by Frederick H. Lowe
African-American voters played a key role in President Barack Obama’s re-election by voting in higher numbers than they did four years earlier, according to Dr. David Bositis, senior research associate for the Joint Center for Political and Education Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank for black elected officials.
“They were absolutely crucial to President Obama in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia,” Bositis said on Wednesday at a discussion in Washington, D.C.
In Michigan, black voters comprised 16 percent of the total number of voters, which was up from a 12 percent share in 2008, when President Obama first ran for the White House. In Ohio, black voters comprised 15 percent of all of the state’s voters, up from 11 percent in 2008.
“Black voters provided Obama with the margin of victory in Ohio,” Bositis said. “Ninety-seven percent of black voters voted for Obama. It was impressive.”
In Virginia, African Americans comprised 20 percent of state’s vote, and 93 percent of blacks voted for the president, Bositis said.
In North Carolina and Florida, the turnout among black voters was the same as in 2008, which was 23 percent and 13 percent respectively. But the overall voter turnout in both states was higher in 2012 than it was in 2008, Bositis explained.
“I would remind you that we witnessed a large increase in the overall turnout, and the only way blacks’ share of the vote stayed the same was to increase their turnout,” he said.
President Obama won all of the swing states, capturing 306 Electoral College votes to Republican Mitt Romney’s 206 Electoral College votes.
Bositis noted that the 2012 presidential election will be the last campaign in which a major political party will be elected by appealing only to the non-Hispanic white vote.
“2012 was a clear showing that this is multi-racial, multi-ethnic country and that for a political party or a political movement to become successful, they are going to have to appeal to a much broader swath than non-Hispanic whites,” Bositis said.
President Obama lost the overall white vote to Romney, 59 percent to 39 percent.
“If this would have occurred years ago, it would have been catastrophic,” said Bositis, adding that President Obama still won the popular vote by 2 percentage points.
Bositis added that the non-Hispanic white vote declined from 2004 to 2012, while the African American, Hispanic and Asian vote increased.
At the same time, non-Hispanic whites are older on average than other racial/ethnic groups. The median age for non-Hispanic whites is 42 years, compared with a median age of 33 for African Americans and 25 for Hispanics.
Although President Obama lost the overall white vote, he won the majority of the white vote in all six New England states. The president also defeated Romney in Massachusetts, where he lives. Besides Massachusetts, the New England States are: Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
“He won the white vote in Vermont and Maine. He didn’t win Vermont and Maine with a majority of the black vote,” said Bositis, pointing out that the two states have very small black populations. Although President Obama won the majority white vote in eight states this year, he won a majority white vote in 16 states in 2008.
In Alabama and Mississippi, the president received a very small share of the white vote: 15 percent in Alabama and 10 percent in Mississippi.
“There are places where race is much more of a problem,” Bositis said.
Lines were long in Point Pleasant, N.J., where residents from the Jersey Shore communities of Point Pleasant Beach and Mantoloking had to cast their ballots due to damage in their hometowns.
Many there still have no power eight days after Sandy pummeled the shore.
“Oh my God, I have been so anxious about being able to vote,” said Annette DeBona of Point Pleasant Beach. “It’s such a relief to be able to do it. This is the happiest vote I ever cast in my life.”
The 73-year-old restaurant worker was so worried about not being able to vote that she called the police department several days in advance, as well as her church, to make absolutely sure she knew where to go and when. She was one of the first to cast a ballot in her neighboring town, choosing Mitt Romney.
“I truly believe Romney is an honest, caring man,” she said. “He will lift us out of our spiritual and mental depression and help us believe again.”
Renee Kearney of Point Pleasant Beach said she felt additional responsibility to cast a ballot this Election Day.
“It feels extra important today because you have the opportunity to influence the state of things right now, which is a disaster,” the 41-year-old project manager for an information technology company said.
She had planned all along to vote for Obama, but said her resolve was strengthened by his response to Superstorm Sandy.
“I was extremely impressed by his response to the storm,” she said. “For people who were not so certain about him, I think this may have sealed the deal.”
Authorities in New York and New Jersey were set to drive some displaced voters to their polling sites and direct others to cast ballots elsewhere as residents insisted the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy wouldn’t stop them from participating in Tuesday’s election.
“Nothing is more important than voting. What is the connection between voting and this?” said Alex Shamis, a resident of hard-hit Staten Island, gesturing to his mud-filled home.
The efforts put a premium on creativity. At a public school in Staten Island’s Midland Beach, flares were set up at an entrance to provide light, and voting machines were retrieved from inside the school and moved into tents where voters braved 29-degree temperatures as they lined up.
Voters arriving at another Staten Island school found no official signage referring them to a new polling place, but those who arrived on foot were taken to the correct location by a shuttle bus, officials said. A hand-written sign eventually was placed at the school’s driveway.
Election officials in both states were guardedly optimistic that power would be restored and most polling places would be open in all but the worst-hit areas. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Monday, allowing residents to cast a so-called affidavit, or provisional ballot, at any polling place in the state for president and statewide office holders, an opportunity New Jersey was extending to voters as well.
“Compared to what we have had to deal with in the past week, this will be a walk in the park when it comes to voting,” Cuomo said.
Provisional ballots are counted after elected officials confirm a voter’s eligibility.
Authorities were also sensitive to concerns about potential disenfranchisement and were taking steps to ensure voters were kept informed of continued problems or changes to their voting locations.
Ernie Landante, a spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Elections, said fewer than 100 polling places around the state were without power compared with 800 just days ago and said the state has abandoned its earlier plan to use military trucks as makeshift polling places. Most voters will be able to cast ballots at their regular polling sites, he said.
Landante also said the state had taken extra steps to make sure people displaced by Sandy’s destruction would be able to vote, like allowing “authorized messengers” to pick up as many mail-in ballots as they request for people in shelters or away from their homes.
“We are doing everything we can in this extraordinary situation not to disenfranchise voters displaced by Sandy. Their voices and their votes will be heard no differently than anyone else’s,” Landante said.
But authorities abruptly switched gears on an additional directive that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie‘s office announced allowing displaced New Jersey residents to vote through e-mail and fax.
The directive allowed voters to request and file a ballot electronically. But under pressure from voting rights advocates, officials said those voters would have to submit a paper ballot along with the electronic filing – a rule the state’s military personnel and residents living overseas are required to follow as well. Initially, the state was going to waive the paper ballot requirement.
Some regions most affected by Sandy were seeking creative ways to help residents cast their ballot.
In Ocean County along the New Jersey coast, officials hired a converted camper to bring mail-in ballots to shelters in Toms River, Pemberton, and Burlington Township. Some 75 people in Toms River alone took advantage of the service Monday, officials said.
“It’s great. This is one less thing I have to think about,” said Josephine DeFeis, who fled her home in storm-devastated Seaside Heights and cast her ballot in the camper Monday.
In New York City, authorities planned to run shuttle buses every 15 minutes Tuesday in storm-slammed areas to bring voters to the polls.
Just 60 of the city’s 1,350 polling sites were unusable and residents who vote in those places would be directed elsewhere, Polanco said. He said if a voter relocated to another polling site didn’t show up on the list of people eligible to vote, he or she would be given a provisional ballot.
Staten Island resident Paul Hoppe said he probably wouldn’t vote. His home, a block from the beach, was uninhabitable, his family was displaced and their possessions were ruined.
`’We’ve got too many concerns that go beyond the national scene,” Hoppe said.
1. Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.
2. Began Drawdown of War in Afghanistan: From a peak of 101,000 troops in June 2011, U.S. forces are now down to 91,000, with 23,000 slated to leave by the end of summer 2012. According to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the combat mission there will be over by next year.
3. Eliminated Osama bin laden: In 2011, ordered special forces raid of secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed and a trove of al-Qaeda documents was discovered.
4. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry: In 2009, injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades. The government expects to lose $16 billion of its investment, less if the price of the GM stock it still owns increases.
5. Recapitalized Banks: In the midst of financial crisis, approved controversial Treasury Department plan to lure private capital into the country’s largest banks via “stress tests” of their balance sheets and a public-private fund to buy their “toxic” assets. Got banks back on their feet at essentially zero cost to the government.
6. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.
7. Toppled Moammar Gaddafi:In March 2011, joined a coalition of European and Arab governments in military action, including air power and naval blockade, against Gaddafi regime to defend Libyan civilians and support rebel troops. Gaddafi’s 42-year rule ended when the dictator was overthrown and killed by rebels on October 20, 2011. No American lives were lost.
8. Told Mubarak to Go: On February 1, 2011, publicly called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to accept reform or step down, thus weakening the dictator’s position and putting America on the right side of the Arab Spring. Mubarak ended 30-year rule when overthrown on February 11.
9. Reversed Bush Torture Policies: Two days after taking office, nullified Bush-era rulings that had allowed detainees in U.S. custody to undergo certain “enhanced” interrogation techniques considered inhumane under the Geneva Conventions. Also released the secret Bush legal rulings supporting the use of these techniques.
10. Improved America’s Image Abroad: With new policies, diplomacy, and rhetoric, reversed a sharp decline in world opinion toward the U.S. (and the corresponding loss of “soft power”) during the Bush years. From 2008 to 2011, favorable opinion toward the United States rose in 10 of 15 countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, with an average increase of 26 percent.
11. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending: As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decades-old practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over ten years, $36 billion of which will go to expanding Pell Grants to lower-income students.
12. Created Race to the Top: With funds from stimulus, started $4.35 billion program of competitive grants to encourage and reward states for education reform.
Article courtesy of the Daily Mail via The Rundown
While Barack Obama abandoned the campaign trail earlier this week and retreated to Washington to oversee the storm-relief effort (doubtless hoping to persuade wavering voters of his leadership qualities in the process), the man who could blow him out of office next Tuesday knew exactly where he needed to be.
For more than a month now, Mitt Romney has been virtually encamped in Ohio, the too-close-to-call ‘swing-state’ that history decrees he must win if he is to reach the White House. And it was there I found him – blue-check shirt open at the neck, sleeves rolled up ready for work – collecting donations for flood victims, in a high-school gym.
As part of his brilliantly calibrated autumn push that – together with Obama’s curiously disengaged and uninspiring performance on the stump – transformed the Republican challenger from no-hoper to narrow leader in the latest polls, Romney’s sense of place and timing was unerring.
In 2008, Obama won 43 percent of the white vote; this time just 37 percent support him, according to the latest polls, and pundits believe his re-election is in serious jeopardy unless he can increase that figure.
CNN political analyst L.Z. Granderson says: ‘What we’re beginning to see is that the Republicans are increasingly white, while the Democrats are losing the white people.’
Explaining this racial schism, Mark Anthony Neal, cultural and black studies professor at Duke University in North Carolina, says white voters have allowed Obama less time to turn the economy around than they would have given a white president.
In preparation for the November 6th Fall Presidential Election, the City of Milwaukee Election Commission is encouraging voters to confirm their polling places prior to Election Day.
“The redistricting process resulted in several polling place changes,” said Neil Albrecht, Executive Director of the Election Commission. “In addition, we had to change several sites to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities and to avoid overcrowding on Election Day.”
Recent changes to polling places involve the following City of Milwaukee wards:
· Voters in Wards 52 and 53, formerly voting at the Villard Square Building, will be voting at the former Villard Avenue Library building, 3310 W. Villard Ave.
· Voters in Ward 54, formerly voting at Rufus King Middle School (formerly Ronald McNair School), will be voting at Villard Avenue Library Building, 3310 W. Villard Ave.
· Voters in Ward 257, formerly voting at Pulaski Indoor Swimming Pool, will be voting at Lincoln Avenue School, 1817 W. Lincoln Ave.
· Voters in Wards 153 and 154, formerly voting at Milwaukee College Prep (formerly 38th Street School) will be voting at Washington High School, 2525 N. Sherman Blvd.
· Voters in Ward 152, formerly voting at Milwaukee College Prep (formerly 38th Street School) will be voting at Ralph Metcalfe School at 3400 W. North Ave.
· Voters in Ward 94 and 164, that were temporarily voting at Enderis Park will be returning to the Center Street Fieldhouse, 6420 W. Clark.
· Voters in wards 207 and 208, formerly voting at Juneau Complex School, will be temporarily moving (for this election only) to Fairview Evangelical Lutheran Church, 137 N. 66th Street.
Registered voters in each of these wards received postcard notifications of these changes from the Election Commission.
“When it comes to the election, we advise the public to be prepared,” said Albrecht. “That preparation starts with knowing your polling place.”
by U.S. Rep Gwen Moore
Voters have a clear choice on Nov. 6. We can choose to keep moving America and our communities forward by re-electing President Barack Obama.
Or we can chose to take America backwards to the failed policies that caused these problems in the first place.
In the US Senate race, voters can elect a strong and loyal ally of President Obama in Tammy Baldwin, or they can choose her opponent Tommy Thompson – who has promised to block and obstruct President Obama at every turn.
The choice is clear. Voters must re-elect President Barack Obama, and vote for Tammy Baldwin for US Senate, on Nov. 6 for the sake of our community and our country.
Barack Obama and Tammy Baldwin have already demonstrated they are a pretty good team. And they will continue to fight for good jobs, education, and investing in our community.
Barack Obama and Tammy Baldwin will always put the people ahead of powerful special interest.
Tommy Thompson? For the past seven years he has worked at a well-connected DC lobbying firm, representing big, powerful special interests like big oil, drug companies and big banks.
The contrast couldn’t be clearer. As former President Bill Clinton pointed out, Tammy Baldwin has spent her career standing up to the special interests, while Tommy Thompson has been standing with them.
Let’s keep moving America forward, and let’s elect leaders who will put the people ahead of profits for the powerful.
Re-elect President Barack Obama, and vote for Tammy Baldwin for US Senate on November 6th. Let’s keep this team together, so they can fight for us.
In Three Months, Intention to Vote Rises 9.9 points
Medford/Somerville, Mass.: More than two-third of voters under 30 say they are very likely to vote, and more than half of those say they’ll back President Barack Obama. Former Gov. Mitt Romney has 35 percent support in that age group, and nine percent are uncommitted, according to a recent survey of young voters.
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), Tufts University’s preeminent youth research organization, today released groundbreaking poll results on young people’s views of Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney and key policy issues. The poll, commissioned by the Youth Education Fund, is unique in that it polled 1,695 youth (ages 18-29) in June/July and 1,109 of the same youth between October 12 and 23. Surveying the same people twice provides powerful evidence of change over time.
With just 8 days until the election, the youth poll shows the following:
● The proportion saying they are extremely likely to vote has risen 9.9 points, from 44.7% to 54.6%. Two-thirds (67.3%) of young adults are “very” or “extremely” likely to vote, up 7.1 percentage points since June/July.
● The proportion who are paying attention to the election has also risen, from 56.1% to 71%.
● If the election were held today, Obama would win the youth vote by 52% to 35% among those registered voters who are “extremely likely to vote.”
“The conventional wisdom holds that youth enthusiasm is down compared to 2008,” said CIRCLE Director Peter Levine. “But intent to vote is rising fast. President Obama has a majority of likely young voters behind him, but a significant proportion are open to voting for Governor Romney, who has a clear opportunity to improve over John McCain’s record-low support in 2008.”
If the election were held today, Obama would win the youth vote by 52% to 35%. Support for Obama rose more than 7 points among likely voters: up from 44.4% in July. Support for Romney is down slightly from 36.9% to 35.1% among likely, registered voters (within the margin of error). The proportion open to voting for either candidate is 8.8%. Based on an average of national polls, about 5 percent of likely voters of all ages are considered undecided now. The slightly higher youth undecided rate is mainly due to the influence of first-time voters (those 18 to 21).
Obama continues to lead Romney on all aspects of leadership, from sincerity and experience to the likelihood that he will help the economy.
In both surveys, we asked young people to pick their top issue. The percentage of youth who chose “Jobs and the economy” rose and it remained the number-one issue, at 37.9%.
Young adults have now seen more information about politics posted on social network sites than they did in the summer. Although a slightly higher percentage of young people reported being contacted by at least one of the campaigns (12.6% in the summer and 15.1% in Mid-October), over four fifths of young people (84.9%) had not been contacted or were unsure if they were contacted. “Young people vote when they are asked to vote,” said Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan organization that mobilizes young people. “But the parties and national candidates still fail to reach most young adults.”
Alexandra Acker-Lyons, director of the Youth Engagement Fund, noted, “Young voters have been targeted in the last few weeks. But with young voters comprising one quarter of the electorate, the campaigns — having spent one billion dollars each — and the media remain focused on seniors and other sectors of the electorate. Politicians underestimate the youth vote at their own peril. Young voters have the power to decide this election.”
72.6% believe that, as a group, young people have the power to change things in this country. They say that appeals from parents (46.9%) and friends (41.6%, asking in person) have the most influence on making them more likely to vote.
For more data and analysis on this youth poll, please visit: http://www.civicyouth.org/?p=4579
MILWAUKEE — Every day is Election Day for the next two weeks in Wisconsin.
Early voting in the state kicked off Monday morning, and it will run through Friday, Nov. 2. After that, voters will have to wait until Election Day, Nov. 6, to go to the polls. Unlike several other states, Wisconsin doesn’t require voters to give any reason to turn in early absentee ballots, and both Republicans and Democrats will be working hard to turn out their troops over the next two weeks.
Approximately two dozen young supporters of President Barack Obama were very enthusiastic about voting early Monday — so much so that they camped out in front of the Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building in downtown Milwaukee on Sunday night in order to be first in line.
“As a volunteer for the campaign, I’ve done a lot of work here, and I just want to make sure I’m the first one to vote for Barack Obama,” said Nate Smith, 22, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “I’m really passionate about why it is I’m voting for him. I believe in everything he’s done as far as Pell Grants go. I need an education. As a twin, both of us are going to school at the same time, and it’s really hard for my parents to pay for college. So it’s really important for me to show him that I really care about his policies.”
There were at least five tents set up along the sidewalk outside the municipal building on Sunday night, along with some sleeping bags and cots that weren’t protected from the elements. There were plenty of hand warmers and snacks, as well as hula hoops, soccer balls, cornhole sets and board games to get them through the night. Despite the fact that it’s midterm week at UW-Milwaukee — with many students, including Smith, facing exams on Monday — there weren’t many study books around.
Smith was the first one in line on Monday morning, but the person who ended up turning in the first ballot in the entire city of Milwaukee was Katie Miller from Marquette University.
“I got to see them rip open the shrink wrap on the ballots, which was pretty cool,” said Miller.
Early voting in Milwaukee started at 8:30 a.m. About a half-hour before the doors opened, the several dozen people in line consisted mostly of the students and older African-American voters; they were predominantly Obama supporters.
For some, coming early was a matter of convenience. Carley Fleming, 63, said she had to attend a funeral later in the day and wanted to get voting out of the way. But, she said, she was also enthusiastic about supporting Obama’s reelection.
Betty Carter took the bus to vote on Monday morning, telling The Huffington Post, “I’m as serious about this as a heart attack.”
“I’m 79, honey. I’ve been living here a long time in the United States. I know what we’ve got at stake. I’m not crazy. I can’t even see nobody in another line where they’re going to cut women’s rights and take things away from us that we’ve had all the time,” she said. “I just don’t understand it.”
Carter said she was also troubled by the criticisms and disrespect thrown at Obama, believing it was mostly because of his race.
“Let’s be real about it. All that Obama’s done — when Romney comes in, he won’t have to do anything, because he’s white,” she said.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) and actress Ashley Judd both showed up for early voting in Milwaukee, decrying the attempts by Republicans in the state to restrict voting rights.
Voters didn’t have to show photo ID on Monday morning because courts have blocked the state’s Republican-pushed law that would have required photo ID at the polls. Unlike Election Day, when Wisconsin will have many polling places set up around the state, there is just one location in each municipality for early voting. Absentee ballots can also be requested via mail, email or fax.
Both Republican and Democratic campaigns were active in Wisconsin over the weekend, reminding their supporters to get out and vote early. On the GOP side, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rep. Paul Ryan’s wife, Janna, were going around the state. On the Democratic side, both first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden were in the state.
The benefit of people voting early is simple: Life happens, and the campaigns don’t want any unforeseen events stopping their supporters from making it to the polls on Election Day.
“You wake up on Election Day, you might have a cold, babysitter gets sick, it’s raining, the car broke down, I could go on — toilet overflowing,” said Michelle Obama in Wausau, Wis., on Friday. “There are so many ways to mess up a day when you don’t have a lot of time.”
WASHINGTON — A panel of three federal judges upheld a South Carolina law requiring voters to show photo identification, but delayed enforcement until next year, in a decision announced Wednesday, less than a month before this year’s presidential election.
In a unanimous ruling, the judges said there was no discriminatory intent behind the law, ruling that it would not diminish African-Americans‘ voting rights because people who face a “reasonable impediment” to getting an acceptable photo ID can still vote if they sign an affidavit.
The judge declined to let the law take effect immediately, “given the short time left before the 2012 elections and given the numerous steps necessary to properly implement the law … and ensure that the law would not have discriminatory” effects.
South Carolina voters who now lack the proper photo ID are disproportionately African-American, so proper and smooth functioning of the law “would be vital to avoid unlawfully racially discriminatory effects,” according to the decision, written by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “There is too much of a risk to African-American voters for us to roll the dice,” he said.
South Carolina is one of 16 states, mostly in the South, where election laws are subject to Justice Department approval under the federal Voting Rights Act because of a history of discrimination. South Carolina’s was the first law to be refused federal OK in nearly 20 years, which led state officials to challenge that decision in federal court.
The state’s Republican-controlled Legislature pushed the law through last year despite heavy opposition from African-American lawmakers. GOP Gov. Nikki Haley signed it last December.
Voter ID laws and other restrictions on voting became priority issues in mostly Republican legislatures and for governors after the 2008 elections. Opponents have described them as responses to the record turnouts of minorities and other Democratic-leaning constituencies that helped put Barack Obama, the first African-American president, in the White House.
Such laws have become a critical issue in this year’s election because of the tight presidential race between Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Supporters have pitched these laws as necessary to deter voter fraud, although very few cases of impersonation have been found.
Officials from South Carolina could not cite a single case of such fraud during the trial, but they said the law would help enhance public confidence in the election system and prevent other types of fraud.
South Carolina’s law requires voters to show a driver’s license or other photo identification issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles, or a passport, military photo identification or a voter registration card with a photo.
The other judges in the case were Colleen Kollar-Kotelly and John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court in Washington.
Kollar-Kotelly was appointed by President Bill Clinton. Bates and Kavanaugh were appointed by President George W. Bush.
The case number is 2012-203.