Progressive Champion Nina Turner will participate 2024 presidential election

Progressive Champion Nina Turner Loses Ohio Primary Race

primary races in Ohio, where J.D. Vance won the Republican Senate primary after getting the backing of Donald Trump, though he had attacked Trump years ago, even though his opponents had aired months of ads highlighting Vance’s anti-Trump statements of the past, including saying Trump could become America’s Hitler. Vance has since become an avid Trump supporter and praised the former president during his victory rally Tuesday night.

J.D. Vance is a venture capitalist and author, who was heavily supported by right-wing tech billionaire Peter Thiel and will face off against Democratic Congressmember Tim Ryan in November’s election to fill the seat currently held by Republican Senator Rob Portman. Vance’s wife clerked for Justice Kavanaugh.

In another closely watched race in Ohio, Democratic Congressmember Shontel Brown defeated progressive challenger Nina Turner, the former co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. Turner teased a 2024 presidential bid in her concession speech last night.

— source democracynow.org | May 04, 2022

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Facebook ‘Charged BJP Less’ Than Rivals

In a huge and unfair advantage to the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook promoted the party’s advertisements at 29% less price than the amount paid by its arch-rival Congress during 10 elections between February 2019 and November 2020 (22 months), allowing it to reach a wider audience than opposition parties.

Part three of a year-long investigation conducted by Kumar Sambhav of The Reporters’ Collective (TRC) and Nayantara Ranganathan of ad.watch, a research project that studies political ads on social media, and published by Al Jazeera has revealed that Facebook showed a BJP ad on average one million times but charged only Rs 41, 844 from the party, its candidates and affiliated organisations.

On the other hand, the report discovered that the social media giant charged the Congress, its candidates and affiliated organisations Rs 53,776 on average to show one ad for the same number of times.

— source newsclick.in | 16 Mar 2022

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Spike in Rejected Ballots Due to Sweeping New Voter Restrictions

Texas, where the first primary of the 2022 midterm elections kicked off Monday with early voting and a highly restrictive voting law in effect. On Monday, 30 civil rights groups sent a letter to the Texas secretary of state calling for stronger action to ensure voters have access to the ballot leading up to the March 1st primary.

Measures enacted by Republican lawmakers under the state’s Senate Bill 1 have already caused problems for Texas voters, with local election officials reportedly rejecting a high number of mail-in ballots that lack newly required ID information. Texas already has strict rules for voting by mail, but, under S.B. 1, voters must now include a state identification number, like a driver’s license number or a partial Social Security number, both when they request a mail-in ballot and when they return their completed ballot. The place to include the ID is underneath the envelope flap, and apparently it’s easy to miss. The new ID rules had already led to thousands of rejected ballot requests, and now officials say they’re facing high rates of faulty ballots. In Houston, Harris County, some 40% of the ballots, nearly four in 10, have been rejected due to a missing ID number. In Dallas, more than 25%, about 28%, more than a quarter, of the ballots have been rejected.

— source democracynow.org | Feb 15, 2022

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Aadhaar Link Threatens Sanctity of Electoral Rolls

Last year ended with a startling policy change as the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill was passed in both houses of Parliament. The Aadhaar database was linked with the Election Commission database to remove duplicates and fake entries from electoral rolls. Such a move can improve the sanctity of the electoral rolls and strengthen the functioning of democracy. But for it to do that, two prominent concerns need to be addressed first.

In a note for the Data Governance Network, in January 2021, we argued that linking the two databases has more negatives than positives. A year later, our key critique stands: we need to strengthen laws that protect the rights of individuals before passing this measure. Aadhaar has shown much promise but equally, it has been dangerous. Linkage should have been done after two conditions were met. Since the amendment has been passed, the government can reduce the fallout by addressing the following concerns.

First, India needs a data protection bill regulating the use and sharing of personal data between citizens and the government, and between government agencies. We lack a framework for safeguarding individual rights, which is worrying for multiple reasons. There have been examples of targeted surveillance using Aadhaar information and

— source thewire.in | Vibhav Mariwala, Prakhar Misra | 27/Jan/2022

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Slavery, Jim Crow segregation, refusal of women’s suffrage, all were bipartisan

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4991915/senator-warnock-calls-senate-rules-change-pass-voting-rights-legislation

Raphael G. Warnock

WITH MY CONSCIENCE. BEFORE WE LEFT WASHINGTON LAST WEEK, WE IN THIS CHAMBER MADE A CHANGE IN THE SENATE’S RULES IN ORDER TO PUSH FORWARD SOMETHING THAT ALL OF US THINK IS IMPORTANT. WE SET THE STAGE TO RAISE THE NATION’S DEBT CEILING, AND YET AS WE CAST THAT VOTE TO BEGIN ADDRESSING THE DEBT CEILING, THIS SAME CHAMBER IS ALLOWING THE CEILING OF OUR DEMOCRACY TO CRASH IN AROUND US. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE BEEN PUSHING FOR LEADERS IN WASHINGTON TO ADDRESS VOTING RIGHTS. EVERYWHERE I TURN I HAVE BEEN HEARING FROM MY CONSTITUENTS IN GEORGIA. THEY ARE DEEPLY WORRIED. I HEARD IT ALL WEEKEND. I’VE BEEN HEARING IT OVER THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS. AND I SUBMIT THAT THEY ARE WORRIED FOR GOOD REASON. THEY KNOW THEIR HISTORY. THEY ARE WITNESSING WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR DEMOCRACY IN REAL TIME. AND THEY SEE THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL. THEY SEE THE SWEEPING VOTER SUPPRESSION PROPOSALS IN 49 STATES, AND THE DOZENS OF NEW LAWS THAT HAVE NOW POPPED UP ACROSS THE NATION, FUELED BY THE BIG LIE THAT SEEKS TO DELEGITIMIZE THE VOICES OF MILLIONS OF GEORGIANS AND AMERICANS WHO MADE THEIR VOICES HEARD, MADE HISTORY, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY MADE A DIFFERENCE LAST NOVEMBER AND LAST JANUARY. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ARIZONA AND IN TEXAS AND IN FLORIDA AND IN WISCONSIN AND IN IOWA. AND THEY SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING IN GEORGIA, MY HOME STATE, WHERE A NEW LAW S.B. 202 PASSED RIGHT AFTER I WON, WILL MAKE IT HARDER FOR SOME VOTERS TO ACCESS THEIR BALLOTS BY MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT TO VOTE BY MAIL, ALLOWING FA

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Pass Voting Rights, Protect Poor

After missing a deadline on a key rule change to pass voting rights legislation before the federal Martin Luther King holiday Monday, Senate Democrats say this is the week they’ll push through changes so they can vote on the House-approved Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, which is a bill that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to use a procedural workaround and change the Senate rules to weaken the 60-vote threshold to pass the measure despite opposition from Republicans. But Senators Manchin and Sinema would have to end their objections to a filibuster carveout, which they indicated last week they would not. A vote on Senate rules could come as early as Wednesday.

this past Friday, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival announced that we were going to, regardless of what happened, have a mass poor people’s, low-wage workers’ assembly, moral march on Washington and to the polls on June 18th, 2022. We are launching a tour, actually, announcement tomorrow, regardless of what happens. We’re going to engage in mass action, direct action, nonviolent action, not just for a day but for a declaration, to declare that there must be a moral shift in this country, that there must be a change in power. As Dr. King said, the real problem that we’ve always had with these issues of voting is the fear of the aristocracy of the masses of poor and low-wealth people, Black and white, coming together to vote in a way that fundamentally shifts the economic architecture of the nation. In fact, in 1967, Dr. King said, “We must also realize

— source democracynow.org | Jan 18, 2022

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Should electoral ID data be linked to Aadhaar?

The issue of linking India’s voters’ list with the Aadhaar database is in news again with the surreptitious passage of The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in Parliament recently. The fact that it was passed hurriedly with hardly any discussion is enough to raise suspicion. But there is more to it, and part of that is contained in the history of this idea.

That history began March 3, 2015: The Election Commission of India (ECI) launched “a comprehensive programme” — the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) — “with the prime objective of bringing a totally error-free and authenticated electoral roll”.

One of the stated objectives of the NERPAP was linking EPIC (Electoral Photo Identity Card) data with the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) Aadhaar data with the laudable objective of authenticating the EPIC data.

The ECI took up this programme with a lot of enthusiasm. By August 2015, when the Supreme Court ordered a ban on this linking, 320 million voters had already been linked to their

— source downtoearth.org.in | Jagdeep S Chhokar | 15 Jan 2022

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History of Racism in America Amid Growing Attack on Voting Rights

I think this is one of the very interesting things. What you just read would likely be banned in any number of states that have, quote-unquote, “anti-CRT” laws. And this is the danger of trying to erase the facts of our history. We can’t look back and say, “Wait a minute, we’ve here before. We’ve been at this exact place before.” And if we don’t learn from what happened then, we are doomed to take the wrong path as we go forward.

The entire purpose of this film is to ask people to take a long hard look at our actual history of white supremacy and anti-Black racism. That is something that has been really erased from the common narrative and creation story about America. And this film and the Who We Are Project is intent on getting it back, getting it back for all of us.

And I had been a criminal defense lawyer for decades and working on issues of racial justice that entire time. And it got very, very personal. And I was scared, so I started to read. And I don’t really know what I was looking for, but I know what I found. And what I found were all kinds of facts about the history of white supremacy and anti-Black racism, the role that those two things played in the founding of our country and going

— source democracynow.org | Jan 14, 2022

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Resist linking Voter ID and Aadhaar!

The Election Commission of India has moved a proposal to the Law Ministry to link voter ID cards (and the “EPIC” database) with Aadhaar. This is a dangerous idea which can fundamentally alter the structure of our democracy.

Rethink Aadhaar joins almost 500 prominent individuals, including former civil servants, journalists, social activists, researchers and students to strongly oppose this proposal, and call on the Election Commission of India to withdraw its plans. The signatories to the statement include electoral reform group, Association for Democratic Reforms; civil rights groups from across the country such as the Peoples’ Union of Civil Liberties, MKSS, Adivasi Women’s Network, Chetna Andolan, and NAPM Jharkhand; and digital rights groups including Rethink Aadhaar, Article 21 Trust, the Internet Freedom Foundation, the Bachao Project, and the Free Software Movement of India.

Linking Voter ID and Aadhaar is an ill-thought, illogical, and unnecessary move which could undermine our electoral democracy, and impact voters’ trust in the electoral system. Indians’ right to vote cannot be imperilled by irresponsibly linking databases and using an opaque algorithm to “verify” identities. Technological solutions cannot replace responsible administration. Timely door-to-door verification of voters remains the most effective method of updating electoral rolls and ensuring accuracy of voter data.

The Election Commission has claimed that this will help clean up voter rolls, and that any linkage will be “voluntary”. As we noted in our earlier representation, and as the Constitutional Conduct Group has recently noted, we are deeply concerned that this will almost certainly lead to mass disenfranchisement, could increase voter fraud, given the mass discrepancies in the Aadhaar database, and could violate people’s right to privacy by enabling voter profiling through the linkage of data sets. This proposal would violate the judgment of the Supreme Court of India in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (retd.) & Anr. v. Union Of India (Aadhaar judgment) which limited the use of Aadhaar authentication solely to welfare programmes and to link with PAN numbers for the purposes of income tax. Any proposal to link the UID with Voter IDs must be rejected.

We are concerned about the following harms from such a proposal

First, Aadhaar is not proof of the right to vote. Aadhaar is not, and was never meant to serve as proof of citizenship, which is why Aadhaar numbers were issued to all residents and not citizens. Under the Representation of Peoples’ Act, only citizens who are resident in India have the right to vote. Linking the two is senseless, and would be without any basis – in addition to being a colossal waste of public funds. Deletion of voters based on whether their records in the EPIC database corresponds to Aadhaar records has no legal basis.

Second, such a proposal will almost certainly cause mass disenfranchisement. This is not the first time that the government has tried to link Voter ID and Aadhaar to “purify” the electoral rolls. In 2015, the Central government introduced the National Election Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP), and during the Aadhaar challenge, the Supreme Court passed an interim order on August 11th 2015, asking the ECI to suspend Aadhaar voter linkage. As this was never permitted by the Supreme Court in its final judgement and order, proceeding with this would be in violation of the Supreme Court’s judgement. Despite this, there was rampant misuse of Aadhaar data. In 2018, the chief electoral officer of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh linked Aadhaar data with voter identity cards. In 2018, during the Telangana Assembly Election, people found out that at least 55 lakh voters had been arbitrarily disenfranchised. It was only after public outrage around these arbitrarily deletions, that the government rolled this back.

Previous attempts to use Aadhaar to “clean-up” databases of other government registries, like MGNREGA and PDS, have resulted in mass disenfranchisement, and thousands of citizens have been arbitrarily deleted from systems without any notice. For example, a study from Jharkhand found that 90% of ration cards cancelled as “bogus” during Aadhaar linking were real. []–In 2018, even the CEO of UIDAI admitted that authentication failure for government services was as high as 12% – this translates into millions of affected persons. A recent J-PAL study in Jharkhand also found that Aadhaar based verification “either did not reduce errors of inclusion or leakage or did so at the cost of increased exclusion error”, with a high error rate of between 22% and 34% of reduced disbursals. Once lost, Aadhaar has been found to be almost impossible to retrieve; whereas for voter IDs there are simpler and more well defined ways to replace a misplaced voter ID card.

Third, such a proposal is more likely to increase voter fraud. Linking Aadhaar would dilute the sanctity of the Voter ID database. As we pointed out in 2019, self-reported errors in Aadhaar data are reportedly one-and-one-half times higher than errors in the electoral database. []–The assumption behind the proposal to link the two databases is that the authenticity of people’s records in the Aadhaar database will be used to determine the authenticity of a record in the Voter ID/ EPIC database. However, given widespread data quality issues in the Aadhaar database, this exercise would diminish the sanctity of records in the Voter ID database. Data quality issues in the Aadhaar database – a result of inadequate enrolment practices and lack of effective correction mechanisms – have been extensively documented – including fake entries and incorrect details. The UIDAI has itself admitted this, before various courts, and multiple Courts have refused to accept Aadhaar as proof of birth, or of identification. More recent research has also shown that Aadhaar-PAN linking has introduced fraudulent entries into the system.

Fourth, Biometric authentication for voting must not become a requirement. There are numerous reports of starvation deaths across states due to a lack of Aadhaar linkage, biometric failures, absence of adequate infrastructure and lack of adequate grievance redressal mechanisms in UIDAI’s implementation which has been painstakingly exposed by the Right to Food campaign. Fingerprints don’t work for many people, especially those who work with their hands and older persons, and facial authentication is inaccurate and error-prone. The UIDAI has sought to circumvent the inaccuracy and issues in biometric authentication through an ill-conceived “nominee system”, and OTPs in the case of welfare programs. How will this work in the case of voting? Will we have to send family members to vote instead, if our fingerprints don’t work? It’s also pertinent to mention that election booths are sometimes set up in remote locations, where voting has to be processed manually. Even EVMs are not connected to an internet connection, to prevent any kind of tampering. In such locations, how will biometric verification work in absence of the internet?

Fifth, linking these two databases would be an attack on the right to privacy, and scope for misuse. We have serious concerns that such a proposal would violate our constitutional and fundamental right to privacy, and the secrecy of the vote. India currently has no data protection law, and the current personal data protection bill has wide exceptions for the government. Any attempts to link Aadhaar to the voter IDs, would lead to demographic information which has been linked to Aadhaar, being linked to the voter database. This creates the possibilities for disenfranchisement based on identity, of increased surveillance, and targeted advertisements and commercial exploitation of private sensitive data. In 2019, the Cambridge Analytica scandal demonstrated the disastrous impact that deep and invasive voter profiling had on individuals and on democracies. We have seen this in India: most recently, the Madras HC has asked the Election Commission to look into allegations against the Bharatiya Janata Party that it was illegally using Aadhaar data of voters in Puducherry for making political gains in the Assembly elections. In 2019, an investigation revealed that data could have been taken from the UID database in order to delete voter names in Andhra Pradesh – names were taken from the voter lists. This could be particularly harmful against minorities – a 2018 report found that 20% of Muslim adults were missing from electoral lists in Karnataka. We have learnt from other countries how a single form of identification for voting, leads to greater disenfranchisement. In some cases, onerous identity requirements are used to block disenfranchised persons from voting.

Finally, we cannot trust the ECI’s promise of “voluntariness”. The ECI’s claim that this would be based on “voluntariness”. This is a grossly inadequate safeguard. We have seen how throughout the Aadhaar project “voluntary” on paper translates to a coercive mechanism in practice; and how this changes with time and in practice.

Any proposal to link the UID with Voter IDs must be rejected.

— source rethinkaadhaar.in | Sep 26, 2021

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