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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / California's long-awaited voter registration database appears to be complete on: March 07, 2016, 04:49:49 am
March 1, 2016

A single, instantly updated list of registered voters in California became reality on Monday, as two final counties plugged in to an electronic database mandated by a federal law enacted in the wake of the contentious 2000 presidential campaign.

In other words, a database that was long overdue.

"It's been more than a decade in coming," Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

The $98-million project allows elections officials in each of California's 58 counties to easily track voters who move from one place to another and to quickly update their records in the event of a death or a voter deemed ineligible after conviction of a felony.

The database also is the key step toward implementing a 2015 state law that will automate voter registration for every citizen who applies for a driver's license and a 2012 law allowing election-day voter registration.

Monday's announcement also allows California to set aside its dubious distinction as the very last state in the nation to launch a comprehensive voter registration system, the end to a system that Kelley said was based on voter data collection methods dating back to the 1920s.

Read more at http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-california-voter-database-online-20160301-story.html
2  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Gallup: secular trend in U.S. religious affiliation is slowly continuing on: January 31, 2016, 09:44:15 pm

December 24, 2015

PRINCETON, N.J. -- On the eve of Christmas 2015, a review of over 174,000 interviews conducted in 2015 shows that three-quarters of American adults identify with a Christian religion, little changed from 2014, but down from 80% eight years ago. About 5% of Americans identify with a non-Christian religion, while 20% have no formal religious identification, which is up five percentage points since 2008.


The downtick in the percentage of the U.S. population identifying as Christian over the past eight years is a continuation of a trend that has been evident for decades. In Gallup surveys in the 1950s, over 90% of the adult population identified as Christian, with only a small percentage claiming no religious identification at all or identifying with a non-Christian religion.

3  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Kentucky: outgoing Governor Beshear restores voting rights to 100,000+ ex-felons on: November 24, 2015, 05:29:02 pm
Nov. 24, 2015

Weeks before he leaves office, the governor of Kentucky on Tuesday issued an executive order that will immediately grant the right to vote to about 140,000 nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences.

The order by Gov. Steven L. Beshear, a Democrat, was cheered by advocates for criminal justice reform and civil rights, who said it would place Kentucky’s policy more in line with others across the nation and was consistent with a trend toward easing voting restrictions on former inmates.

Kentucky had been one of just three states imposing a lifetime voting ban on felons unless they received a special exemption from the governor. Florida and Iowa still carry the lifetime ban.

In Kentucky, about 140,000 people will immediately become eligible to register for voting, and an additional 30,000 who are in prison or on probation for nonviolent offenses will gain the right over the coming years, according to estimates by the Brennan Center.

Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/25/us/kentucky-governor-restores-voting-rights-to-thousands-of-felons.html
4  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Local ballot initiatives on: November 05, 2015, 03:55:49 am
A bunch of measures permitting the local government to build municipal Internet infrastructure and potentially provide Internet service passed in Colorado: http://www.muninetworks.org/content/voters-quiet-drums-polls-colorado

November 04, 2015

The "constant drumbeat" of complaints about poor connectivity pounding from Colorado communities ended with a climactic crash at the polls on Tuesday. Referenda in 43 communities - 26 cities and towns; 17 counties - all passed overwhelmingly to reclaim local telecommunications authority.

The landslide victory was no surprise. Last year, nine communities asked voters the same issue of whether or not they wanted the ability to make local telecommunications decisions. That right was taken away 10 years ago by SB 152. Two other communities took up the question earlier this year with 75 percent and 92 percent of voters supporting local telecommunications authority.


SB 152 first passed through the state legislature in 2005 after heavy lobbying from Comcast and CenturyLink. Legislators and lobbyists backing the law argued its intent was taxpayer protection but the past 10 years have proved otherwise. The real motivation behind the bill was to protect incumbent de facto monopolies and prevent potential competition by municipal networks.
5  General Politics / Individual Politics / Opinion of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on: September 12, 2015, 05:05:55 am
Now that they're officially coming to an end this year, what are your thoughts on the 2000-2015 program?

This article briefly outlines some of the final MDG figures while the final UN report (PDF) has the comprehensive details.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: California state legislature passes automatic voter registration on: September 12, 2015, 04:18:19 am
Oh wow, I missed this other relevant bill; it turns out they went after those low-turnout off-year elections too.


August 18, 2015

State Senator Ben Hueso, a Democrat from the San Diego region, announced this week that Senate Bill 415, a measure that will dramatically increase voter turnout in local elections, passed the State Senate on a 26-12 vote and is now headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature.   Local governments with voter turnout 25% less than the average turnout in that city will be required to consolidate their elections with state elections.


The bill was introduced after some cities in California held elections with single digits, including a Los Angeles election with just 8% voter turnout.

Studies have consistently shown that elections that are not consolidated with statewide and federal elections have significantly lower voter turnout.  A 2001 study by the Public Policy Institute of California found that, on average, voter turnout in off cycle municipal elections was 25 to 36% lower than elections held during statewide races.  In fact, the institute estimated that California could have drawn 1.7 million more voters in municipal elections, roughly a 31% increase in total voter participation.

SB 415 applies to local governments with elections that had a 25% decrease in voter turnout in the last four statewide races.  It requires local governments to consolidate the elections starting 2022.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: California state legislature passes automatic voter registration on: September 12, 2015, 02:46:48 am
The California legislature has been an extra FF group lately.

Yup, definitely putting other big Democratic states like New York to shame: http://www.timesheraldonline.com/general-news/20150912/california-legislature-right-to-die-climate-change-bills-sent-to-governor

September 11, 2015

SACRAMENTO -- After months of emotionally wrenching debate, state lawmakers on Friday sent a landmark bill to Gov. Jerry Brown that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill Californians who request them.


The bill was among dozens of measures voted on Friday during the final day of the 2015 legislative session. Other measures that lawmakers sent to the governor dealt with global warming, the drought and voter registration.

SB350, the landmark climate change bill sought by Gov. Jerry Brown, passed the Assembly on a 51-26 vote, two days after the governor and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Len, D-Los Angeles, removed a key provision that would have required California to cut oil use in half by 2030.


The bill [SB350] gives California some of the most far-reaching renewable-energy rules in the country. It requires utilities like PG&E to provide 50 percent of their electricity from solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources by 2030 -- up from the 33 percent by 2020 required under current law.

In addition to the "right to die" measure -- the subject of hearings and floor debates that brought legislators to tears -- the Legislature passed a bill to remove loopholes in California's vaccine laws. It ended the "personal belief exemption" and required nearly all children to be vaccinated to attend school. Hundreds of parents who opposed the legislation, SB277, by Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, swarmed the Capitol, holding rallies each day the bill came up for votes in hopes of persuading lawmakers to vote against it because they said it violates their parental rights.

In the end, Brown signed the bill, saying "the science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases."
8  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Senate Bill 350 (Californian attempt to cut emissions from vehicles) on: September 12, 2015, 12:41:07 am
The bill isn't defeated I don't think, but the gasoline reduction part is.

Yeah, it's probably about to pass minus the oil reduction provision: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-climate-vote-assembly-pc-20150911-story.html

September 11, 2015

Stripped of a contentious provision to slash gasoline use in half, a high-profile bill to combat climate change cleared a major hurdle on the California Assembly floor Friday.


The bill by Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) would require the state to get 50% of its electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030. It also would double the energy efficiency in buildings in the next 15 years.

But the most controversial part of the measure -- a requirement to cut petroleum use in California by 50% -- was dropped earlier this week, in the face of stiff opposition from the oil industry and resistance from a sizable bloc of Assembly Democrats, who voiced concerns about economic effects and expansion of executive power.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / California state legislature passes automatic voter registration on: September 12, 2015, 12:28:15 am

September 11, 2015

California lawmakers on Friday approved a bill that would automatically register to vote any eligible Californian who gets a driver's license or state identification card -- unless the person opts out.

The measure was prompted by the 42% turnout in the November [2014] election, as well as the turnout for the March election in Los Angeles, in which only about 10% of eligible voters went to the polls.

Nearly 7 million Californians, mostly young people, are eligible, but not registered, to vote. In an effort to boost the number, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced a bill modeled on a new law in Oregon to get more people to the polls.

The measure now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for his consideration.

Interestingly, the NJ legislature did the same but Christie is likely to veto: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/09/chris-christie-new-jersey_n_7761708.html
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Clinton Calls For Automatic, Universal Voter Registration on: June 04, 2015, 06:54:57 pm
A great idea. Reporting turnout based on registered voters instead of eligible voters has long been a way to obscure the percentage not voting: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/05/06/proof-that-voter-turnout-in-the-u-s-is-embarrassing/

11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: VT-Gov: Scott considering on: June 04, 2015, 06:01:22 pm
Relevant to turnout: Vermont just passed same-day voter registration although it looks like it won't go into effect until after the 2016 elections.


Jun 2, 2015

With the stroke of the governor’s pen on Monday, Vermont became the 14th state to allow same-day voter registration. Proponents say the measure will help improve low turnout rates in Vermont elections. Critics though say it could make it easier to sabotage the democratic process.

Shumlin signed the legislation at a City Hall ceremony in Montpelier. He lamented woeful turnout in the last election cycle, when fewer than 45 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

“The numbers all show that with same day voter registration, voter participation goes up from anywhere between 7 and 14 percent,” Shumlin said.

The new law applies to all elections, including ones held on Town Meeting Day, and it won’t go into effect until after the 2016 presidential elections.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: OR: Gov. Brown signs automatic voter registration bill on: March 16, 2015, 11:56:24 pm
What happened to Kitzhaber?

He resigned last month amid all the issues with his fiancee's consulting work. Oregon has no lieutenant-governor so the Secretary of State (Kate Brown) was in line to become governor. A special election will be held in Nov 2016 for the remainder of the gubernatorial term elected in 2014.

Brown appointed her replacement this month with the appointee already announcing they don't plan to run for reelection in 2016. There's also some talk of other Democratic officials considering running for Governor so the primaries might be interesting.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: OR: Gov. Brown signs automatic voter registration bill on: March 16, 2015, 11:06:55 pm

They should permanently switch Oregon from the mid-term cycle to the presidential cycle while they're at it; the other statewide offices (SoS, Treasurer, AG) already are. Next year's special gubernatorial election is probably going to have ~30% more votes than 2014's.
14  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / California v. New York; which state would you rather live in? on: March 14, 2015, 12:37:04 pm
15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cannabis '15: The Long Wait Until 2016 on: March 14, 2015, 12:21:01 pm
Nevada's legalization initiative is officially on the ballot next year: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2015/03/14/first-marijuana-legalization-ballot-measure-set-for-2016-advocates-say/

March 14, 2015

Hoping to build on consecutive electoral victories, advocates say they have secured the first state marijuana legalization ballot measure for 2016.

Nevada state lawmakers had until Saturday to take action on the ballot measure, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use, but adjourned on Friday without voting on it, the Marijuana Policy Project notes in a statement. As a result, the initiative, for which the group collected nearly twice the necessary signatures, is destined for the 2016 ballot, they say.

The group was behind the successful legalization ballot measures in Colorado in 2012 and Alaska in 2014. Other groups helped successfully pass legalization in Washington in 2012 and Oregon in 2014. Those four state laws were approved by voters, but MPP is now targeting both ballots and legislatures to spread similar measures.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Los Angeles votes to move its election dates to even-numbered years on: March 08, 2015, 09:39:04 pm
Good find, thanks!

Touted as a way to increase voter turnout, the measures align Los Angeles City Council elections with presidential elections beginning in 2020 and mayoral and citywide elections with gubernatorial elections starting in 2022.
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Los Angeles votes to move its election dates to even-numbered years on: March 08, 2015, 09:29:11 pm
March 3, 2015

Los Angeles voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved two measures to change city election dates.

Voters will now cast ballots in mayoral, council district, and school board races in even-numbered years, rather than odd-numbered years. The change consolidates city elections with federal and state elections.

Amid dwindling voter participation in Los Angeles city elections, the Los Angeles City Council voted last year to put Charter Amendments 1 and 2 before voters. Turnout was just 23 percent in the 2013 Los Angeles mayoral election, which led City Council President Herb Wesson and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to form a special committee to look at boosting political engagement.

Read more at http://www.dailynews.com/government-and-politics/20150303/election-2015-voters-back-measures-to-change-los-angeles-election-dates

A lot of the articles aren't clear on when but I think the new dates coincide with the presidential cycle rather than the mid-term cycle: http://www.latimes.com/local/cityhall/la-me-city-voting-20150116-story.html

Charter Amendments 1 and 2 would consolidate city and school board contests with state and federal elections starting in 2020.

Recent studies have shown that declining turnout is a problem not only in Los Angeles but across the country. Turnout for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's election in 2013 was a record low 24%. In one study of California city elections by researchers at UC Berkeley, average turnout was 26% in odd-numbered years.

Anzia said 88% of states still hold some or all of their municipal elections, and 77% of school board elections, in off-cycle years, a vestige of the Progressive reform movement of the early 20th century.
18  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Chocolate poll on: March 05, 2015, 07:09:49 pm


White chocolate is not chocolate in the strict sense as it does not contain cocoa solids, the primary nutritional constituent of chocolate liquor.[1]

Eh, interesting... Well, it tastes closer to milk than dark to me. Voted milk in the poll; dark is too bitter.
19  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Chocolate poll on: March 05, 2015, 06:53:52 pm
Isn't white chocolate milk chocolate?
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Oregon legislature passes automatic voter registration on: March 05, 2015, 04:23:10 pm
It officially passed; the state senate just voted 17-13 to approve the bill.


March 05, 2015

A sweeping voter registration bill that could add another 300,000 to Oregon's voting rolls won final passage in the Oregon Senate on Thursday on a 17-13 vote and heads to Gov. Kate Brown for her promised signature.

The so-called "New Motor Voter Bill" was promoted by Brown when she was secretary of state as a way to remove many of the barriers to voting, particularly for younger and poorer Oregonians who tend to move more often.

Republicans, however, charged that using drivers' license data to automatically register voters raised worries about ID theft and undermined the privacy of Oregonians. House Bill 2177 passed both chambers without a single Republican vote. The only Democrat to vote no was Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose, who had cast the deciding vote against a similar measure that died in the 2013 session.
21  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

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.

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

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.
23  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / What is your favorite climate to live in? on: February 20, 2015, 08:29:51 pm
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Oregon legislature passes automatic voter registration on: February 20, 2015, 06:03:53 pm
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.

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


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.
25  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.
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