State of Elections

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Tag: voting (page 2 of 2)

Shades of Grey: Virginia’s Ongoing Struggle to Ensure Proportionate Minority Representation

By: Hannah Thomson

As of 2014, African Americans made up just under 20% of Virginia’s total population. Yet, of the eleven congressmen and women elected from Virginia, incumbent Bobby Scott is currently the only African American representing the state, and only the second to be elected in the state’s entire history. This means that, while amounting to almost 20% of the total population, only 9% of Virginia’s seats in the House of Representatives are held by African Americans. Statistics improve slightly when looking at Virginia’s General Assembly. Of the one hundred members of the House of Delegates, thirteen representatives are African American (13%); of Virginia’s forty senators, five are African American (12.5%). Ultimately, a total 12.8% of the Virginia’s legislators are African American, falling about 6% below the total African American population in the state.

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Voter Registration Series, Article 1: Mississippi

By: Caiti Anderson

The ability to vote is a powerful tool to ensure one’s voice is heard among the clamor of democracy.  However, this right has remained elusive to many throughout American history.  The long, hard slog to create a “more perfect union” comprises the battle for inclusivity in the American political process.  Over the next few weeks, this series will study the history of voter registration through the comparative analysis of the history of voter registration in different states and the growing movement towards automatic voter registration.  Today’s article will examine Mississippi and the ongoing journey towards fair voter registration laws in that state.

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“Remember the Ladies”

By: Caiti Anderson

Suff.On March 31, 1776, Abagail Adams wrote her now infamous “Remember the Ladies” letter to her husband, John Adams.  Abigail urged John to, “…Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable [sic] to them than your ancestors…. If perticuliar [sic] care and attention is not paid to the Laidies [sic] we are determined to foment a Rebelion [sic], and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”  Abigail’s letter predicted the onset of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States by more than seventy years.  However, the full realization of this dream was not achieved until August 26, 1920, one-hundred and forty-four years after Abigail’s entreating words.  In celebration of the ninety-fifth anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, today’s post will focus on the history surrounding women’s battle for the right to vote. Continue reading

A Balancing Act: Maryland’s Online Ballot Marking Tool – An Improvement for Disabled Voters or a Threat to Election Integrity?

By Caitlin Whalan

On Election Day, a voter arrives at her designated polling place, the elementary school located a few miles from her home. Her husband helps her from the car and escorts her in, where there are lines of people anxiously waiting to cast their vote. Upon her arrival, she requests a voting machine with non-visual access. After waiting an hour and a half, a voting machine with non-visual access is finally available, and it is now her turn to vote. She slowly makes her way to the voting machine, using her cane to guide her. Once she is in front of the voting machine, the audio prompts begin, but the words get lost in the background noise, ricocheting from the bare gymnasium floor. She strains to hear the audio prompts emanating from the voting machine. She calls out for a poll worker to help replay the audio prompts. The poll worker comes over to her, but the poll worker is not well trained in accessibility features of the voting machine. After a few tries, he is able to replay the audio prompts, but cannot make them any louder. This time, she concentrates harder, trying to grasp every word of the audio prompt. Still, the noises of gymnasium roar like a freight train in the background. After another strained attempt, she finally completes her ballot, but leaves the gymnasium frustrated and unsure if she cast her vote the way she intended. Continue reading

Hurricane Sandy: A Catalyst to Ingenuity and Accommodation in Voting

by Aaron C. Carter

With an estimated cost in the neighborhood of $50 billion dollars in damage, Hurricane Sandy ravaged much of the tri-state area causing catastrophic damage.  New Jersey got the worst of the violent storm and its damning effects. Flooding, fires, power outages and gas shortages have changed life considerably for many residents in the Garden State.   Routine activities are no longer routine.  Elected officials and residents have been forced to rethink various aspects of everyday life.  With Election Day fast approaching in the wake of a tragedy of titanic proportion, the time for accommodation and ingenuity arrived by necessity.  Races for New Jersey’s 14 electoral votes, 13 congressional seats, a senate seat and local elections, forced flexibility and adaptation to make sure residents are able to vote and have their voices heard. Continue reading

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