Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Archive for the ‘Voting Rights’ Category

How Hostile Poll-Watchers Could Hand Pennsylvania to Trump

Posted by carldavidson on October 3, 2016

One tactic is making the lines slow down with spurious challenges

The state’s unique rules make it vulnerable to Election Day mischief. In a tight race, that could help Donald Trump.

By Erick Trickey
Politico.com

In 2004, hundreds of University of Pittsburgh students waited for hours to vote in the presidential election. The local Democratic Party, alarmed at the bottleneck, handed out pizza and water to encourage the students to stay. Pittsburgh Steelers Hall-of-Famer Franco Harris worked the line, armed with a giant bag of Dunkin Donuts, and Liz Berlin of the Pittsburgh band Rusted Root performed on guitar.

The stalled line wasn’t because of the high turnout. It was what was happening at the check-in desk.

“The attorneys for the Republican Party were challenging the credentials of pretty much every young voter who showed up,” recalls Pat Clark, a Pittsburgh activist and registered Democrat who was working for an election-protection group that day.

The GOP attorneys were acting as poll watchers. A common practice in many states, partisan poll watching helps parties get out the vote and keep an eye out for irregularities. But in Pennsylvania, laws governing how observers can challenge voters are unusually broad, and that makes them susceptible to abuse.

On that day in 2004, students who were challenged by the GOP lawyers were told they needed to find a friend who could sign an affidavit proving their identity and residence. Other battleground states, concerned that their voter-challenge laws could be misused, have limited or even abolished them in the past decade. But Pennsylvania hasn’t modified its rules. That worries election experts, who fear Donald Trump’s persistent calls for supporters to monitor the polls to prevent cheating could create conflicts and chaos inside and outside of precincts across the state.

“I hope you people can … not just vote on the 8th, [but] go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100-percent fine,” Trump said at an August 12 rally in Altoona, in rural central Pennsylvania. “We’re going to watch Pennsylvania—go down to certain areas and watch and study—[and] make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times. … The only way we can lose, in my opinion—and I really mean this, Pennsylvania—is if cheating goes on.”

In a speech 10 days later in Ohio, Trump dropped an ominous hint that he had more in mind than just witnessing democracy in action: “You’ve got to get everybody to go out and watch, and go out and vote,” Trump said. “And when [I] say ‘watch,’ you know what I’m talking about, right?”

Trump’s claim that widespread voting fraud could swing the presidential election has been widely debunked; a national study discovered only 10 cases of fraud by misrepresentation from 2000 to 2012—1 in every 15 million eligible voters. But Trump’s remedy could have a very real and much larger impact. In a state that has been described as a “blue wall,” crucial to Clinton’s election chances, and where polls show her lead in the 3 percent range (down from 9 percent a month ago), blocking likely Democratic voters in Pennsylvania’s major cities could help Trump tighten the results on November 8.

“Instead of seeing orderly poll watching,” says Wendy Weiser, director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, “we might see a lot of individuals trying to take on the role of election officials or law enforcement, and crossing the line into intimidation, discrimination and polling place disruption.”

***

Pennsylvania knows it has a problem on its hands, or at least the potential for one. That’s why the Pennsylvania Department of State issued guidelines in 2012 to help election workers cope with the state’s broad law.

The guidelines, which are nonbinding, call on election workers to prevent watchers from challenging voters “routinely, frivolously or without a stated good faith basis.” Wanda Murren, press secretary for the Department of State, explains that using challenges “to intimidate or harass certain voters” could “rise to the level of criminal behavior.”

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Posted in 2016 Election, Voting Rights | Leave a Comment »

Anniversary March Commemorates Selma, Stresses the Importance of Voting

Posted by carldavidson on March 9, 2015

By Justin Criado

Beaver County Times

March 9, 2015 – BEAVER FALLS — Upwards of 100 people marched from New Brighton to Beaver Falls on Sunday afternoon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," which took place March 7, 1965, in Selma, Ala., as civil rights activists marched to the state capital of Montgomery for voting rights.

"Things like this sparks into the people to get out there and vote, and that we have a chance to get out there and make a difference," said Abe Askew, of Aliquippa.

Askew believed that Sunday’s march and similar acts of empowerment can have positive impacts on people and communities alike, saying he will spread the word regarding the importance of voting.

"(I’ll tell) all the people that I know from Aliquippa and it’ll go from here to there," Askew said. "It goes into a stream and a stream into a river."

The march began at New Brighton’s Townsend Park, across from the borough building at Third Avenue and Sixth Street, and crossed the bridge over the Beaver River to Beaver Falls, before concluding at Beaver Falls Memorial Park at Sixth Avenue and 11th Street, where several guest speakers addressed the crowd, including event organizer Olivia Ryan.

Ryan, a graduate of Beaver Falls High School and Kent State University, decided to organize the event after a panel discussion on law, race and the community last weekend at Geneva College. (Continued)

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Posted in African-Americans, Racism, Voting Rights | Leave a Comment »

‘Moral Mondays’ Launched in Western PA

Posted by carldavidson on October 28, 2014

Protesters Rally for Officials to ‘Do the Right Thing’

People gather at the Beaver County Courthouse to raise awareness of several social and economic issues.

By Kirstin Kennedy

Beaver County Times

Oct 28, 2014 – BEAVER — Everyone knows the First Amendment gives citizens the right to assemble. Few regularly exercise it.

But that wasn’t the case Monday evening on the steps of the Beaver County Courthouse, when over 30 people gathered with signs and chants.

Willie Sallis, president of the NAACP in Beaver County, said he helped to gather the protest to pressure elected officials to "just do the right thing."

"What is the moral thing to do? … That’s what we’re trying to keep alive with the union and the civil rights leaders," he said. Sallis paired with several other organizations — including members of local labor unions — for the rally, with the hope of raising awareness of several social and economic issues.

Inspired by a recent lecture given locally by the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Sallis dubbed the rally Moral Monday.

"What’s the right thing to do for the poor?" Sallis said. "What’s the right thing to do for health benefits? What’s the right thing to do when it comes to jobs? What’s the right thing to do when it comes to minimum wages? All we’re saying is, ‘Look, do the right thing.’"

On the courthouse lawn, participants chanted, "Keep it fair; we care."

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Posted in Green Energy, Green Jobs, Infrastructure, NAACP, safety net, trade unions, Voting Rights | 1 Comment »

Oct 27: ‘Moral Monday’ Rally at the Courthouse Monday Evening!

Posted by carldavidson on October 26, 2014

From Tina Shannon:

Friends,

Monday, October 27th, is a big day for Beaver County.

It’s the day we’ll have our first Moral Monday rally at the Beaver County Court House.

At 6:00 PM we’ll all gather on the steps of the Court House in Beaver to announce our intentions. We intend to follow our moral compass & use our energy to address the issues facing Beaver County & Pennsylvania.

Public education is under attack. It’s harder than ever to make a living because unions are under attack too. There aren’t enough jobs. Our very water is being threatened because of cuts to the agencies that are supposed to protect it. Inequality is at an all time high, with our brothers & sisters in the African American community suffering the worst. We intend to gather people together & address these issues & other issues that hurt our beloved community.

Please please join us. It’s the beginning of coming together. It’s the beginning of reaching out. It’s the beginning of standing & listening to each other & finding the way forward.

With love & solidarity,

Tina Shannon, 12th CD Progressive Democrats of America
Read more on Moral Mondays:

http://www.thenation.com/article/180491/how-moral-mondays-fusion-coalition-taking-north-carolina-back#
Activists to Watch: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber | BillMoyers.com

Posted in NAACP, PDA, Poverty, safety net, Solidarity, Voting Rights | 1 Comment »

We Win a Round on Voting Rights in PA!

Posted by carldavidson on May 10, 2014

Corbett Administration Abandons Voter ID Appeal

From PA AFL-CIO

May 9, 2014 – After more than two years, multiple trials, and a confusing roll-out that ultimately disenfranchised tens of thousands of eligible voters and cost millions of dollars, Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law has been defeated.  In a statement yesterday, the Corbett administration indicated that they would not appeal the Commonwealth Court’s January ruling, which found the law to be unconstitutional on its face.

At the time of that ruling, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO urged the Commonwealth to accept the judge’s findings and to abandon further appeals.  “This process has already cost the Commonwealth millions of dollars, and risked the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of our citizens,” said PA AFL-CIO President Bloomingdale.  “We are pleased that the administration has finally decided to face the fact that their voter ID law was never constitutional.”

While defending the broader concept of voter ID requirements in their statement yesterday, the Corbett administration also made the surprising acknowledgement that ‘for a voter identification law to be found constitutional, changes must be made to address accessibility to photo identifications.’

“While the court ruling in January, combined with this week’s developments, are a victory for voting rights, there is still much work to do,” said PA AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Snyder. “We have avoided taking a step backwards, but Pennsylvania is still one of the more restrictive states when it comes to ballot access.”  Among the changes that voting rights advocates have called for in Pennsylvania are early voting, same-day registration, and no-excuse absentee ballots.

Posted in NAACP, PDA, trade unions, Voting Rights | Leave a Comment »

Meet the Preacher Behind Moral Mondays

Posted by carldavidson on April 29, 2014

Coming to Beaver County in June, The Reverend William Barber is charting a new path for protesting Republican overreach in the South—and maybe beyond.

By Lisa Rab

Beaver County Blue via Mother Jones

April 14, 2014 – The Reverend William Barber is charting a new path for protesting conservative overreach in the North Carolina—and beyond.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, the Reverend William Barber II [1] reclined uncomfortably in a chair in his office, sipping bottled water as he recovered from two hours of strenuous preaching. When he was in his early 20s, Barber was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful arthritic condition affecting the spine. Still wearing his long black robes, the 50-year-old minister recounted how, as he’d proclaimed in a rolling baritone from the pulpit that morning, "a crippled preacher has found his legs."

It began a few days before Easter 2013, recalled Barber, pastor at the Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and president of the state chapter [2] of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). "On Maundy Thursday, they chose to crucify voting rights," he said.

"They" are North Carolina Republicans, who in November 2012 took control of the state Legislature and the governor’s mansion for the first time in more than a century. Among their top priorities—along with blocking Medicaid expansion and cutting unemployment benefits and higher-education spending—was pushing through a raft of changes to election laws, including reducing the number of early voting days, ending same-day voter registration, and requiring ID at the polls. "That’s when a group of us said, ‘Wait a minute, this has just gone too far,’" Barber said.

Barber "believed we needed to kind of burst this bubble of ‘There’s nothing we can do for two years until the next election.’"

On the last Monday of April 2013, Barber led a modest group of clergy and activists into the state legislative building in Raleigh. They sang "We Shall Overcome," quoted the Bible, and blocked the doors to the Senate chambers. Barber leaned on his cane as capitol police led him away in handcuffs.

That might have been the end of just another symbolic protest, but then something happened: The following Monday, more than 100 protesters showed up at the capitol. Over the next few months, the weekly crowds at the "Moral Mondays" protests grew to include hundreds, and then thousands, not just in Raleigh but also in towns around the state. The largest gathering, in February, drew tens of thousands of people [3]. More than 900 protesters have been arrested for civil disobedience over the past year. Copycat movements have started in Florida [4], Georgia [5], South Carolina [6], and Alabama [7] in response to GOP legislation regarding Medicaid and gun control.

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Posted in African-Americans, Poverty, Racism, Right Wing, safety net, Voting Rights | Leave a Comment »

Blatant Racism in North Carolina Voter Suppression

Posted by carldavidson on August 20, 2013

Posted in GOP, Racism, Voting Rights, Youth and students | Leave a Comment »

Aug 24 March Gathering New Energy: Help Us With The Buses!

Posted by carldavidson on July 24, 2013

by Tina Shannon, President

PA 12th CD Chapter, Progressive Democrats of America

July 24, 2013

Friends, You’ve probably all heard about the 50th Anniversary March on Washington by now. At first it seemed the March might be a well-deserved but merely historic commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr’s magnificent I Have a Dream speech.

As time passed though, it became clear that many folks were quite aware of how relevant Dr. King’s words were to our present time. We are having our voting rights curtailed. We need jobs. The important institutions of civil society, such as schools and social services are being cut and even eliminated.

Then the incident in Florida made painfully clear to our entire nation how strongly racism still exists. Trayvon Martin is a black teen-ager cut down before his life was even launched, and he is only one of many with more to come. The whole country now must confront the truth about ALEC, the right wing think tank creating harmful & divisive legislation for corporations to foist upon Republican State lawmakers. We must also face the fact that Stand Your Ground laws are in place throughout the country allowing scared racists to confront those they perceive as different and dangerous and kill them if they feel threatened.

So, on top of all the economic and political problems we face, laws like this are being implemented that destroy the very fabric of our society.

It’s time to say, enough.

Folks all over the country are reserving buses and getting their friends & family to go to Washington to deliver this message.

We have reserved & filled 4 buses in Beaver County already. Enough people are expressing interest that we have reserved a 5th bus. We are currently raising funds to pay for it.

The cost of the 5th bus is $2400. One of you has already very generously donated $500. Only $1900 more to go. Please donate whatever you can. If everyone gives $10 or $20, we’ve got this.

Please sign up to go on the bus also. I think this March shaping up to be a historic event all on it’s own.

I often hear people ask, “When are we in this country going to get fed up & take to the streets?” Good question. It might be August 24th.

Let me know.

Tina Shannon

(724)-683-1925

Posted in Civil Liberties, Organizing, Poverty, Racism, unemployment, Voting Rights | Leave a Comment »

August 24, 2013: March for Freedom, Jobs and Voting Rights. We Need EVERYONE OUT to Defend the Dream

Posted by carldavidson on June 28, 2013

Our 12th CD PDA Chapter is part of this Committee. We are working to make this an important national event. HELP US FILL THE BUSES!

Contact Tina Shannon if you want to go,

via email or 724-683-1925

 

"I HAVE A DREAM"

50th Anniversary

March on Washington

Come with the MLK 50th Anniversary Committee

to a March on Washington

August 24th 2013

to continue the fight for jobs and voting rights

Leaving from IBEW Hall, Sassafras Lane in Vanport/Beaver

Departure time : 3am Returning: 11pm

Posted in Civil Liberties, Racism, unemployment, Voting Rights | Leave a Comment »

More Arrested as North Carolina Legislature Protests vs. Austerity and Racism Continue

Posted by carldavidson on May 7, 2013

Click photo for video

By CHRIS KARDISH

Beaver County Blue via AP

May 6, 2013 – RALEIGH — More than two dozen members of the NAACP and other activists were arrested Monday as part of continuing protests of Republican policies in the state capital, bringing to dozens the number of nonviolent demonstrators facing charges.

The demonstrators were arrested Monday by Raleigh and General Assembly police. The number of arrests, as well as the size of the crowd that turned out to offer support, grew from last Monday’s demonstrations, when 17 were arrested.

General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver said law enforcement officials decided to admit them despite last week’s arrests while they determine what the law permits. He said those arrested most recently will face the same charges of second-degree trespassing, failure to disperse on command and the displaying of signs or placards, which violates building rules.

The group arrested Monday included Barber’s 20-year-old son, William Joseph Barber III, a student at North Carolina Central University; William Chafe, former dean of Arts and Sciences at Duke University; Robert Korstad, a professor of public policy and history at Duke; Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, an historian at the University of North Carolina; Charles van der Horst, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and members of the social justice group Raging Grannies.

“I started in 1954 at the Youth March for Integrated Schools in New York,” said Vicki Ryder of Raging Grannies. “I’ve been doing this for a long time.”

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Posted in African-Americans, budget crisis, Poverty, Racism, Voting Rights | Leave a Comment »

 
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