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    ‘young voters’



    News Round-Up: November 5, 2013

    Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

    NJ mall shooter is found dead; nine skydivers survive a crazy plane collision midair; and Election Day 2013 has arrived with major elections in New Jersey, Virginia, NYC as well as other cities & states across the country. Meanwhile, Drew Barrymore is pregnant again (yippee!) and Lea Michele dedicates a song to her late love, Cory Monteith, on her new album.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    New Jersey Mall Shooter Found Dead With Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound, Police Say,http://rtvote.com/1hK7rEn
    Richard Shoop, 20, opened fire in New Jersey’s Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall ten minutes before closing time last night. Shoop fired at least six shots, none of which were aimed at people; witnesses described Shoop’s demeanor as extraordinarily calm. His body was found in a back area of the mall at 3:20 AM this morning. There have been no other reported injuries at this time. Stay tuned as this story continues to develop.

    Watch nine skydivers survive fiery two-plane collision in midairhttp://rtvote.com/HEmNNg
    As if skydiving weren’t terrifying enough. Skydivers in Wisconsin pulled off the stunt of their lives last weekend as they found themselves in the middle of something that looks straight from a James Bond movie. Two planes collided 12,000 feet in the air on Saturday, and a group of skydivers, along with the pilot, jumped from the exploding wreckage. The second plane was landed safely by another pilot, despite damage to the wing and the propeller.

    Obama: ENDA vote in Senate an ‘opportunity’http://rtvote.com/1hKcfcW
    At a dinner for top Organizing for Action donors, President Obama praised Senate’s 61-30 vote to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Monday. The bill forbids employers from firing employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. However, it is still too soon to celebrate since the bill has yet to pass in the House.

    Takoma Park 16-year-old savors his history-making moment at the pollshttp://rtvote.com/1aCoAyi
    Ben Miller, 16, will step into a voting booth today and cast his ballot, along with 350 other 16- and 17-year-olds, who were granted the right to vote in municipal elections by the Takoma City Council in May. Montgomery County, Maryland, is the nation’s first community to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 in municipal elections; council member Tim Male said this was intended as a way to boost voter turnout. It seems to be working, as young Ben Miller proudly exercises his newfound civic duty.
     

    ELECTION DAY 2013

    Election Day 2013: Five things to watch todayhttp://rtvote.com/HEmxhb
    Today, voters in Virginia and New Jersey will elect their new governors, while new mayors are chosen in New York, Boston, Detroit, and a heck of a lot of other cities. Important issues are at stake on many of these ballots. Here are five things to keep an eye out for.
     

    PUNDITS

    The New York Times Editorial Board discusses the ENA decision in “Toward Ending Workplace Discrimination”, http://rtvote.com/1aCD1m7

    Rocker Austin Estes tells us why young voters are a force to be reckoned with in “Young Americans Will Help Change History This Election Day – If They Vote,” http://rtvote.com/1a5stsW

    Writers respond to the increased incidents in gun violence in “LAX shooting heats up gun debate: Opinionline,”http://rtvote.com/177qaYc

    CULTURAL

    Teen Mom’s Amber Portwood Released From Jail, http://rtvote.com/1hgnV9B

    Drew Barrymore Is Pregnant, Expecting Second Child With Husband Will Kopelman, http://rtvote.com/1hKirlf

    Lea Michele Recorded a Song About Cory Monteith For Her Debut Album, http://rtvote.com/1bVBzrt

    Chris Pratt Was an Amateur Stripper at Age 18, http://rtvote.com/1a5vk5b

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    Young Americans Will Help Change History This Election Day — If They Vote

    Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

    When you live on the outskirts of our nation’s capital, it is easy to sense that history is writing itself around you. The striking all-white dome of the Capitol serves as the backdrop, the directors have chosen their cast, and the scene is set for a drama that unfolds in newspaper headlines, TV interviews, and bar conversations. But what is the driving narrative? What story will be told?

    The media think they have us pegged: young people are frustrated about the shutdown; they’re angry about the rocky rollout of healthcare.gov; they’re disillusioned with the entire political process. According to U.S. News and World Report, more than 1-in-3 rising American electorate voters (which includes young people, women, and minorities) who voted in 2012 won’t return to the polls in 2014.

    They’re trying to write history before it happens, and we can’t let them get away with it. Truth is, young people are angry, but we’re sure as hell not lazy.

    Tuesday is Election Day and all eyes are on the Virginia gubernatorial race. Candidates Terry McAuliffe, Ken Cuccinelli, and Robert Sarvis represent a host of diverse ideals that each resonate with different groups across the Commonwealth. This race is no done deal, and the polls predict a tight race. Not to mention, the Virginia gubernatorial contest is the first competitive election since the government shutdown and the rocky rollout of healthcare.gov. Everyone is watching with bated breath to see how dysfunction in the neighboring capital will affect Virginia voting behavior.

    One thing is for sure: young people will play a significant role in electing the next governor of Virginia. Over the course of his campaign, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe visited 23 community colleges and, in the past week alone, toured five college towns with former President Bill Clinton. Republican Ken Cuccinelli tipped his hat to the youth vote as well with a stop at Virginia’s Liberty University. And even Sarvis, the popular Libertarian candidate, has made his fair share of college stops over the past few months.

    There’s little wonder each candidate is eyeing the youth vote: In 2012, 1.16 million young Virginians between the ages of 18 and 29 were eligible to vote. Of those, more than half participated in the 2012 election. Young people in Virginia have a loud voice and the 2013 candidates for governor know it.

    The youth vote is a powerful weapon, but it is a weapon we must exercise. For too long, politicians have written off young people as disengaged, lazy, or ignorant. But they are wrong. As much as the media enjoy predicting election outcomes, history is written ex post facto, and nothing is certain until it happens. Young people are poised to take action in 2013 and reclaim their right to a representative voice in government. All we have to do is show up.

    So let’s do it. 

    We have a vision here at Rock the Vote: a vision of widespread bipartisan youth participation in the 2013 Virginia election. Whoever bears the title of governor-elect on Wednesday – be it Cuccinelli, McAuliffe, or Sarvis – MUST know that young Virginians gave him that title. Let’s show up and hold our leaders accountable. Let’s make sure they don’t forget the youth. 

    In 2013, young people have a tight grip on history’s pen. We must hold our hands steady and craft the narrative that we want to see. 

    PS: Rock the Vote’s Election Center has all the info you need on when to vote, where to vote, who is on the ballot, and what ID you need to bring to the polls. Take a minute to review before you vote this afternoon.

    PPS: If you’re a twitter fiend like me, give us a shout out from the polls with the hashtag #RocktheVote. And follow us at @RocktheVote.

    austin@rockthevote.com
    Bio:
    @austin_estes
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    THE DOJ Dukes it Out for North Carolina Voters

    Monday, September 30th, 2013

    North Carolina’s Voter ID legislation now faces a lawsuit from the Department of Justice (DOJ). The state’s new voting law, implemented after June when the Supreme Court lifted NC’s preclearance requirement on voting laws and procedures, has become increasingly restrictive in terms of acceptable forms of voter identification at the polls. The new election law also eliminates the first week of the early voting period, bans same-day voter registration during that time, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and abolishes the option of provisional ballots.

    The DOJ argues that these conditions are clear violations of the Voting Rights Act because they intentionally discriminate against certain races and age groups. Voter ID supporters assert that such laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, but it’s pretty hard to see how cutting down on voting time will prevent fraud.

    Making it harder for Americans – and only certain Americans at that! – to register, vote, and participate doesn’t sound all too democratic, now does it?

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    Why Voting Rights Aren’t Just for Old People

    Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

    By RTV Guest Blogger Dale Ho, ACLU Voting Rights Project (see bio below)

    In a continuation of trends from previous elections, voters under the age of 30 turned out in record numbers in last year’s election, leading many analysts to suggest that they played a decisive role in the presidential race.  But many of those young voters might not have been able to participate at all if the Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down a crucial part of the federal Voting Rights Act (“VRA”) had been in effect last year.

    The Supreme Court in the Shelby County case, however, eliminated that crucial protection.  The Court declared that the part of the VRA that determines which states are subject to the preclearance requirement is out-of-date, and therefore unconstitutional, striking down the law. First, some background.  Earlier this week, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder struck down a key provision of the VRA.  The provision of the VRA in question related to what’s known as federal “preclearance” of voting laws: the VRA required certain states and counties that have a history of voting discrimination – places like Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida – to get approval or preclearance from the federal government before making any changes to their voting laws.  Over the past three decades, this provision of the VRA blocked over 700 discriminatory voting laws from going into effect.

    That decision could prove devastating for the voting rights of all citizens, particularly young voters. In last year’s presidential election alone, the VRA’s preclearance requirement enabled thousands of voters to cast a ballot free from discrimination or other interference.  For example, in one case being litigated by the ACLU, Texas attempted to implement a law that would have, among other things, prohibited voters from using student ID cards to verify their identities at the polls (but would have permitted the use of concealed handgun licenses).

    Thankfully, the VRA blocked that discriminatory law, and several others, in advance of the election.  But had the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County been in effect, an estimated 600,000 registered voters in Texas – who do not own the type of ID that Texas demanded at the polls – could have been denied their right to vote.  In addition to young voters, poor and elderly voters – who are less generally less likely to own a car (and thus, a driver’s license) – would also have been disproportionately affected.

    So why did the Supreme Court strike down this essential provision of the VRA?  The plaintiff in the case, Shelby County, Alabama, argued that it is unfair to require some states but not others to seek approval from the federal government before changing their voting laws.  A majority of the Court agreed.

    But that’s hardly a reason for scrapping a law that has and continues to do so much good.  If anything, the last election showed that we need more, rather than fewer, protections for our right to vote.  And, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted during the oral argument in Shelby County, the state of Alabama was found to have violated the Voting Rights Act over 100 times since 1982.  The fact that other states like Ohio or Pennsylvania have also engaged in bad behavior hardly seems like a reason for giving Alabama a free pass.

    Moreover, what was crucial about the VRA is that it blocked discriminatory voting laws before they went into effect.  Outside of the voting context, most anti-discrimination laws operate after discrimination has already occurred – say, if your employer pays you less because you’re a woman or you’re gay, you often sue afterwards, and then, if you prove your case, you then get awarded backpay.

    But that kind of process doesn’t work in the elections context – you can’t re-do a discriminatory election after the fact,  which is why it is so crucial to prevent discriminatory voting laws before they are implemented.  But now, after the Supreme Court’s decision, voters who suffer discrimination will generally only be able to sue after their voting rights have been infringed – and, even if they prove their case, we all will still have to live with the results of an unfair and unlawful election.

    The Supreme Court ignored that fact.  It also ignored its own precedent, as the Court had previously upheld the preclearance requirement as constitutional in four separate decisions spanning four decades.  And, the Court ignored the fact that strong bipartisan majorities in Congress – voted in favor of Section 5 and its geographic scope in 2006.  Young voters – like all Americans – have expressed profound disappointment about the inability of Democrats and Republicans to come together in Washington, but the near-unanimity about the continuing need for the VRA from both sides is remarkable.  In determining what to do next, we hope Congress will approach this issue with the same bipartisan spirit that it did when it last reauthorized the VRA seven years ago.

    Safeguarding the fundamental right to vote of all Americans – young and old alike – demands no less.

    Mr. Dale Ho’s Biography: Dale Ho is the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, where he supervises the ACLU’s docket of voting rights litigation. His work includes litigation under the Voting Rights Act; combating barriers to voter registration and ballot access; and expanding access to the franchise. Dale has testified on election reforms in various state legislatures around the country, and is a frequent commentator on voting rights issues, appearing on television programs including Hardball with Chris Matthews, Up with Chris Hayes, and ViewPoint with Elliot Spitzer. He is an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School, and has published over half a dozen academic articles in law reviews including the Florida Law Review, the Richmond Law Review, the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, and the Stanford Law & Policy Review. Prior to joining the ACLU, he was Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; an associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; and a judicial law clerk, first to Judge Barbara S. Jones, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then to Judge Robert S. Smith, New York Court of Appeals. Dale is a graduate of Yale Law School and Princeton University.
    Guest
    Bio: This is a guest blog account. Have a blog you want to share with the RTV community? E-mail us at streetteam@rockthevote.com and we'll go from there!

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



    Young People Undecided about 2012 Elections

    Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

    In 2008, President Obama won the youth vote overwhelmingly. However, many recent news articles and polls are claiming that support and enthusiasm for Obama’s re-election has fallen precipitously. While he is still far ahead amongst young voters, it seems a good deal of young people are undecided and focused on the economy over any other issue.

    This New York Times piece indicates that very young voters (18-19) are slightly more conservative than the rest of their Millennial brethren. It also points out that enthusiasm has fallen because of the poor economic situation, particularly among young people. A Huffington Post piece highlights the people who put their lives on hold in order to work on the Obama campaign in 2008, but are now disillusioned with the allegedly slow progress he has made on the issues that were important to them.

    Current polls show that a majority of young voters support Obama in his reelection. While this may be the case, it still remains to be seen if youth vote turnout will be the same that it was in 2008. Both the Obama and Romney campaigns needs a relatively large majority of young voters to turn their way in order to win. As a result of this, Mitt Romney has begun to do some youth outreach focusing on the economy. If he offers young voters a compelling vision for economic recovery, they may go against the grain and vote for him. The economy is so poor it has made many young people one-issue voters. Romney also has several advantages that John McCain did not have in 2008 – he is younger, attractive, and has strong economic credentials. He is also facing an incumbent president of the opposite party with unemployment still over 8%. Check out our comparison of Mitt Romney’s and President Obama’s economic plans.

    You can see Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote, speak more on the current climate of the youth vote at 11:25am today with Thomas Roberts on MSNBC.

    David Winegar
    Bio: David Winegar is the Digital Media intern for Rock the Vote. He is a sophomore at Duke University.
    @davidswinegar
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com