Posts Tagged ‘Elections/Campaigns’

Coloradans protest fracking near schools

Posted on: June 5th, 2012 by The American Independent 2 Comments

Olivia Cusimano, 6, leads a protest against hydraulic fracturing in Erie on Saturday. (Photo by Troy Hooper)

ERIE, COLO. — With black whiskers painted across her cheeks, 6-year-old Olivia Cusimano roared into the plastic megaphone as if hers were the voice of the blue knotted-up balloon tiger she clutched beneath her left arm. (more…)

In Colorado, fracking near schools

Posted on: June 4th, 2012 by The American Independent 2 Comments

ERIE, COLO. — Flaggers in bright yellow vests stopped traffic on the parkway in Erie, Colo., Wednesday as a convoy of semi-trailer trucks rumbled toward Red Hawk Elementary hauling sound barriers to muffle a gas extraction project that is vexing many residents in this once peaceful family neighborhood. (more…)

Justice Department Protects Voting Rights for Minorities in Texas

Posted on: March 14th, 2012 by Paul 5 Comments

Ed. note: This piece was written and published in coordination with Ms. Magazine.

On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder used his powers under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to block enforcement of a prohibitive new voting law in Texas. The law would have required voters to show government-issued identification at the polls.

The Justice Department ruled that Texas’ law would disproportionately deny Hispanics and other marginalized populations the right to vote–a frequent concern about such “strict” voter ID laws.

Texas is among 16 states and counties that are required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to obtain federal “pre-clearance” of new voting laws that could affect minorities. The law was enacted in the Civil Rights era as a way of protecting the voting rights of African Americans and other marginalized groups.

The blocked Texas law is just one of a number of restrictive voter ID laws enacted by states all over the country in the past year. The laws have raised red flags from voting-rights and civil-rights groups who say they are a barrier to the polls for women, African Americans, Latinos, students, low-income voters, the elderly and people with disabilities.

In the case of women, the millions who change their names after getting married or divorced could face problems updating documentation, because it takes time and money many women, especially low-income women, do not have. According to the Brennan Center, only 66 percent of voting-age women have ready access to proof-of-citizenship documentation with their current legal name.

Before 2011, only two states exclusively required government-issued IDs for voting; the rest accepted various forms of identification, such as student IDs, Social Security cards, utility bills and bank statements. But last year, 34 state legislatures, mostly GOP-led, introduced strict ID laws, and seven states–Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennesee, Texas and Wisconsinenacted them.

Like Texas, South Carolina is covered by Section 5 and recently saw its new strict ID law struck down by the Justice Department for the same reasons. Yesterday, Wisconsin’s voter ID law was deemed unconstitutional by a state court.

Voter ID laws are just one of the many voting crackdowns passed in mostly GOP-led state legislatures last year. Others include ending Election Day registration and imposing harsh restrictions on third-party voter registration drives.

Voting rights groups, who have expressed hope that the federal government will use its power to protect minority voting access as the 2012 elections unfold, were heartened by the Texas decision.

Meanwhile, Texas has asked a federal court to overturn the Justice Department decision.

Analysts: GOP failing to reach young voters

Posted on: March 12th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

Low turnout among youth voters for the Republican Super Tuesday primary contests suggests the GOP is making a major strategy misstep this year, analysts told the Colorado Independent. They said that Republican campaign messages to young people are mostly absent, weak or a turn-off and they called youth outreach efforts uninspired. They said the party looks to be continuing a disastrous trend sure to be exploited in the general election by President Obama, the man whose candidacy drew out young people as voters and volunteers in record numbers in 2008. (more…)

Florida counties that implemented new elections law saw fewer voters, study says

Posted on: March 5th, 2012 by The American Independent 1 Comment

According to newly released research, Florida’s controversial new elections law affected early voting turnout in this year’s presidential primary, despite claims from proponents of the bill that it would not negatively affect accessibility of early voting. (more…)

Battle rages in Florida over private detention center

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by Nicolas Mendoza 5 Comments

Protesters demonstrating against the Corrections Corporation of America/Southwest Ranches proposal (Pic by Marcos Restrepo)

Residents opposed to a federally-funded, privately-managed immigration detention center in South Florida issued a statement Wednesday calling on President Obama to step in and halt the project.

A press release issued by No Prison in Southwest Ranches states: “Will the President step in and protect the people in this area from a project that has been kept silent by Corrections Corporation of America, LLC through invite only ‘advisory meetings’ policy of a ‘cone of silence’ by the Town of Southwest Ranches identified through public records requests and implemented by request of [Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and [Corrections Corporation of America]?”

Bill Di Scipio, a resident of Southwest Ranches and an opponent of the detention center, tells The Florida Independent that he and other residents have created a political action committee, Residents Against Inappropriate Development Inc., that “provides us with the legal means to raise money to defeat the hundreds of thousands of dollars that [Corrections Corporation of America] is now spending to make sure this happens.”

He adds that Corrections Corporation of America (also known as CCA) has recently sent out four different mailers and made two robocalls to residents’ homes.

DiScipio tells the Independent that, come time for the August and November 2012 elections, “we will end up supporting candidates in Southwest Ranches and perhaps on our congressional and senatorial level as well,” adding that the primary goal is to defeat the detention center.

The Florida Independent has reported extensively on the opposition to the immigration detention center set to be built in South Florida since Immigration and Customs Enforcement first announced it had chosen the Southwest Ranches/Corrections Corporation of America proposal in June 2011.

The land where the detention center is set to be built is owned by the Corrections Corporation of America, but surrounded by unincorporated Broward county land and the city of Pembroke Pines.

Pembroke Pines officials sent a letter to President Obama earlier this month asking him to intervene, along with a copy of a resolution opposing the detention center.

A CCA detention center facts website details the benefits that residents of Southwest Ranches and Pembroke Pines would receive from the project  - including tax revenue and jobs. According to the site, “Independent studies have shown no correlation between property values and proximity to a detention or corrections facility.”

But Di Scipio says that claim is a lie, citing an FIU/FAU study which “shows a direct correlation of a drop in housing values in the Goodyear, Arizona community situated next to a prison.”

The Florida Carpenters Regional Council recently told the Independent that it is working with CCA to secure the proposed detention center. According to Regional Council spokesman Miguel Fuentes, the project would create hundreds of jobs for local workers. Fuentes told us that he has participated in the robocalls.

The Broward Group of the Sierra Club expressed its opposition to the detention center earlier this month, arguing that it would impact the environment and further degrade what remains of Broward County’s natural areas.

Supporters of the proposal to build the detention center in Southwest Ranches include Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fl., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fl.

Blocking the Vote

Posted on: February 28th, 2012 by Patrick Caldwell 3 Comments

Ruthelle Frank, an 84-year-old resident of a small town in Wisconsin, is suing her home state because, for the first time in her adult life, she might not be able to vote. In 2011, Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature enacted a new law that requires state-issued photo identification for all voters. Because Frank cannot drive, she has never held a license. Last November, Frank’s daughter drove her to their local Department of Motor Vehicles office to obtain a photo ID. (more…)

Numbers USA says real winners in Florida GOP were ‘self-deportation,’ ‘Latino dignity’

Posted on: February 3rd, 2012 by The American Independent 3 Comments

Numbers USA — an organization that agitates “For Lower Immigration Levels” — wrote this week that the “Vote Winners” in Florida’s recent GOP presidential primary “Are Latino Dignity & Self-Deportation.” (more…)