democracy, Elections, politics, Social Problems, Wisconsin

Inside Wisconsin’s Election Mess: Thousands of Missing or Nullified Ballots As Wisconsin scrambled to expand voting by mail for its election on Tuesday, many absentee voters said their ballots went undelivered.

By Nick Corasaniti and Stephanie Saul April 9, 2020

Three tubs of absentee ballots that never reached voters were discovered in a postal center outside Milwaukee. At least 9,000 absentee ballots requested by voters were never sent, and others recorded as sent were never received. Even when voters did return their completed ballots in the mail, thousands were postmarked too late to count — or not at all.

Cracks in Wisconsin’s vote-by-mail operation are now emerging after the state’s scramble to expand that effort on the fly for voters who feared going to the polls in Tuesday’s elections. The takeaways — that the election network and the Postal Service were pushed to the brink of their capabilities, and that mistakes were clearly made — are instructive for other states if they choose to broaden vote-by-mail methods without sufficient time, money and planning.

More than 860,000 completed absentee ballots had been returned by Tuesday, already a record for Wisconsin spring elections. But for thousands of other voters, who never received their ballots, there was only one recourse: putting their health at risk and defying a stay-at-home order to vote in person during the coronavirus pandemic. Many chose not to show up.

Federal health officials have suggested that expanding voting by mail could help reduce crowds at polling places and therefore make elections safer amid the outbreak. The issues that have arisen in Wisconsin offer a warning for other states of the potential pitfalls of a rapid, last-minute expansion of absentee balloting, particularly one marred by a flurry of court challenges and 11th-hour rulings that created confusion and chaos.

Link
democracy, Elections, Social Problems, Wisconsin

Why Republicans Are So Afraid of Vote-by-Mail?

Public health officials recommend absentee ballots to keep people safe. But President Trump and his party, without evidence, portray expanded voting measures as ripe for fraud.

By Jim Rutenberg, Maggie Haberman and Nick Corasaniti April 8, 2020

President Trump and his Republican allies are launching an aggressive strategy to fight what many of the administration’s own health officials view as one of the most effective ways to make voting safer amid the deadly spread of Covid-19: the expanded use of mail-in ballots. The scene Tuesday of Wisconsinites in masks and gloves gathering in long lines to vote, after Republicans sued to defeat extended, mail-in ballot deadlines, did not deter the president and top officials in his party. Republican leaders said they were pushing ahead to fight state-level statutes that could expand absentee balloting in Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona and elsewhere. In New Mexico, Republicans are battling an effort to go to a mail-in-only primary, and they vowed on Wednesday to fight a new move to expand postal balloting in Minnesota.

Link
Campaign Financing, politics, Social Problems

Opinion: More Money, More Problems for Democracy. Countering private campaign funding with public campaign funding is the most viable way to limit the political influence of the wealthy. By The Editorial Board. The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom. Feb. 1, 2020

Link
Media, politics, Technology

Facebook creates Orwellian headache as news is labelled politics. by Emily Bell Archive of political content becomes battleground between publishers and platforms. Sun 24 Jun 2018. Facebook logo reflected in a person’s eye Should companies such as Facebook just rely far more heavily on human judgment or should they leave it to algorithms? George Orwell wrote in his essay Politics and the English Language: “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues.” When Facebook constructed a new archive of political advertising, had it thought a little more about this concept of what is “political”, it might have more accurately anticipated the subsequent Orwellian headache. As it is, journalists are finding their articles restricted from promotion because they are lumped in with campaigning materials from politicians, lobby groups and advocacy organisations.

Link