Posted at 09:12 AM in 2012 Presidential Election, Black Voters, Citizen Journalism, Civic Apps, Civic Engagement, Civic Innovation, Cost of Freedom App, Election '12, Election Day 2012, Foot Soldiers for Democracy, Power of the Sister Vote, Social Media, STEM, Voting Rights, Yo! Philly Votes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Civic Engagement, Civic Innovation, Election 2012, Election Day 2012, Philly Voters, Voter ID, Voter Turnout, Yo! Philly Votes
In the wake of Frankenstorm, your polling place may have changed. To verify the location of your polling place, go to Can I Vote?
If you show up at the wrong place, you still can vote, but you must cast a provisional ballot. The question then becomes: Will your vote be counted?
I talked about the perils of provisional ballots during a panel discussion organized by New York Women in Film and Television at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
The bottom line: Be careful where – and how – you vote.
I’m now developing an app to help protect the rights of those who show up on Election Day.
I’d like to share an excerpt from my post about the Ushahidi-powered Yo! Philly Votes, which was published yesterday on the Ushahidi blog:
I am a voting rights activist who has monitored elections in Angola, Ethiopia and Nigeria, and led democracy workshops in Kazakhstan. Since 2006, I have live-blogged from Election Day command centers organized by the Election Protection Coalition and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
I’m now spearheading Yo! Philly Votes, a citizen-led initiative that will crowdsource election protection in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the American democracy.
Read more: Yo! Philly Votes Will Turn Data into Action
Posted at 08:35 AM in 2012 Presidential Election, Citizen Journalism, Civic Apps, Civic Engagement, Civic Innovation, Digital Journalism, Digital News, Election '12, Election Day 2012, Social Media, Tracking Change, Voter ID, Voting Rights, Yo! Philly Votes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Azavea, Civic App, Civic Innovation, Election Protection, Foot Soldiers for Democracy, Hacks for Democracy, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Philadelphia and Vicinity Coalition on Black Civic Partcipation, Unity '12, Ushahidi, Yo! Philly Votes
Posted at 01:28 PM in Black Voters, Civic Apps, Civic Engagement, Civic Innovation, Civil Rights, Cost of Freedom App, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Foot Soldiers for Democracy, Help America Vote Act, March on Washington, Power of the Sister Vote, Race, Voter ID, Voting Rights, Yo! Philly Votes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
In a letter to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Pennsylvania General Counsel James Schultz wrote:
Upon my initial review of your letter, I was optimistic that surely your inquiry marked the long overdue renewal of the Department of Justice’s previously abandoned review of the 2008 voter intimidation case in Philly, a review that would be particularly well-timed in this presidential election year, as I trust Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice share the Commonwealth’s commitment to ensuring that no violation of the voting rights of Pennsylvanians be tolerated. Unfortunately, my optimism proved unwarranted as I read your letter and learned that you are requesting information “concerning Pennsylvania’s compliance with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
The minor incident involving three knuckleheads was captured on video on Election Day 2008, It has since been played in an endless loop by Fox News. Unfortunately, there’s no countervailing data to rebut the Big Lie of voter intimidation.
But this time, we’ll be ready for them. I am developing an app, Yo! Philly Votes, that will aggregate and visualize multiple sources of real-time Election Day incident reports. Using software developed by Jon Gosier, we’ll be able to contextualize the sources of reports.
If Yo! Philly Votes had been around in 2008, we would have real-time data that the eyewitness to the incident, Chris Hill,a Republican activist, was at the polling place for an hour and did not see any voters turned away. There were no other reports of voter intimidation. If the source of the incident report had been considered, the bogus story would have remained just that – bogus. Instead, made-for-Fox-News story became a justification for election law changes that have been enacted across the country, including Pennsylvania's restrictive voter ID law.
Posted at 08:45 AM in 2008 Presidential Election, 2012 Presidential Election, Civic Apps, Civic Engagement, Civic Innovation, Cost of Freedom App, Election '08, Election '12, Election Day 2008, Election Day 2012, Social Media, Voter ID, Yo! Philly Votes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Cost of Freedom App, Cost of Freedom Project, metaLayer, New Black Panthers, Tom Corbett, Ushahidi, Voter ID, Voting Rights Act, Yo! Philly Votes
On March 15, 1965, President Johnson stood before Congress and declared, “And we shall overcome”:
Every device of which human ingenuity is capable, has been used to deny this right. The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists and, if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name, or because he abbreviated a word on the application. And if he manages to fill out an application, he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he passes this test. He may be asked to recite the entire Constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of state law.
Well, it’s back to the future where there are no uniform standards. Faceless clerks and election officials are making up the rules on who is eligible to vote. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported:
State officials said PennDOT clerks could now take age and other factors into consideration and grant exceptions to document requirements on a case-by-case basis.
Another source of confusion, for people trying to figure out if they already have the ID they need to vote: seemingly minor differences between names on photo ID cards and names on voter registration lists.
The new law addresses this issue, saying the name on a voter’s photo ID must “substantially conform” to the name on the roll of registered voters, which is duplicated in poll books distributed to every polling place on Election Day.
But the law does not offer any further explanation of what “substantially conform” means - leaving that to election officials at various levels to figure out on their own.
And as reported, election officials’ level of understanding of the new photo ID requirements varies from county-to-county:
Renee Cohen, a Democratic committeewoman in Blue Bell, Montgomery County, wanted to identify Democrats in her precinct who might need help.
She called Montgomery County voter services about two of them: a woman who had used the name “Judy” on her voter registration form, but “Judith” on her driver’s license, and a man who used the initials “C.J.” on his registration, but “Charles J.” on his driver’s license.
Amanda Witman, a spokeswoman for the Department of State, said both situations described by Cohen “would be ‘substantially conforming,’ in our opinion. That’s what we would recommend to the county election directors. But at the end of the day, it is their decision to make.. . . As we interpret the law, the county election directors do make the final decisions on those issues for their respective counties.”
Cohen got a different answer, however, when she called Montgomery County voter services.
I have monitored elections in Ethiopia and Angola, and conducted democracy training in Central Asia. The arbitrary way in which Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is being implemented would never pass the “free and fair” standard to which emerging democracies are held.
With a sustained public awareness campaign, we shall overcome voter ID. But freedom isn’t free. Please make a donation to the Cost of Freedom Project.
Posted at 08:45 AM in 2012 Presidential Election, Black Voters, Civic Apps, Civic Engagement, Civic Innovation, Cost of Freedom App, Foot Soldiers for Democracy, Race, Social Media, Voter ID, Voting Rights, Yo! Philly Votes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Civic Engagement, Cost of Freedom App, Cost of Freedom Project, Election Protection, Voter Protection, Voting Rights, Voting Rights Act
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's voter ID law, Vivian Applewhite, has been issued a PennDOT photo ID.
Ms. Applewhite still does not have the documents voters must produce in order to get a "free" photo ID. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported:
Nothing has changed since Viviette Applewhite, 93, testified in July. The law stands. She still doesn't have a driver's license or Social Security card. The name on her birth certificate is still different from the name on her other documents - all of which, under the law, should have barred her from getting her photo ID.
Ron Ruman, a Department of State spokesman, said:
PennDot has said all along that they would work with folks on a case-by-case basis.
It's the Applewhite rule:
You just have to keep trying. Don't give up.
Posted at 05:31 PM in 2012 Presidential Election, Black Voters, Black Women Voters, Civic Apps, Civic Engagement, Civic Innovation, Cost of Freedom App, Election '12, Race, Voter ID, Voting Rights, Yo! Philly Votes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Civic App, Civic Innovation, Cost of Freedom App, Cost of Freedom Protect, Vivian Applewhite, Voter ID, Voting Rights