurring. So now there is the possibility the same effect which turned California from a generally Republican state to a reliably Democratic one in presidential politics may spread elsewhere. Within three years of its passage, more than 2.5 million Latinos became naturalized citizens and registered to vote in California, almost all of them solidly Democratic then and now.
NUMBERS. Obama won in 2008 by getting record numbers of minority and youth voters to turn out. He won about 80 percent of non-white votes that year, while losing the white vote to John McCain by 6 percent. This year, Obama won not much more than 35 percent of white votes, but even more minorities turned out than four years ago. That was enough. The Latino vote was about 25 percent larger than in 2008. Obama granted administrative relief to as many as 4 million youthful illegals.

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