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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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1  General Politics / Political Debate / What exemptions should exist for school vaccination requirements? on: February 28, 2015, 05:44:30 am
Currently only two states in the US (Mississippi and West Virginia) do not have religious or personal belief exemptions for school vaccination requirements: http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/school-immunization-exemption-state-laws.aspx

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All 50 states have legislation requiring specified vaccines for students.  Although exemptions vary from state to state, all school immunization laws grant exemptions to children for medical reasons. Almost all states grant religious exemptions for people who have religious beliefs against immunizations. Twenty states allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations because of personal, moral or other beliefs.

2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: What color is this dress? on: February 27, 2015, 07:42:26 pm


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The original image is in the middle. At left, white-balanced as if the dress is white-gold. At right, white-balanced to blue-black.

How can anyone think the dress on the right would look like the one in the middle under a shadow? Blue and black would get lighter in the shade? There may be a blue and black dress for sale and pictures of that but OP's image is clearly white and gold.

The whole thing is probably a marketing campaign.
3  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / What is your favorite climate to live in? on: February 20, 2015, 08:29:51 pm
?
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Oregon state house passes automatic voter registration on: February 20, 2015, 06:03:53 pm
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Feb. 20, 2015

SALEM — After a lengthy debate, the Oregon House today approved a bill to create an automatic voter registration system, a potential national first. House Bill 2177 passed 35-24, on a party-line vote, with Democrats supportive and Republicans opposed.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Democrats painted the policy, which would use driving license records to automatically sign up voters, as a way to increase access to elections.

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Under the bill, the Secretary of State’s office would receive records from the state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division in order to find and register all eligible voters among those who have applied for or renewed a driver’s license. Those individuals would be notified and given three weeks to opt out or to pick a party affiliation before they simply are registered as unaffiliated voters.

No other state has yet adopted an automatic voter registration system, although North Dakota doesn’t require voters to register at all. Unlike Oregon, a dozen states do allow voters to register on Election Day, however.

The state would to use driving records going back to 2013. It’s estimated that the change immediately would add 300,000 individuals to the 2.2 million Oregonians on voter rolls now — a number that gradually would rise as more unregistered Oregonians sign up or renew their licenses. A total of 800,000 eligible Oregonians are not registered to vote.

Read more at http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/32792693-75/oregon-house-approves-automatic-voter-registration.html.csp

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Automatic voter registration passed the state house in 2013 but failed 15-15 in the then 16D-14R state senate when a Democratic state senator voted with Republicans against the bill. That state senator is still in office but the state senate is now 18D-12R after the 2014 elections so the bill's chances look pretty good. The new Governor has already announced support for it as she was the one pushing for it as Secretary of State.

Considering that Oregon is about 1.2% of the national population, a rough estimate is that this change (using DMV data to automatically register voters) would add 24 to 40 million new voters to the registration system if it was adopted nationwide.
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Just when I thought Cuomo couldn't stoop any lower... on: January 28, 2015, 02:40:55 am
He could be NY-Gov for quite a while since New York doesn't have term limits.

Given a very lousy candidate like Zephyr Teachout got 34%, I doubt it. He may fall at the first serious challenge.

Maybe. There's also the possibility he gets the legislature to adopt the top-two primary or something before 2018. Wouldn't put it past them.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Just when I thought Cuomo couldn't stoop any lower... on: January 28, 2015, 02:22:25 am
He could be NY-Gov for quite a while since New York doesn't have term limits.
7  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: So how has Obama's court-packing advanced since the elections? on: January 28, 2015, 02:11:11 am
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_judges_appointed_by_Barack_Obama
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Senate GOP Might Nix Filibuster For SCOTUS Nominees on: January 26, 2015, 07:20:11 pm
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January 24, 2015

In a big unexpected twist in the new Congress, Senate Republicans are reportedly crafting a plan to do away with the 60-vote filibuster for Supreme Court justice nominees.

Politico reported Friday evening that the plan, though in its early stages, was being led by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).

“What we would like to do is adopt by rule the way the Senate has always operated,” Alexander told Politico. “The history of the Senate has been up-or-down votes, as I call them, at 51.”

The proposal, which might require a two-thirds vote to take effect, has not yet been circulated widely among the GOP caucus.

But that it is even being considered is surprising after Senate Republicans decried last year, while they were still in the minority, the decision by Senate Democrats to do away with the 60-vote filibuster for administrative and judicial nominees -- with the important exception of Supreme Court candidates.

Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/gop-senate-filibuster-supreme-court
9  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Maps. All the maps. on: January 17, 2015, 08:40:10 pm


Full resolution
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Holder limits seized-asset sharing that split billions with local, state police on: January 17, 2015, 03:12:46 pm
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January 16, 2015

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without warrants or criminal charges.

Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.

Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing.

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The program has enabled local and state police to make seizures and then have them “adopted” by federal agencies, which share in the proceeds. It allowed police departments and drug task forces to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of adopted seizures, with the rest going to federal agencies.

While police can continue to make seizures under their own state laws, Equitable Sharing was easy to use and required most of the proceeds from the seizures to go to local and state police agencies. Some states have higher standards of proof for forfeitures and some require seized proceeds to go into the general fund.

Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/holder-ends-seized-asset-sharing-process-that-split-billions-with-local-state-police/2015/01/16/0e7ca058-99d4-11e4-bcfb-059ec7a93ddc_story.html
11  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / What do you call a computer that's functionally both a laptop and a tablet? on: January 12, 2015, 01:30:54 am
Computers in question
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / 2015 state ballot measures on: January 09, 2015, 10:49:39 pm
http://ballotpedia.org/2015_ballot_measures

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Two statewide ballot measures are certified for spots on two statewide ballots for 2015. If this year is similar to previous odd-numbered-years, it will feature roughly three dozen statewide ballot questions in a handful of states.
13  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Opinion of 2014 on: December 31, 2014, 12:37:46 am
?
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Nigeria General Election - February 14, 2015 on: December 14, 2014, 02:47:14 am
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigeria#Demographics

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According to the United Nations, Nigeria has been undergoing explosive population growth and has one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world. By their projections, Nigeria is one of eight countries expected to account collectively for half of the world's total population increase from 2005–2050.[116] By 2100 the UN estimates that the Nigerian population will be between 505 million and 1.03 billion people (middle estimate: 730 million).[117] In 1950, Nigeria had only 33 million people.[118]

And I thought Pakistan and Indonesia were growing fast. Wow.
15  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the "Cromnibus" bill? on: December 12, 2014, 02:57:10 am
Trash, much like the Congress that approved it.
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: in other good news, GMO labeling loses in OR and CO on: December 11, 2014, 08:16:04 pm
Are they done counting? It looks like the margin is less than 1000 votes now.

Results are supposed to be certified on December 4 but Measure 92 (GMO labeling) had a small enough margin that it triggered a recount which looks like it'll be done by December 10: http://sos.oregon.gov/elections/Documents/M92%20Recount%20Log.pdf

Looks like the recount didn't change much: http://www.katu.com/politics/Oregon-GMO-labeling-proponents-concede-defeat--285521151.html

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Dec 11, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Proponents of an Oregon ballot measure requiring labels on genetically modified foods conceded defeat Thursday after a judge ruled against them and an automatic recount appeared unlikely to sway the outcome.

The Yes on 92 campaign said there are no legal options remaining that could lead them to victory.

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Measure 92 was defeated by just 812 votes out of 1.5 million, triggering an automatic recount. With two counties left to report their results, both of which opposed the measure in the initial tally, the recount has resulted in a net shift of just 11 votes in favor of the initiative.
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: "Cromnibus" Spending Bill - Averting a Shutdown on: December 11, 2014, 08:04:00 pm
Is there an article listing all the various provisions? This is the closest I could find:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/12/09/whats-in-the-spending-bill-we-skim-it-so-you-dont-have-to/
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Share interesting raw vote facts here on: December 11, 2014, 07:45:03 pm
If I'm doing the math right on the 2012 Presidential election, it looks like Republicans' raw vote margin in the 7 most populous states they won (TX, GA, NC, AZ, IN, TN, MO; population 72m) was entirely offset by the raw vote margin Democrats had in California (population 38m): 2.9m v 3.0m
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: California officials ponder all-mail voting on: December 11, 2014, 05:59:29 am
Yeah, that was mentioned in 2013. Here's a good article on it: http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-20766-no_license_to_vote.html

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June 12th, 2013

A bill that could register as many as 600,000 new Oregon voters is in danger of dying without a vote.

The state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Kate Brown, wants anyone who gets a new driver’s license, or renews an existing one, to be automatically registered to vote.

Brown argues that more registered voters promotes a stronger democracy: 2.8 million Oregonians are eligible to vote but only 2.2 million are registered, a registration rate Brown calls “mediocre.”

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Last week, Janice Williamson of Salem cited such concerns in written testimony she presented to the Joint Ways Subcommittee on General Government. “There are no safeguards in this bill to prevent ineligible or illegal persons from obtaining a driver’s license, becoming registered and voting illegally,” she wrote.

Brown’s spokesman, Tony Green, says that wouldn’t happen. DMV data indicate who is a citizen and who is not, and elections clerks would simply set their data queries to exclude noncitizens from voting rolls.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: California officials ponder all-mail voting on: December 11, 2014, 05:45:16 am
A good thing to do, but there needs to be a system like in Colorado - in which all registered voters get sent their ballots ahead of election day plus enough polling stations for people to drop off their ballots on election day plus enough election-day polling stations to ensure that people who only register on election day can vote too.

Otherwise, if they scrap election day polling stations, people would only be able to vote if they have registered before election day. Some people simply wait until election day and decide only then to vote. If there's a voter registration cut-off date a few weeks before election day, the can't vote.

California passed same-day registration in 2012 (though it hasn't taken effect yet) so it will probably be more like Colorado's system. It seems like Oregon and Washington are more likely to keep 100% vote-by-mail and implement automatic voter registration compared to bringing back polling stations with same-day registration.

Nice. Let's hope CA has a good (and mostly flawless) system in place once they introduce it.

Question about OR and WA: What would "automatic voter registration" mean in these states ? About 99% coverage or much less than that ? Getting to 100% is almost impossible, if you do not have a Central Population Register. Not even the England/Scotland etc. manage 100% coverage.

I don't know about Washington (plus Republicans currently control the state senate there) but the Oregon Secretary of State has been pushing a bill to automatically register voters starting with the state DMV database/driver's licenses.

The bill would have an opt-out for people who don't want to be registered and, like you mention, we don't have a central population register nor does every resident have a driver's license so 95% was the highest coverage rate I remember hearing mentioned when it was debated in 2013. We'll see if the 2015 proposal is any different.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: California officials ponder all-mail voting on: December 11, 2014, 05:29:24 am
A good thing to do, but there needs to be a system like in Colorado - in which all registered voters get sent their ballots ahead of election day plus enough polling stations for people to drop off their ballots on election day plus enough election-day polling stations to ensure that people who only register on election day can vote too.

Otherwise, if they scrap election day polling stations, people would only be able to vote if they have registered before election day. Some people simply wait until election day and decide only then to vote. If there's a voter registration cut-off date a few weeks before election day, the can't vote.

California passed same-day registration in 2012 (though it hasn't taken effect yet) so it will probably be more like Colorado's system. It seems like Oregon and Washington are more likely to keep 100% vote-by-mail and implement automatic voter registration compared to bringing back polling stations with same-day registration.
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / California officials ponder all-mail voting on: December 11, 2014, 05:07:35 am
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11/14/2014

When all the ballots are finally tallied from last week’s election, the proportion of Californians voting by mail is expected to break the record set in 2012, the first time more than half of the state’s electorate voted absentee.

The uptick has more Californians pushing for the state to go all the way and ditch traditional polling places. Washington, Colorado and Oregon require all of their elections to be run entirely by mail, and at least 19 others permit some of their elections to be all mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

County elections officials have touted the potential increase in voter interest and significant savings from avoiding the task of recruiting and training polling place workers. And some believe an all-mail system could even help speed up and avoid some overtime ballot-counting.

Read more at http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/election/article3943892.html

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Historical California vote-by-mail stats: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/hist_absentee.htm
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: IL House & Senate pass same-day registration, Quinn to sign it on: December 05, 2014, 06:52:56 pm
Is it possible for a state to make voting mandatory? That would be a shake-up.
It would also likely result in political backlash and a constitutional challenge.

Democrats have no excuse for not passing automatic voter registration. They'll be trying again in Oregon next year* but why are we the first? Why are CA/MA/MD/VT/RI/etc sitting on their ass? This is a strange issue to be timid and ineffective about.

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* http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/32384554-75/oregon-election-bucked-anti-democratic-trend-in-nation.html.csp

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Nov. 6, 2014

In addition to seeking to bolster funding for K-12 schools and Oregon’s public universities, [House Speaker] Kotek said she expects discussions next year about a statewide mandatory sick leave policy for employers; raising the state’s minimum wage; renewing Oregon’s “clean fuels” program, which aims to reduce the amount of carbon in car and truck fuels; and automatic voter registration for Oregonians who get or renew a driver’s license.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Swiss Elections & Politics on: December 04, 2014, 03:06:12 am
Has Switzerland ever had a referendum on marijuana legalization?

Yes. There was a referendum on legalizing marijuana in 2008. It was rejected with 63.25% against and 36.75% in favor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_referendums,_2008#Legalisation_of_the_personal_consumption_and_production_of_cannabis

Thanks. I wonder if the strict prohibition enforcement here in the U.S. is why it's fairing so well in terms of public support lately. Maybe Switzerland has seen a similar change in public opinion over the last six years?
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Swiss Elections & Politics on: December 02, 2014, 09:39:21 pm
Has Switzerland ever had a referendum on marijuana legalization? Any recent polls on the issue?

I was just reading over some of these Swiss referendum articles on Wikipedia and I got curious about this considering all the proposals that have been voted on over the years.
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