Will Efforts To Suppress Voter Turn Out Work For The GOP?

According to a new report from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Century Foundation, and Common Cause, there are more efforts underway to keep voters away from the polls on election day.

Some states have enacted criminal penalties and/or fines for submitting voter registrations that violate rules that are deliberately complicated. In Florida, any third party organization that submits registrations late is subject to fines. In Ohio, any technical violation of their registration laws is considered a felony.

Further ID restrictions are being added including the requirement to have photo identification (likely to alienate the poor who cannot afford cars and therefore do not have driver's licenses.) In the past, having your signature match your registration, or showing a utility bill used to suffice.

Arizona now requires proof of citizenship to vote. This led to 70% of registrations being rejected during a two-month period in Phoenix. Ohioans who suffered long waits because of an uneven distribution of voting machines can take heart that plans to remedy the situation will take effect in 2013.

2006 Election Update: One Week To Go

First, an update on the combined forecasting. This time, I have included projections from the N.Y. Times Interactive Election Guide as well as Electoral-Vote.com and CQPolitics.com.

House: D-224, R-211
Senate: R-50, D-50

Fewer Calories Equals Longer Life

Research involving rhesus monkeys at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center has produced some interesting findings.

It seems that monkeys given a diet with 30% fewer calories than their peers, but with an eye toward ensuring proper intake of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, are aging slower.

Bush Nominated Judges Made Contributions To Republicans While Under Consideration

According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, in conjunction with Salon.com, 6 appellate court judges and 18 district court judges, nominated by the Bush Administration, since 2001 made donations to either Bush himself, or key republicans, while being considered for their current posts.

Republicans who received money from judges en route to the bench include Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Sens. George Voinovich and Mike DeWine of Ohio, and Gov. George Pataki of New York.

While these donations are not technically illegal, they do raise some ethical questions. Making donations of this sort, were they seated judges, would violate the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges.

Early Voting Reveals Problems With Machines In Florida

Well, it didn't take long for the first reports of problems with electronic machines. This time, it's in Broward County, Florida.

Several South Florida voters say the choices they touched on the electronic screens were not the ones that appeared on the review screen -- the final voting step.

Of course, it will be impossible to know how many people confirmed the results on the final screen without realizing they were incorrect.

Global Warming Denial To New Heights

A general manager for two Bangor, Maine TV affiliates has directed their news teams to cease reporting on Global Warming.

His reasoning:

  • They do local news
  • These stories are politics, not science
  • The Science is not conclusive

Cognitive Dissonance And The 2006 Election

Cognitive dissonance describes the tension that arises from holding two apparently conflicting thoughts at the same time. It is believed that people who face this dilemma to either seek out or fabricate thoughts that bring the two conflicting thoughts closer.

A classic example of cognitive dissonance can be found in people's attitudes toward Congress. In an Oct 13-16th NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 16% of Americans approve of Congress' job while 75% disapprove. Of the same people surveyed, 37% believe Republicans should retain control of Congress.

So, what that must mean, is that as much as 21% of respondents disapprove of the work Congress is doing but believe they should keep on doing it.

How does one make sense of such conflicting thoughts? Let's look at the issues that would keep someone desiring Republican control of a failed institution over Democratic control. The two biggest campaign issues I've heard are taxes and defense (presently the 'war on terror').

Saddam Verdict May Move Until After U.S. Elections

It seems the planned delivery of a verdict in Saddam Hussein's trial may be delayed from November 5th, curiously close to the election, until sometime after the election.

Any question of the original date's timing being related to the midterm elections in the U.S. has been denied as coincidental, but the delay comes after days of public feuding between U.S. officials and the government of Prime Minister al-Maliki.

A guilty verdict could reflect positively on [President George W.] Bush as a vindication of his policy to overthrow Saddam in 2003. The former Iraqi president is also on trial separately on charges of genocide against the country's ethnic Kurds in the late 1980s.

All Out War Brews In Somalia

A new UN report highlights a coming fight between the UN backed Somalia government and militant Islamic rebels. It seems outside forces on both sides of the struggle are working to bring about the possibility of all out war.

Somalia's government is backed by bordering Ethiopians and Eritrean troops while he rebels are backed by Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States.

The U.N. is hoping to seek a direct dialog between the parties, but the militant Islamic rebels are commanded by Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys who is "on a list of people with ties to terrorism" - a fact which, by policy, hampers U.N. efforts to mediate through direct talks.

GAO Head Pleads For Common Sense

"This is about the future of our country, our kids and grandkids. 'We the people' have to rise up to make sure things get changed." - David M Walker, Comptroller General of the United States.

Walker is the head of the Government Accountability Office, part of Congress that audits the Federal Government.

His concerns: the state of the Federal Budget, the rising National Debt, the trillions in undeclared debt.

These are not sexy issues, and more importantly, they are issues that many people do not to understand:

Polls suggest that Americans have only a vague sense of their government's long-term fiscal prospects. When pollsters ask Americans to name the most important problem facing America today - as a CBS News/New York Times poll of 1,131 Americans did in September - issues such as the war in Iraq, terrorism, jobs and the economy are most frequently mentioned. The deficit doesn't even crack the top 10.

Foley Investigation Interviews Over But No Report Until After Election

The House committee charged with investigating the Foley scandal has told all witnesses that they will not be called back, a clear sign that they have wrapped up their investigation.

However, there are no plans to release anything until after the November 7th elections.

Some big names have testified before the committee, and there can be no mistake that many political fortunes may turn on such a report. It can be no surprise then that despite a commitment to finish the investigation in "weeks, not months", the report will not be released in time to influence the election.

Negative Ads Account for 90% of NRCC Ad Budget

If you believe in the sentiment that desperate times call for desperate methods, you'll find company with the National Republican Congressional Committee, an organization whose purpose is to fight the national fight to keep Republicans in control of the house. Their strategy, in part, this year involves spending 90% of their advertising budget on negative, attack ads.

To say that the ads stretch the truth doesn't begin to do justice to what's going on. Consider this example:

In New York, the NRCC ran an ad accusing Democratic House candidate Michael A. Arcuri, a district attorney, of using taxpayer dollars for phone sex. "Hi, sexy," a dancing woman purrs. "You've reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line." It turns out that one of Arcuri's aides had tried to call the state Division of Criminal Justice, which had a number that was almost identical to that of a porn line. The misdial cost taxpayers $1.25.

If you think that's bad, try these from the Republican National Committee (RNC):

Germany Knew About CIA Torture Cells

While European Countries publicly cried foul about rendition flights and CIA secret prisons, demanding to know where they were located, it turns out at least German ministers already knew.

Stern magazine quoted a leaked German intelligence report yesterday which said that only weeks after September 11 2001, two agents and a translator visited a US military prison at the American "Eagle Base" in the Bosnian town of Tuzla, where they saw a torture victim.

2006 Election: What Will The Undecided Voters Do

Just 13 days 'til the election. Let me start with a forecast updating projections from here and here. Averaging together the tracking from electoral-vote.com and cqpolitics.com congress should look like this after the election:

House: D-224, R-211
Senate: R-50, D-50

One curiosity about the polling bothers me, however; and that is the significant undecided percentages. Some of the closest races, as tracked by electoral-vote.com, have undecided voters in excess of the margin associated with them:

Bush Administration To Pander To Republican Base With Border Fence Ceremony

Thursday morning, the American people will be treated to what I'm sure will be live news coverage of President Bush signing a bill authorizing a 700-mile fence of the U.S. - Mexican border.

The administration, which favors a more measured approach to border security has apparently decided it would be best to pander to the republican base with a public signing ceremony of this controversial bill less that two weeks before the election.