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    Archive for the
    ‘politics’ Category

    Meet The District’s New Democratic Mayoral Candidate: Muriel Bowser

    Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

    In case you’ve missed it, have been hiding under a rock or both, on Tuesday Washington, DC residents nominated candidate Muriel Bowser over current Democratic mayor Vincent Gray. Muriel Bowser, a native Washingtonian & daughter of community activist Joe Bowser, has been preparing for this moment all of her life. Ms. Bowser holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Chatham College and a Master’s in Public Policy from American University.

    Ms. Bowser made her debut into Politics in 2004 when she ran for a seat on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, where she represented single member district 4B09. She continued her political journey by serving as former Mayor Adrian Fenty’s campaign coordinator for Ward 4 and eventually running for a seat on the Council of the District of Columbia in 2007, 2008 and 2012. Since the inception of Bowser’s political career, she has been dedicated to open and ethical government. While serving Ward 4, Bowser brought legislation and a sensible approach to tackling crime, community development and quality education for DC residents and their children. In addition to those accolades, Bowser has served on various committees in the District such as: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs and Committee on Public Works and Transportation.

    Bowser, ultimately made the call to run for mayor on March 23, 2013. As a result, Bowser has received endorsements from The Washington Post and EMILY’s list largely due in part to her “End Homelessness by 2015”, “Housing You Can Afford” and “Moving Forward On Education” campaign platforms. Bowser, champions her campaign approach for mayor as being a “fresh start” for the District.

    Although we still have about 5 months left until the general election, DC political history since 1973 has shown that once the democratic nomination for mayor is secured so is the election. In the meantime, the wait for Bowser’s “fresh start”has officially begun with many residents in the district who are excited about the possibility of her being selected to be the District’s new mayor.

    Gianna Judkins
    Bio: My name is Gianna Judkins& I'm a proud Angeleno. I'm also a Political Science Major at Howard University. I pride myself in being Michelle Obama's biggest fan and always being "FLOTUS Inspired”! As a Political Science major, my ultimate goal is to one day call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue my office. I'm a very determined young woman who understands the power of education and value of hard work while striving to achieve my goal of being one of the nation's next great leaders. I'm not that serious all the time though, for fun I enjoying singing in the choir and hanging out with friends.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    The Unsupervised Classroom: Why Changes to the VRA Opened a Can of Worms

    Monday, February 3rd, 2014

    I’ve got good news and bad news…and for the sake of ending on a good note, I’ll start with the bad:

    In the summer of 2013, the US Supreme Court reviewed and phased out section 4b of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). (You can read section 4b of the VRA of 1965 here.)

    If all of this doesn’t seem like a big deal, think again. Say “Goodbye,” to Federal Preclearance and brace yourself for the wrath of States Rights.
    Imagine a classroom full of 5th graders. Now, imagine the teacher leaving the classroom unattended for a few minutes. We’ve all experienced it, the classroom becomes a free-for-all: some kids stand on chairs, some throw paper balls, and others take out snacks to sneak a munch or three. Let’s not apply this analogy too strictly, but in a way, when the Supreme Court eliminated section 4b of the VRA, some states took on the persona of an unsupervised 5th grader. In this situation we have 3 students: Arizona, Kansas and Texas.

    Student One: Arizona. Here, it is now required that citizens submit “sufficient” proof of citizenship in order to vote in the upcoming election. (A list of acceptable documentation for proof of citizenship is here.)

    What does this mean? Voters who register with the federal form, and those who have recently moved (since they will have to register in a new county) will be excluded from voting in the upcoming state/local level elections (Governor, Attorney General, etc…) unless they provide additional/affirmed documentation of citizenship.

    *cough* SHOW ME YOUR FREEDOM PAPERS! *cough* Excuse me.

    Student Two: Kansas, where a similar approach has been taken on, first time voters are being prompted to provide proof of citizenship, in addition to fulfilling the requirements on the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) federal form.

    What does this mean? New registrants cannot vote in federal elections unless they provide proof of citizenship. In the event that the new voter sends in the NVRA form only, he/she will be placed on a “suspense list” and will not be permitted to vote until providing proof of citizenship.

    Student Three (my personal favorite): Gool Ol’ Texas, which is prompting voters to provide a photo ID when voting in person.

    What does this mean? Texas voters are now required to present an approved form of photo identification in order to vote in all Texas Elections. (Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID.) Seems fair enough, but what makes this law particularly tricky is that it disproportionately affects minority voters.

    Since elimination of section 4b interferes with enforcement of section 5, lets just say that the Supreme Court opened a figurative can of worms. And while there is nothing wrong with States’ rights, lest we forget, in the past they have been used to justify some more than questionable policies—such as Jim Crow and discriminatory marriage laws.

    Now here’s the good news:

    It’s up to us as to combat voter disenfranchisement. We can pressure our lawmakers by informing, educating, uniting, writing letters, emails, making phone calls and most of all voting. While we may not have the same views, it is our responsibility to make sure that our voices are heard.

    “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” – Justice Ginsburg

    I have a feeling this is the start of what will be an…interesting few years for voter rights in the upcoming elections. Be sure to stay tuned to Rock the Vote for updates and followups on the VRA and state voter legislation.

    And remember…don’t ditch your water repellant gear just yet, it’s still raining out there.

    Saundrea "Drea" Shropshire
    Bio: Saundrea "Drea" Shropshire is currently a senior at Howard University. Majoring in Political Science and minoring in Swahili Studies, she plans to attend law school in the fall of 2015. An avid biker, knitter, painter, movie enthusiast, music junkie, reader and writer, she takes on all tasks with the utmost tenacity and dedication. She also has many leather-bound books, and her apartment smells of rich mahogany.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    Cater to Us!

    Friday, June 15th, 2012

    2008 saw the rise of a growing, powerful and concerned voting electorate. Politicians, as well as political pundits, underestimated the engagement and ultimately the voting power of youth in America during that presidential election cycle.  Yet again we’re seeing that play out again.  There’s all this talk about the disengagement of my generation; but why would we be engaged – when neither of the candidates or their campaigns are addressing the issues that will directly affect us?  I want to vote – because I have something at stake and my voice is important and my vote is the way to influence the world around me – but these politicians need to earn my vote.

    Flashback to 2008: Millennials voted in that presidential election in record numbers because we were engaged by the political process; and it was our overwhelming engagement that led to the victory of President Obama.

    The number of youth under 30 is rapidly rising and diversifying.  Soon young adults under the age of 30 will make up nearly a fourth of the voting age population.  If that’s not enough proof of the power young Americans could have, consider the estimated 16 million citizens that have turned 18 since the 2008 elections.  These candidates can’t win without our support on November 6th, 2012 – and they should realize that.

    So if Mitt Romney and President Obama want our vote, they need to engage us.  Talk to us about making college more affordable and accessible or job creation, for example.  Instead, the issues affecting young adults are superficially addressed, and only when it becomes a matter of convenience for candidates.  I would be hard pressed to believe that either candidate would have addressed the issues around the student loan interest rate hike, which congress has yet to fully address, had their not been such an outcry by students, families & numerous organization across the country.  And, recently Mitt Romney’s campaign released a graphic comparing his first 100 days in office to President Obama’s.  Looking through this chart, I couldn’t help but notice one glaring omission:  youth were not addressed at all.  By not fully addressing youth voters, both candidates are risking a lofty portion of the electorate not being mobilized to vote.  This is appalling to me and I imagine others feel similarly.

    I know we are still considered by many pundits to be the apathetic and lazy section of the electorate. Statements like “youth voter turnout is predicted to drop significantly in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, due partly to the decline in political interest among young people” (Youth Votes Will Drop Significantly In 2012 Election) So lets change the Narrative!

    To the young voters reading this, let’s force them to recognize the power we have and will have in the voting booths on Election Day, so they don’t continue to discount us or our votes OR worse, take them for granted.  We need to communicate to the campaigns that they need to communicate to us.  Make it clear that we want to hear from the candidates directly, and on the issues that matter to our generation.

    And to the candidates, loop us in!  I’m confident that effort will go a long way..

    Alston Neville
    Bio: Alston Neville is a Advocacy Intern at Rock the Vote. He is currently a junior at Duke University studying Public Policy, and African/African-American Studies. Also He is a North Carolina native hailing from Pittsboro.
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    Primary Election Results

    Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

    Voters from Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina went to the polls Tuesday to vote in their primary elections. The Indiana GOP primary saw record turnout as the Republicans voted for their party’s nominee for U.S. Senate this fall.

    We’re sure you were one of those who voted Tuesday, but if you didn’t vote because you didn’t know about the election, Rock the Vote sends voter reminders via email and text. You can sign up here to receive your Election Day reminders and you can check out our election center for info on your state including voter registration deadlines and elections.

    The AP has a breakdown of the election results. Read the entire story here.

    In all three states, candidates backed by party leaders in Washington squared off against challengers drawing their support from elsewhere. While it’s difficult to draw concrete conclusions about the state of the country from just a few races, the results gave some idea of whether the national parties still can influence rank-and-file supporters.

    At the very least, the outcome of Tuesday’s primaries — the first set of contests in the two months since Texas held its February primary — set the stage for November’s congressional matchups and provided early insights about voter attitudes ahead of this fall’s elections.


    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    Invite: White House Health Insurance Reform conference call

    Monday, March 15th, 2010

    The White House Office of Public Engagement is holding a a call with youth advocacy groups to discuss Health Insurance Reform. The conference call will be held this Tuesday, March 16, at 5:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time.  You should  dial in a few minutes early to ensure you get in on the whole thing.

    Please note:  this call is for background information only and not intended for press purposes.
    WHO: Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and staff from the  White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Office of Health

    WHAT: White House Briefing Call on Health Insurance Reform

    WHEN: Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 5:30 PM EST

    HOW: Please call (888) 276-9998, and ask the operator for the “Health Care Call”


    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com