Conway Voters Approve Ballot Initiative To Overturn Citizens United

CC DBKING

Conway Is Applauded for Approving Ballot Initiative Calling for a Constitutional Amendment Opposing Corporate Money in Politics

With the passage of Warrant Article 33, Conway joins nearly than 500 local governments in calling for a constitutional amendment to end the corrosive influence of corporate money in politics and to restore constitutional rights to the people.  The resolution specifically calls on the U.S. Congress to pass an amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee.

“Yesterday in Conway warrant article 33 passed 704 – 520.  The article includes a requirement that the Conway Board of Selectmen write to our state and federal legislators informing them of the wishes of Conway voters.  You can read the article at http://www.wethepeople-mwv.org/Resolutions/YourResolution.html.  Citizens of Conway stood up for the Constitutional rights of real people, now it’s time for our state legislature to hear the voices of their constituent” said Joe Bagshaw, Conway voter.
Momentum is building nationwide for a constitutional response to the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy that has inundated elections since the court’s disastrous Citizens United decision. Since this ruling, 11 states and the District of Columbia have called for a constitutional amendment. More than 125 members of Congress and President Barack Obama have expressed support for an amendment.
A 2010 Peter Hart poll revealed that 68 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Independents and 87 percent of Democrats support an amendment. In 2012, an AP poll showed that 81 percent  of Republicans, 78 percent  of Independents and 85 percent of Democrats want to limit corporate, union and other outside spending.
New Hampshire has seen the devastating effects of the 2010 Citizens United decision.  For example, in the 2012 New Hampshire gubernatorial race, estimates show that outside groups spent $19 million (spending almost five times what the candidates spent). Meanwhile, outside spending in the 2012 federal elections was more than $1.25 billion.

 

On March 20, 2013 and with bipartisan support, New Hampshire’s House of Representatives passed a resolution by a 189-139 margin calling for a constitutional amendment. While passage in the House was a huge step in formalizing New Hampshire’s opposition to Citizens United, the Senate stands as the last obstacle preventing New Hampshire from joining the 11 states that have already called for an amendment to repeal Citizens United. This win in Conway sends a strong message to the Senate as well as Senate’s Majority Leader, Jeb Bradley, whose district includes Conway.
“Conway voters have reaffirmed what we have seen every time this issue has come to a vote, that people across party lines want a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United ruling, take democracy off the auction block, and preserve constitutional rights for people – not corporations,” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern of Public Citizen. “We encourage the New Hampshire Senate to follow the lead of Conway residents and the bipartisan vote in the House and pass House Concurrent Resolution 2 calling for an amendment.”

Voting Rights Groups Support Repeal Of Voter ID Law

vote

Voting rights groups including the League of Women Voters NH and America Votes spoke in support of HB 287, AN ACT eliminating voter identification requirements during a hearing at the House Election Law Committee yestreday

“The League of Women Voters strongly opposed adoption of the photo ID law and we oppose it, if possible, even more now that it’s been in effect for the primary elections and the Presidential election last November,” said Joan Flood Ashwell, Election Law Specialist for the League of Women Voters NH. “She added, ” The League of Women Voters urges the Legislature to repeal the photo ID law in its entirety. The law serves no legitimate purpose and it poses a real danger to the ability of citizens to exercise their most fundamental right – the right to vote.”

Jessica Clark, Political and Field Director for America Votes, said, ” Implementation and real cost of voter ID in 2012 was in reality much more than originally described. We do not know all of the additional costs and whether they came out of the general fund or the HAVA fund but we do know that during the 2013 organizational meeting of this committee Deputy Scanlan reported that 3500 staff hours were dedicated to implementation of voter ID.  That’s the equivalent of hiring two fulltime staff. The department also mailed 22,000 letters. We have yet to enter the phase of investigations but attorney staff time will be utilized further increasing the cost.”

Ron Geoffroy from the NH Alliance for Retired Americans was quoted in the NH Union Leader.

“Ron Geoffroy, senior executive vice president of the alliance, told the committee the repeal “would right a terrible wrong when it comes to New Hampshire seniors.”

He noted many elderly people give up their driver’s licenses and now have to find someone to drive them to the Division of Motor Vehicles to have a photo ID taken in order to vote.”  (Supporters, opponents voter ID repeal speak out at hearing)

From Kevin Landrigan at the Nashua Telegraph:

“Devon Chaffee executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, said some potential voters, particularly those who are elderly, the disabled or low-income citizens were still intimidated from voting.  “We don’t know how many voters may have stayed home or be chilled from the requirements,” Chaffee said. “What we do know is there was real confusion over the law.”

The truth is that Voter ID Laws are designed to make it hard for people to vote, and discourage voters from voting if they do no have a drivers license.   The Voter ID law has not really taken effect yet because during the last election you could not be turned away if you do not have a valid ID.  Even though there were reports that people were being told they needed an ID to vote.

There is no proof of Voter Fraud in NH.  The video that the NH GOP keeps referring to that proves we need Voter ID is actually a video of someone breaking the law and filming themselves doing it.  Now, James O’Keefe has not dared to set foot in NH because of the possible charges he would face.

We need to repeal the Voter ID law before more people are turned away from their Congressional right to vote.

Voter ID Impact on NH Taxpayers

get out and vote

When New Hampshire voters went to the polls this year they were asked to show an ID due to the new Voter photo ID bill. On September 1, 2013, that law changes and becomes more restrictive by limiting the list of ID’s that will be accepted in order to cast your vote. The law removes the ability to use most forms of photo ID including those issued by a state, county or municipal government, a valid student ID, an ID determined to be legitimate by local election officials, and simple identity verification by local town officials. Voters without acceptable ID’s will not only have to sign an affidavit but will be required to have a poll worker take their photo before being allowed to vote. The poll workers will then have to print a color copy of the photo in real time and affix it to the voter’s signed affidavit. Not only will the number of individuals who get caught up in the process increase but so will state expenditures to implement the changes.  How much more will this cost the state? Roughly a quarter million dollars was requested by the Secretary of State’s office for FY14 & FY15.

America was founded on the principle that we’re all created equal.  Inside the voting booth, all Americans have an equal and unencumbered voice in our democracy. But instead, some want you to believe it’s a privilege to vote and not a right and those people are willing to make it harder for some to cast their ballot. That’s the real reason why they want to limit the number of ID’s that are acceptable. They will try to convince you that voter impersonation is rampant in New Hampshire, but we know from thorough investigations that this just is not the case. There have only been three cases of voter fraud according to fraud reports issued by the SOS and AG’s office since 2006. The most recent case at the polls in NH was that of James O’Keefe, the conservative activist who was attempting to make a point that voter impersonation is possible, but fell short of proving anything about actual voter impersonation; instead all he proved was his unfamiliarity with New Hampshire voting law, landing himself in hot water. We all agree that protecting the integrity of our elections is vitally important—that’s why we already have strict laws and protections in place.

Proponents of Voter photo ID will also try to convince you that Voter ID laws are no big deal – that you need an ID to get on an airplane or buy a beer. The problem is that neither of those actions is enshrined in our Constitution – voting is. And contrary to their belief, not everyone does have an ID. Just this past election 5,424 people in New Hampshire didn’t have an ID to vote. That’s 5,424 people who might not  cast a vote next election year because they lack ID – no matter who they are, where they come from, what they look like and who they vote for, that’s 5,424 too many.

If those reasons alone don’t give you pause to think twice about the real implications of voter photo ID, then I hope the financial implications will. It is just too expensive to implement when there have only been three cases of voter fraud as reported by the Secretary of State’s office and the Attorney General in the last 8 years. More people get struck by lightning than impersonate another voter at the polls. Is a quarter of a million worth those odds? I think not.

Jess Clark
Political and Field Director
America Votes

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Voter Suppression Is Real!

Faez

If you think the elections are over then you would be wrong.  In New Hampshire they are currently holding numerous recounts throughout the state.  While the overall media opinion is that New Hampshire voting went smoothly.  There were a few issues with the new Voter ID law and long lines.

The biggest story comes from Merrimack. The entire town voted in one polling station.  Over 18,000 registered voters in Merrimack were force to go to the town high school to cast their ballot. This could be the largest polling station in the country. There were long lines at the polls but the traffic getting to the polls actually kept people from the polls.  The town has a significate traffic problem on a normal day now add in thousands of people trying to go to a school with only two entrance roads.  The town ended up keeping the polls open till after 8pm due to the traffic on the roads. It is unknown how many if any were turned away or neglected to go because the polls were supposed to be closed.

The good thing is that all 15,000 people who cast their ballot in Merrimack had their ballot counted.  This is not the case in some places.

In Maricopa Arizona thousands of people exercised their Constitutional Right to vote and yet their vote has still not been counted.  Listen to the dramatic story of this first time voter who was forced to file a ‘provisional’ ballot.

UNITE HERE has been on the ground in Arizona since the election season started.  They were working to turn out voters.  They registered 34,000 new voters like Faez.  Now the state is refusing to count their votes.

UNITE HERE and other community members are standing up for these voters.  Working to ensure that they get their voice heard this election.  They will be hosting a rally tomorrow at the Maricopa County Recorders Office.

Holding up our rights is paramount to what we in the labor movement have fighting for since the beginning.  Ensuring that our collective voice is heard is what labor is all about. Now we have to hold the government accountable to ensure that all voters get their voice heard too.  Our right to vote is guaranteed by the Constitution and nothing the Maricopa Country Recorder does will ever take that away.

Protect Your Right to Vote!

vote

New Website
www.NHVoterProtection.org

Educates Granite Staters of Voting Rights, Responsibilities
Website Launched to Protect NH Voters After Slew of Anti-Voter Legislation

Last session the New Hampshire Legislature passed laws that added new steps and confusion to the voting process in the Granite State.

To help counteract the negative effects of these changes, Granite State Progress Education Fund and New Hampshire Citizens Alliance have created a website dedicated to educating voters about the changes and ensuring Granite Staters exercise their right to vote.

The website, www.NHVoterProtection.org, contains a breakdown of the new laws that affect voting, and what to do if you are unfairly challenged at the polls.

 

 

Romney Ryan Campaign Turns NH Voters Away While Busing In Others From Out Of State

WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES

WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES

Being the “First in the Nation” primary state many people consider politics to be New Hampshire’s unofficial sport.  Granite Staters are well-informed when it comes to candidates. I myself like to listen to both sides before I make a decision on who I will vote for.  This is why New Hampshire has so many registered “Independent” voters.  However at a local Romney Ryan campaign stop New Hampshire voters were turned away in favor of busloads of Massachusetts residents.

Like many of the campaign stops in the Granite State, candidates like to give away tickets to the event.  They usually send you to their website to register, and hope you will also “support” their campaign at the same time.  This was no different for the Romney Ryan campaign.

The Republican Presidential campaign issued tickets online to New Hampshire voters, then sent an email late last night cancelling tickets for New Hampshire voters less than 12 hours before the event began. The following is a copy of an email received by one local voter around 11:00 pm last night:

From: “Eventbrite” <orders@eventbrite.com>
Date: August 19, 2012 11:14:59 PM EDT
To: [email]
Subject: Order CANCELED for Victory Town Hall with Mitt Romney Paul Ryan and the GOP Team
Reply-To: trupp@mittromney.com

The most appalling part of this email was that right now is that the cancellation message was that it appears that it was only sent to registered Democrats.  A well-known Occupy NH member, and registered undeclared voter, gained entry without problem.

 

Some Granite Staters had not seen the campaign email before departing for the event this morning, and were notified of the cancellation only after waiting in line and presenting their printed tickets at the event door around 8:00 a.m. Romney staff promptly escorted blackballed individuals offsite; meanwhile several buses bearing Massachusetts license plates were seen unloading passengers at the event location.

 

“I woke up this morning excited to participate in the Romney event, only to find that I had an email from the Romney staff rescinding my ticket,” said Mark King of Nashua. “I am disappointed that I couldn’t participate in the democratic process.”

 

So as Nashua resident Mark King was being escorted off the premises, busloads of Massachusetts residents filled the venue in Goffstown.  There are always accusations from the NH GOP that the NH Democratic Party are busing in people from Massachusetts.  “Republicans charge that we bring in folks from out-of-state, but today I saw Massachusetts plate after Massachusetts plate,” said Eva Castillo, a local Manchester volunteer and activist. “They couldn’t fill their rally with local people so they bused them in from out-of-state.”

 

At a time when people are screaming that our democratic process is broken, the Romney Ryan campaign turned away people who wanted to keep an open mind and hear what all of the candidates had to say. “I got a ticket for myself, my husband and my son,” said Eileen Lee of Goffstown. “I got an email this morning that cancelled my ticket. I was disappointed. I like to hear what both sides have to say. It’s not the election yet, and I would have liked to hear what Paul Ryan had to say. Isn’t this a town meeting forum?”

 

Isn’t the goal of an election to take voters away from your opponent in order to win the election.  New Hampshire is dubbed as a swing state because of the fact that it could go either way this November.  It is unfortunate to see that the Romney Ryan campaign is already playing partisan politics before they are even elected.  After this who will really believe that Romney and Ryan are really willing to sit down with the other side to discuss and work out the issues.  If this is any indication of how they will be as President (and VP) then we would be in for four years of “My Way Or The Highway” from President Romney.

 

NH Labor News 7/10/12: NH AFL-CIO Leaflet At Guinta’s Office Today, Prison Privatization, And More

The outsourcing of jobs has spread from manufacturing to services and other sectors of the economy, devastating working families and their communities. On Tuesday, July 10, Protect NH Families and our allies are taking action in support of legislation that will eliminate tax incentives for sending American jobs offshore. We’ll gather at noon at City Hall Plaza in Manchester, then walk over to Congressman Frank Guinta’s office and urge him to stand with Granite State working families by voting for legislation to keep American jobs in the U.S.

We’ll have plenty of rally signs and flyers to share – all you have to do is show up. And please bring a friend!

We hope to see you there!


Prison Consultant Deal Heads to Exec Council: “New Hampshire’s Executive Council will vote July 11 on a $171,347 contract with MGT of America to analyze proposals from four companies interested in taking over the state’s prisons and running them for profit.  You can read more about this at NHBusiness Review and at the blog InzaneTimes.  If you want to read the contract in its entirety, it is posted here.”


Is a Minimum Wage a Fair Wage?: “Sadly for the people of New Hampshire, the minimum hourly rate of pay is the lowest in all of New England. The per hour rate in New Hampshire is $7.25, which is the National minimum wage.

Want to earn more per hour? Just look to Vermont, where the rate is $8.46 or Connecticut where it is $8.25. Massachusetts’ minimum wage is $8.00, while in Maine it is only $7.50 – just twenty-five cents higher than New Hampshire’s rate.”


If board approves new contract, courts may not grant a special meeting: “BARTLETT — If the Bartlett School Board approves a new tentative contract with the teachers’ union Tuesday evening, it may still face a large hurdle getting that contract into law. The board would need to petition the New Hampshire Supreme Court for a special school meeting but would need to prove that there is an emergency need for such a meeting.
The Bartlett Education Association and the Bartlett School Board reached a tentative agreement on a new contract for the 2012-13 school year last week. The school board will hold a special meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the library at the Josiah Bartlett Elementary School, where the full board will be asked to vote on the contract. Should the board approve the contract, the board will then petition to the courts to hold a special school district meeting to bring another vote to the citizens.
“If the board votes to pass the contract then they would need to petition the court for a special meeting,” superintendent Carl Nelson said.”


Letter: Ham-fisted move | Concord Monitor: “To House Speaker Bill O’Brien: As a former New Hampshire State House reporter who points with pride to the nearly five years I spent in the Granite State, I am appalled by your exclusion of a reporter from a press conference.

This move is all the more astounding because you did it in the very week we celebrate the freedom this country won 236 years ago. This is good time for you to ponder the words of the founding fathers – who put freedom of the press first among our liberties to be protected – who said: “The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by a despotic government.””


Letter: Other reporters enabled a bully | Concord Monitor: “What if a tin-horn dictator gave a press conference and nobody came?

The Monitor reported: “House spokeswoman Shannon Bettencourt declined to discuss the situation and shut the door after the other reporters had gone into the speaker’s office.”

Bully (or “Bull”) O’Brien only got away with this because these “other reporters” let him get away with it; they enabled him.

The credibility of news journalists depends first and foremost on their being detached and neutral observers. When these “other reporters” accepted the speaker’s “closed invitation” and dutifully marched into his “closed” Kabuki dance, and then marched back out again in lockstep to report it as news, they willingly became part of that Kabuki dance, and neither neutral or detached.”


U.S. pushes for more scientists, but the jobs aren’t there – The Washington Post: ““There have been many predictions of [science] labor shortages and . . . robust job growth,” said Jim Austin, editor of the online magazine ScienceCareers. “And yet, it seems awfully hard for people to find a job. Anyone who goes into science expecting employers to clamor for their services will be deeply disappointed.”


Union members go Door-To-Door to sign up Arizona Residents to vote for the first time. Story By Tula Connell — AFL-CIO Now blog

Voters’ Rights—Center Stage in Arizona, Across the Nation: “GOING DOOR TO DOOR IN A PHOENIX NEIGHBORHOOD to register voters, Mari Yepez, a canvasser with UNITEHERE!, met a man who told her he didn’t believe in voting. Yepez, a student at Arizona State University who has worked with the union to mobilize residents around such issues as the state’s harsh immigration law and the struggle to find good jobs, shared with him how she had come to realize the importance of voting.”


Is Union Busting to Blame for Power Outages in D.C.? – Working In These Times: “Yesterday, 15,091 Washington, D.C.-area residents were without power for the sixth day in a row, according to utility company Pepco spokesman Marcus Beal. As D.C. residents face record heat waves, many are upset and attribute the lack of power to incompetence on Pepco’s end. However, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1900 members claim the failure to restore power outages is due to chronic understaffing and Pepco’s shift from hiring union utility workers to non-union temporary contractors.

“We have half the linemen we had 15 years ago,” says IBEW Local 1900 Business Agent Jim Griffin, whose union represents 1,150 Pepco workers. “We have been complaining for a very long time. They have relied for a long time on contractors. They are transients, they don’t know our system, and we typically have to go behind them to fix their mistakes. It’s very frustrating. We take ownership in our work, we make careers out of this.””


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