Since President Obama’s re-election on Tuesday, there’s been plenty of soul searching among conservatives. But a new Tumblr shows just how deep the heartbreak is for some of Romney’s supporters. Meet the new Tumblr: White People Mourning for Romney.
On Tuesday night Tulsi Gabbard became the first Hindu-American to have entered the U.S. House of Representatives, winning her Hawaii seat by crushing her Republican rival.
Gabbard, 31, is an Iraq War veteran who born in American Samoa to a Catholic father and a Hindu mother. She has served on the Honolulu City Council and in the state Legislature.
Gabbard is a rising star earlier, earlier this year she spoke at the Democratic National Convention, appearing with U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi. I should note that her extreme margin of victory is largely due to the fact that her opponent Republican Kawika Crowley is homeless, lives in a van, and didn’t receive the backing of the Hawaii GOP party.
In an interview with Religion News Service earlier this month, Gabbard said she hopes to be a bridge between cultures and nations. “Hopefully the presence in Congress of an American who happens to be Hindu will increase America’s understanding of India as well as India’s understanding of America,” she said.
“Although there are not very many Hindus in Hawaii, I never felt discriminated against. I never really gave it a second thought growing up that any other reality existed, or that it was not the same everywhere,” Tulsi said in a statement Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported.
The Washington Post points out the two highest-profile Indian-American politicians are both Republicans and converts to Christianity: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was raised Hindu, while South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was raised Sikh.
Gabbard, whose first name refers to a tree sacred to Hindus, follows the Vaishnava branch of Hinduism that believes in the Supreme Lord Vishnu, and his 10 primary incarnations.
Republicans are no doubt feeling sour today after Romney’s defeat and a failed attempt to take control of the Senate. And while last night’s elections were a victory for Democrats, a deeper examination of the post-election playing field suggests Republicans remain well positioned to pursue a conservative agenda just as aggressively as they have for the last two years.
This is especially true in the states where for the last two years tea party candidates used Republican majorities to push a radical policy agenda. In the wake of yesterday’s elections, Republican control of state politics appears largely unchanged.
The 2010 election was a wave for Republicans, launching conservatives into control of a 29 governor’s mansions and 59 of the country’s 98 partisan state legislative chambers. This put Republicans in position to dominate the shape of state policy, passing dozens of bills restricting abortion access and voting rights, maligning the safety-net and attacking immigrants.
After last night, the numbers look nearly the same.
This year’s race for Los Angeles District attorney is in the history books in more ways than one. On Tuesday night, Jackie Lacey became first woman and African American to ever hold the office.
“When you look at my resume and what I’ve accomplished and the experience I had that was relevant to running that office, I had those things. And what the voters of L.A. County said was that the fact that I am a woman, the fact that I’m African American has no bearing on it.”
Lacey, a registered Democrat, had endorsements from California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as well as the current Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is retiring after three terms
Lacey won 55 percent of the votes. Running against her was veteran prosecutor Alan Jackson.
During President Barack Obama’s victory speech Tuesday night he briefly spoke about the “dreams of an immigrant’s daughter,” perhaps alluding to a select number of undocumented sons and daughters in the country who could have a path to citizenship with the DREAM Act.
“We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag, to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner, to the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president,” Obama said during his victory party in Chicago in the early hours of Wednesday.
Insiders say it’s safe to assume he was speaking about DREAMers but note Obama didn’t get to that position on his own.
“Obama was very clearly referencing the immigrant youth who he’s supported with his backing of the DREAM Act and deferred action,” said Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com immigration reporter. “But it should be noted that his support came largely because immigrant youth have put his feet to the fire and relentlessly demanded more humane treatment of undocumented youth and their families.”
But while Obama has been open about letting young undocumented people with “good moral character” have a path to citizenship, his administration has deported an unprecedented number of immigrants.
“We are hopeful that in his second term-when he no longer has to worry about re-election-that the President will be in a better position to advance a national and international agenda that represents the interests of the majority,” read a statement from PresenteAction, the largest online latino advocacy group.
“Millions of Latinos supported the President in his re-election with the very clear expectation that he will expand the use of his executive authority to provide relief to the millions of other immigrants facing a difficult situation because of initiatives like the SCOMM program, which many of us want the President to either fundamentally alter or abolish altogether because of the documented pain, discrimination and fear caused by this program. While it’s clear that the President must exert real leadership on a congressional solution on immigration reform, we expect the President to act immediately to stop the suffering of our families,” PresenteAction’s statement went on to say.
Latinos in Phoenix went to bed last night with the news that they’ll face another four years of harassment from Joe Arpaio and his deputies. The 80-year-old sheriff told supporters at his victory party that he looks forward to another term “just enforcing the law,” by which he tends to mean racial profiling and prisoner abuse. The Arpaio victory is not a surprise, but it is a disappointment for immigrant and civil rights advocates who hoped the county was ready to turn a corner.
Arpaio’s victory came amid a generally good day for Republicans in the state, despite Democratic hopes that the party could turn the state by organizing Latino residents. Arizona has acted as a testing ground for far-right laws that incubated in the imaginations and white papers of conservative think tanks. Despite two years of organizing to register growing numbers of Latinos, and waning support for bills like the state’s SB 1070 in the face of broad national challenges, it appears that Arizona may still be a Tea Party petri dish.
On Election Day, we heard lots of reports of folks standing in line for hours to vote. But what about the kids who came with their parents to their polling places — kids who must have felt that the wait took days?
Take a look at some of the future voters below.
Children from Kingdom Kinds Child Development Center march past a polling station to get out the vote at Dunbar High School on November 6, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Alice Vu, 5, read a book, ‘The Hungry Kitten,’ while waiting outside a polling station on Lexington Avenue in Cambridge on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6 2012. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
While eyes were glued to television screens waiting for word on the president, votes were still being tallied in a set of state ballot initiatives about the lives of people of color, women, immigrants and the working folks. Here’s a quick rundown of the results in key ballot measures.
Last night we reported some decidedly mixed early results. Oklahoma voters banned affirmative action in government hiring and public education, while Maryland voters broadly approved a state DREAM Act, granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.
As Maryland made itself more inclusive of undocumented immigrants, Montana voters excluded undocumented immigrations from state services. A measure there requires state agencies check the immigration status of anyone applying for state permits, licenses, disability benefits, state employment and services for crime victims. The ACLU warns that on top of its impact on immigrants, the law would exclude many citizens who lack needed identification.
The steady browning of the nation is the undeniable reality in the nation’s future—no surprise there. Latinos translating their growing numbers into electoral power in key states like Florida, Colorado, Arizona and Virginia which have the power to win elections. It’s a growing electoral power that advocates have hinted at for years, and we are seeing the first evidence of the night bearing that out.
In Florida for example, where Obama is holding on to a steady but narrow lead, the showing of Latino voters was up. They were 15 percent of Florida’s vote in 2008 and 17 percent of the vote tonight, according to CNN exit polls. And Latino voters were 11 percent of those who turned out in Colorado, surpassing the 8.7 percent that even (Latino political organizations)[http://www.naleo.org/latinovote.html] expected them to make up. In Arizona, where Romney’s got a comfortable lead and may likely win, Latino voters were still nearly one in five of those who voted—and were expected to be just 12 percent of those who turned out.
So critical is the Latino vote that the Romney camp projected it would need to take home 38 percent of the Latino vote in order to win, The Hill reported. For some context, that’s a seven-point jump from the 31 percent of the Latino vote that John McCain won in 2008. But Latino voters, then as now, overwhelmingly supported President Obama tonight, and in states like Colorado by a near-50-point margin. Latinos cite among their top concerns the economy, immigration and the DREAM Act and education, according to Election eve polling conducted by (Latino Decisions)[http://www.latinospost.com/articles/6522/20121106/2012-presidential-election-voter-turnout-latino-voters-arizona.htm], and have backed the president to deliver on those concerns.
The nation saw a glimpse of the Latino vote’s power in the 2010 midterms when Latino voters saved the West for the Democrats, holding back an onslaught of Republican and tea-party-backed senate and gubernatorial candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Meg Whitman in California, respectively.
Follow the rest of the election returns with us at Colorlines.com.
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly said tonight that if President Barack Obama is re-elected, it’s because the demographics of the country have changed and “it’s not a traditional America anymore.”
“The white establishment is now the minority,” O’Reilly said. “And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”
“The demographics are changing,” he said. “It’s not a traditional America anymore.” O’Reilly said 50 percent of the voting public are people who “want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it, and he ran on it.”
For more updates from election night, visit the Colorlines.com live blog.
It’s too early to tell, but here’s a sampling of anecdotal reports from our community journalists spread out around the country that are unconfirmed but offer a sense of the problem.
Meagan Ortiz has the following from California:
[Voter] ID problems continue to occur across the country. In Los Angeles County, in a predominantly Latino and African-American neighborhood, a woman reported that voters were being asked to present a California state driver’s license or ID in order to vote.
In Jefferson County, Colorado, which includes the city of Lakewood, a pollworker was unaware that a utility bill is acceptable form of identification. At first the voter was told to file a provisional ballot but she insisted and verified she was on voting list. Eventually she was allowed to vote via a regular ballot.
From Kemi Bellow in Texas:
College students in Terre Haute, Indiana were made to stand in a separate line to cast their ballot. When a voter and college student attempted to vote, her ballot was taken away from her by a poll official, who told her that she would not be able to vote. The poll worker then reportedly told her that the ballots of the other college students would be destroyed.
Election Protection has also received multiple reports from Minnesota that poll workers were informing voters that “not voting for the constitutional amendments is the same as voting no,” perhaps in an attempt to influence voting behavior.
At Camp Navajo in Arizona, a voter called in to explain that she was required to submit photo identification, when Arizona law only requires ID.
Here’s what Meta Mendel-Reyes is reporting from Kentucky:
In Detroit Michigan, https://electionawareness.appspot.com/report/3328255703”>according to Election Protection, District 13 is demanding drivers licenses. People are not being allowed to vote even if they have a voter ID card., nor are they being given the option of signing an affidavit saying they don’t have ID.
In Cottageville, SC, a https://electionawareness.appspot.com/report/3328256935”>voter had allegedly had his military identification rejected and he was asked to show a driver’s license, even though a photo id is not required under state law until 2013. He reported that the election officials did not seem to know about the law.
From Hermelinda Cortes in Virginia:
Across the country, voters are also being sent to the wrong polling locations. In Springfield, MA, redistricting changes sent voters to multiple locations before finding the correct one. In Staunton, VA a voter was told that they had to return to a former polling station from a former address and was turned away. In San Francisco, CA, an official city elections map is sending people to the wrong neighborhood.
For months, our Voting Rights Watch team has been reporting on voter suppression news from across the country. And, finally, today’s the day. Stay tuned for more once we’re able to confirm these reports.
Our Voting Rights Watch community journalists are watching the polls today. So far, Election Protection monitors are getting lots of reports of individual dustups, particularly around the voter ID laws. James Cersonsky sends in this latest report from Pennsylvania:
Reports continue to pour in about voter ID misinformation in Pennsylvania. Meredith McCoy from the Lawyer’s Committee tells Voting Rights Watch that signs have been up in Harrisburg and Dauphin Counties stating that photo IDs are required. In Erie County, she says, one polling place has told voters that “although some places don’t require ID, this one does.” Community journalist Meta Mendel-Reyes writes that a voter was wrongly rejected from the polls in Oley for not having ID, while the city of Berwick has signs stating that ID is required. Voting Rights Watch Community Journalist *Maegan Ortiz *reports that similar posters have been up in the Philadelphia suburb of Havertown.
Meanwhile, Spanish-speaking voters at several polling places in North Philly have been left without interpreters, Ceiba’s Will Gonzalez tells Voting Rights Watch. “It would be akin to opening a polling place without electricity,” he says. In some cases, poll workers have asked Spanish-speaking voters to put their name on a list for follow-up, making many voters uneasy. Adds Gonzalez: “Any delay is denial on this thing.”
Philadelphia’s Latino population has also had issues with voters not showing up on the rolls and being forced to fill out provisional ballots—or walk away in frustration. As Philadelphia’s City Paper reports, provisional ballots, a theme across the city today, require extra follow-up from voters after they’ve filled out their forms. Absentee ballots have also been an issue. As Luke McKinstry from the Committee of Seventy tells Voting Rights Watch, numerous voters have called in saying that they haven’t received their ballots even after submitting absentee applications well in advance.
The Committee of Seventy office, which I visited this afternoon, is a phone-ringing nightmare. “Usually with federal elections it’ll die down [mid-afternoon]—people doing crossword puzzles,” President and CEO Zack Stalberg says. “I haven’t seen anything like this before.”
A number of residents in Forest Park, a predominantly black suburb outside Cincinnati, are reporting they’re being forced to cast provisional ballots because records incorrectly show they already submitted an absentee-ballot.
The state Board of Election says the issue was caused by a “human error” but Forest Park residents—65% of them who are black—will still have to file a provisional ballot
We learned of it from a couple who lives in Forest Park and who vote at Word of Deliverance Church. When Acquanitia and Thomas Moxley showed up this morning, a poll worker said that they already voted absentee. The Moxley’s contend they never requested an absentee ballot-nor did they fill one out. They say they’ve voted at the polls every year since they turned 18 years old.
Precinct officials told them to cast a provisional ballot. Wilson went down to the Board of Elections, where the deputy director checked the official list and confirmed the Moxley’s story.
Meanwhile, other voters began reporting similar problems. Officials finally figured out that human error is to blame and affects the voters at only that Forest Park polling. Those voters will be asked to cast a provisional ballot. Officials will wait ten days to count the votes-but they will be counted.
Ohio has 18 electoral votes and it’s important to note that no Republican candidate has won the presidency without carrying the state.
UPDATE 6:10pm EST Andy Hirsch, another Pennsylvania voter attempting to vote for President Obama today ran into a similar issue and uploaded a video of his experience. “Exercising our right to vote shouldn’t be difficult, nor should it test our faith in the system,” Hirsch wrote.
A central Pennsylvania voter reminded the country why plenty of people have so much paranoia about casting ballots on electronic voting machines. They break, while they’re supposed to be delivering future-altering votes in national elections.
The voter, who was trying to cast his ballot with his wife today wrote that after having his vote switched to Mitt Romney when he intended to vote for President Obama he, “assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney.”
He writes about the ordeal of trying to figure out how to fool the machine into letting him cast a ballot for Obama:
Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney’s name and started tapping very closely together to find the ‘active areas’. From the top of Romney’s button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama’s name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein’s button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.
The machine was eventually taken offline, and “recalibrated,” and returned to service, Mother Jones reported.
But there are reports that the faulty machinery is taking an agnostic approach to whose votes it wants to mess up. Last week a voter in Marion County, Ohio tried to vote for Mitt Romney on an electronic touchscreen machine, but her vote was automatically switched to a vote for President Obama, The Marion Star reported.
After interminable years, several billions of dollars and an unending stream of political ads (more if you live in a swing state), Election Day is here. But what’s that? You know eligible voters who still aren’t planning on turning out?
It’s time you send your friends to Your Excuse Sucks, a project by Cultivated Wit and Fight for the Future. Among the brains behind it are comedians and writers like Brian Janosch and Baratunde Thurston. Trust them to help make the case for voting, if being part of the democratic process to shift power in the country isn’t a good enough excuse on its own.
Think you don’t have time to vote? “Sure, time is money. But you know what else is money? Money! Specifically the amounts of it you could gain or lose based on the outcome of this election,” they say.
You live in a solidly blue or red state where the presidential results for your state are pretty much taken care of? Your Excuse Sucks says, “There’s a word for someone who only participates if they know they can win: asshole.”
And on and on it goes. Of course, there are several legitimate reasons why you may not be voting today: you’re under 18; you’re not a citizen; you live in Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, or Virginia and have a felony on your record and so are possibly barred from voting; you didn’t register in time; or, as Your Excuse Sucks says, “you’re dead.”
Our Voting Rights Watch community journalists are deployed around the country watching the polls today. So far, Election Protection monitors are getting lots of reports of individual dustups, particularly around the voter ID laws. James Cersonsky sends in this report from Pennsylvania:
Polling places this morning across the state have been rife with confusion—and misinformation—about photo ID requirements. NAACP field organizer Liz Lassiter told Voting Rights Watch that a voter in Hatfield was turned away for not having ID; election officials called the police when she attempted to make a phone call while continuing to wait in line. A university administrator sent us this photo showing confusing signage for student voters. And my fellow community journalist Kemi Bello reports that a Lancaster election official held aside voters who didn’t have ID, while poll watchers in Collegeville allegedly asked voters to show ID and told those who refused to present it, “Well, we’ll get your name anyway.” In a related instance of potential intimidation, a voter in Upper Darby called the Election Protection hotline saying that a man in a suit was directing voters of color away from the line and sending them to the “wrong line for the wrong precinct.”
Yesterday, civil rights and community groups in Pennsylvania released a report detailing how tea party poll watchers planned to clump in black neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh area. The 59 targeted precincts in Allegheny County are over 79 percent black; the remaining precincts are less than 11 percent black (for full stats, see Daniel Denvir’s coverage at Philadelphia’s City Paper). “I’m sure they’re targeting everywhere with the same type of antics,” NAACP Vice President Jotaka Eaddy told Voting Rights Watch.
As Brentin Mock reported yesterday, nationally the place to look for potential voter suppression may not be the polls themselves today. Brentin found a list of dozens of voters in Hillsborough County, Fla., whom the tea party group Tampa Vote Fair had challenged in advance, meaning those voters would be forced to cast provisional ballots. It’s unclear how many counties received similar lists or how many voters were on them.
Fourteen-year-old Antoine Jenkins traveled from Inglewood, Calif. to Las Vegas, Nevada to knock on doors and urge voters in the swing state to vote for President Obama.
“In four years I’ll be able to go college and that’s why I need that student loan from Obama,” Jenkins explained to a resident he met that asked why he was knocking on doors. The interaction was captured in an audio story by Will Coley, a Los Angeles based progressive activist who works as a social media strategist.
Coley met Jenkins on a charter bus that traveled from Los Angeles to Las Vegas this past weekend.
“When I boarded the bus, Antoine and his mother were sitting behind me and we immediately hit if off,” Coley told Colorlines.com. “He was the youngest canvasser in our group and everyone cheered him on. We chanted ‘Antoine!’ almost as much as we did ‘Four more years!’”
Inglewood is a predominantly black and Latino community in the South Bay region of Los Angeles. Earlier this year the Inglewood Unified School District became the first Southern California district to be taken over by the state due to the district’s “ballooning budget deficit.” In an effort to cut costs the district eliminated 200 positions and increased class sizes as a result.
Listen to Will Coley’s story below.
Among the rumors and misinformation floating around today is one that’s very easy to debunk—if you’re voting anywhere but North Carolina. Do not fear—your straight-ticket voting is perfectly valid, and will include a vote for the president. Nevertheless, rumors to the contrary are populating the social mediasphere and even reaching the Election Protection hotline. So reports Kemi Bello, a Voting Rights Watch community journalist from Texas, who is monitoring the Election Protection feed today.
The Florida Times-Union explains the one exception to this rule:
In North Carolina, however, the warning in the viral email could be a good one. In that state, straight-ticket voting is allowed, but only for races other than president/vice president. So if you vote a straight ticket, you must vote separately for the president and vice president. A state law passed in 1967 prohibits the combination of the vote for president with any other office on the ballot, according to the state’s election website.
Still, rumors are popping up in Pontiac, Michigan; Stewartstown, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. The rumor is so widespread that a spokesperson from Alabama’s Secretary of State responded to the talk today to assure voters that straight-ticket voting, a ballot option allowing voters to vote for a party’s entire slate of candidates with a single mark, is a valid way of voting that will indeed include a person’s pick for president.
Once an unavoidable part of the voting process, today just 15 states offer straight-ticket voting. They are: Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Election watchers have wondered how Hurricane Sandy would impact turnout and voting experience. Associated Press is reporting that it doesn’t appear to have dampened turnout this morning even in hard-hit areas of New Jersey and New York.
Turnout in the heavily Democratic Northeast has been a significant question as election watchers game out the potential outcome. One prediction for the night is that President Obama will win the Electoral College but not the popular vote. That’s concerning to some, because it may well deepen already troubling emotions among those on the far right who believe the president is illegitimate.
That said, thus far signs point to a strong turnout despite Sandy’s chaos. Colorlines reporters voting this morning in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, a majority black and Caribbean neighborhood, saw lines about an hour long. Our Voting Rights Watch community journalist Hermelinda Cortes, who’s monitoring reports from election protection teams this morning, notes the following:
Election Protection is documenting a number of issues for voters at polling locations across the country, especially areas hit by Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, and Pennsylvania where there are long lines, confusion about voting locations, and sometimes no power or heat at polling locations. Many people are also being asked for photo identification.
We’ll follow these reports throughout the day. We’ve also heard separate reports of conflict at Pennsylvania polling stations over voter ID requirements. We’ll follow these throughout the day. On the hopeful side in terms of encouraging voting, both New York and New Jersey have made it possible for voters to cast provisional ballots in any polling place, in order to accommodate displaced voters.