A+ R A-

News Wire

Obama is Re-elected to Second Term

E-mail Print PDF

By George E. Curry, NNPA Editor-in-Chief

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – After riding to victory in Ohio on the strength of his successful auto bailout plan and a come-from-behind victory in Virginia and possibly Florida, President Barack Obama was re-elected on Tuesday to a second term.

Obama was ahead of Republican challenger Mitt Romney Tuesday night by approximately 1 million votes in the general election, but is expected to win the Electoral College by a much larger margin when electors meet on Dec. 17 to officially determine who becomes the next president of the United States. Of the 538 electors, Obama needs only 270 to win. He is poised to collect approximately 322 votes in the Electoral College.

Although experts had predicted a long night before a victor would be declared, CNN announced Obama as the projected winner at 11:18 p.m., EST. With the outcome still unknown at the time in swing states Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and Nevada, the Buckeye state put Obama over the top.

Obama swept to victory on the strength of a progressive coalition of Blacks, Latinos, youth, unmarried women, Jews, union members and gay men and lesbians. He won about 40 percent of the White vote, down about 3 percent from 2008, and 69 percent of Latinos.

Speaking to cheering supporters in Chicago, Obama said: “While our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up. We have fought our way back. And we know in our hearts that, for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden carried most of the swing states, including: Michigan, Romney’s birthplace; Massachusetts, where Romney served as governor; New Hampshire, where Romney has a summer home; Wisconsin, the home state of Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, as well as Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Virginia.

Obama was leading Romney in Florida by about 45,000 votes, or 0.53 percentage points, as of early Wednesday morning. At that time, 99 percent of the state’s 8.27 million votes had been counted.

In a brief speech in Boston, Romney said, “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction. But the nation chose another leader. So Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.”

Democrats maintained their majority in the Senate and Republicans kept their grip on the House. In closely watched races, two Republicans who had made controversial remarks about “legitimate rape” and abortion – Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana – were defeated in their Senate contests. Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken liberal, defeated Republican incumbent Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Rep. Tammy Baldwin will become the first known lesbian to serve in the U.S. Senate after defeating former Gov. Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin.

In a major surprise, conservative Republican Congressman Allen West was trailing Democrat Patrick Murphy 159,959 to 157,578 with 99 percent of the vote counted as of Wednesday morning. West’s district was redrawn to include more Republican voters but apparently that won’t be enough to save his seat.

Another Black conservative, Saratoga Springs, Utah Mayor Mia Love, lost her bid to unseat Rep. Jim Matheson, losing by less than 3,000 votes.

Obama’s re-election probably means that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, probably will not be repealed as Republicans had hoped.

The president, who made two Supreme Court appointments in his first term, will most likely get an opportunity to make another appointment to the court, possibly two. Depending on who retires from the court, Obama’s appointments could alter the direction of the court, which has been drifting to the right.

His first challenge will be a budget showdown with Republicans, who want to reduce the deficit solely through spending cuts. Obama, on the other hand, is insisting on a combination of cuts and increased revenue, including repeal of the Bush tax cuts that favor the wealthy.

Exit polls showed that the economy was the top issue on voters’ minds. The polls also showed that voters blamed George W. Bush more than Obama for the sluggish economy. In addition, voters also said they trust Obama more than Romney to protect the middle class.

Obama’s re-election victory set off a round of speculation about what Republicans need to do to remain competitive in national politics.

Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said on CNN, “This is not just going to be a loss for Mitt Romney…This is going to be a repudiation of the Republican Party. Democrats moved to the middle – new Democrats – and they transformed their party. Republicans are still the party of ‘no.’ We’re not seen as having enough solutions.”

Another CNN analyst, David Gergen, said Obama needs to make some major concessions to Republicans, but James Carville disagreed, saying elections have consequences.

Since the election, everyone has been speculating on whether Tuesday’s outcome will increase the prospect of House Republicans working more closely with the White House. Although no one claimed to have the definitive answer to that question, there were signs than the rancor between the president and conservatives is not likely to evaporate soon.

Some conservatives started raising questions about the size of Obama’s victory, saying he should not interpret the results as a mandate. They didn’t raise similar questions in 2000 when George W. Bush was declared the winner after receiving 500,000 fewer popular votes than Al Gore, his Democratic challenger.

And Donald Trump was being, well, Donald Trump.

He tweeted about a dozen rants, including: “We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!”

He said in another one, “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”

The Electoral College has its roots in the U.S. Constitution.

“Article II, Section I of the Constitution, as amended in 1904 by the 12th Amendment, sets forth the requirements for election of the President and Vice President,” said a Congressional Research Service report. It said the Constitution “authorizes each state to appoint, by whatever means the legislature chooses, a number of electors equal to the combined total of its Senate and House of Representatives delegations, for a contemporary total of 538, including three electors for the District of Columbia.”

State electoral votes are reported to Congress, which usually meets in a joint session on Jan. 6 following a presidential election. However, because Jan. 6, 2013 falls on a Sunday, Congress will probably meet the following Monday or Tuesday.

Vice President Joseph Biden, as president of the Senate, will preside over the joint session. He will open the electoral vote certificates from each state in alphabetical order and pass the certificates to four vote counters or tellers, two appointed by the House and two appointed by the Senate. After the votes are counted, the results will be announced by the vice president.

The electoral outcome has matched the popular vote in 47 of the 51 presidential elections since ratification of the 12th Amendment in 1804. The exceptions were 1876, 1888 and 2000 when George W. Bush was declared president after losing the popular vote to Al Gore. No candidate won the majority of the Electoral College vote in 1824, leaving the election of the president to the House of Representatives.

As Trump’s comments show, the debate will continue over whether the Electoral College should be replaced by direct elections.

The Congressional Research Service report noted, “Proponents of direct popular election argue that it is simple, democratic, and foolproof: the candidates with the most popular votes would win under any conceivable circumstance. Opponents, and defenders of the electoral college, claim that the existing system is an integral and vital element in the U.S. federal system, that it contributes to a stable and ideologically diverse two party system, and that it has delivered the ‘people’s choice’ in 47 of 51 presidential elections since the 12th Amendment came into effect in 1804—what they characterize as an excellent track record.”

Program Solving Student Behavior Problems

E-mail Print PDF

By Damon C. Williams, Special to the NNPA from The Philadelphia Tribune

It’s a fact that behavioral and social issues are among the myriad obstacles facing minority, low-income and at-risk students. Child psychologist Dr. Brian Daly believes the program “The Incredible Years,” can help ease those issues, through both student interaction and by supplying an unorthodox method of reaching those students.

Daly is also an assistant professor in Drexel University’s Department of Psychology.

“The ‘Incredible Years’ program basically teaches kids the skills they need, such as following classroom rules, anger management and developing relationships with their peers and teachers,” Daly said, noting that the originators of the program — geared to students in K-3 grades — would use puppets and other techniques. “Over the years of working in schools with practicums, I’ve seen some of these behaviors starting very early on — in kindergarten and first grade.

“And without intervention, it becomes worse,” Daly continued. “So I started looking for evidence-based programs used with low-income minority students that have shown positive effects.”

The program is uniquely designed to reach students in the very young grades, because once a student reaches middle school, the problems become much more ingrained and harder to correct. Even the puppets play a huge role in reaching the students.

“The group leaders use puppets, which seems a little hokey at first, but for kids in K-3, even though there’s a ventriloquist delivering the intervention lessons, the students suspend belief and start staring and following everything the puppet says and does,” Daly explained. “So the students are taught these very important skills by someone they are excited about, and not just some adult standing up there, talking to them about the need to follow classroom rules.”

The program also uses a dinosaur puppet and characters, Wally and Molly, who for purposes unique to minority demographics of the school district, are cast as African-American.

Daly and his team currently implement the program in three North Philadelphia schools — Paul L. Dunbar Elementary, Tanner Duckrey Elementary and Gen. George G. Meade Elementary — and is funded via a series of three-year grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

So far, the program has reaped rewards.

“We’ve seen by looking at the analysis of the kids most at risk in terms of having worse behavior and lowest social skills, that their behavior and academics improves the most. When we do analysis on those kids — they tend to be the ones improving the most, improving up to what we consider the normal range,” Daly said. “You have one third of the kids [in any particular class] that are really struggling, and for those kids we think further down the line will continue having problems, they move from the lower third to middle third.”

That the three schools Daly currently works out of are all located less than a mile from Temple University is no coincidence. Daly said that he has formed a long-standing relationship with the university that has enabled him and his staff to operate in those schools.

“I came to Drexel University from Temple — which used to have a partnerships program in Dunbar, Duckery and Meade. Back then, the school district had control over those schools, but Temple was putting management programs and academic and mental health programs in those schools. Since we had already established relationships with the schools, it was easy to work with them,” Daly said, adding that efforts are currently underway to expand the program to West Philly schools Samuel Powell Elementary and Morton McMichael Elementary. “We also do a university partnership with Drexel and Temple to implement programs. We are also training graduate doctorial psychologist to run this program, so they are more apt to go back into these schools.”

The program, Daly said, also benefits teachers, as it gives them an added educational tool they can use when gaining control of the classroom is a priority.

“Most new teachers leave within five years after starting and one of the top three reasons is they can’t get classroom behavior under control. New teachers are very excited to teach, but if they can’t get behavior under control; once they lose that control they give up,” Daly said. “That’s a big problem. Half of the most promising teachers are leaving, and they are most likely to leave inner city, underfunded schools.

“So students who are most at risk, most often are not getting the attention they need,” Daly continued. “When we do our 20-week program, teachers continue to use skills we taught them, and continue using them on a yearly basis. None of the teachers that we have trained left because of burnout.”

Contact staff writer Damon C. Williams at (215) 893-5745 or dwilliams@phillytrib.com.

Former Crenshaw High School Football Star Geno Hall Shot Outside Halloween Party at USC

E-mail Print PDF

By Jason Lewis, Special to the NNPA from Los Angeles Sentinel

Former Crenshaw High School football star Geno Hall was shot seven times outside of a Halloween party on the campus of USC. He survived the attack, and went through three hours of surgery to remove the bullets from his thigh, the back of his leg, buttocks and arms.

The on campus party was for USC students only. A crowd of about 100 people formed outside. Several people in that crowd were non-USC students, and they were not allowed access to the party.

There was an argument outside of the party around 11:45 when the suspected shooter pulled out a gun and shot Hall, and three others were wounded as well. Two suspects were chased on campus and quickly caught by campus security.

In 2009 Hall was named the City Section player of the Year. As a wide receiver, he was the best player on a team that featured running back De’Anthony Thomas, who is in the Heisman Trophy race at Oregon, and Hayes Pullard, who is a starting linebacker at USC. Thomas was a junior that season, Pullard a senior.

Hall had his way with defenses, catching short and long passes, and even in double coverage. That season Crenshaw won the City Championship and nearly won the State Bowl title.

Hall went on to play at West Los Angeles College, and he was looking to make the jump to a Division I college football program.

Legal Experts Say Pardons Deserved in Wilmington Ten Case

E-mail Print PDF

By Cash Michaels, Special to the NNPA from The Wilmington Journal

WILMINGTON, N.C. (NNPA) – Revelations about former Assistant New Hanover County District Attorney James “Jay” Stroud Jr.’s racial jury gerrymandering, and his plot to cause a mistrial to impanel a “KKK” type jury in the Wilmington Ten case forty years ago were “stunning and beyond outrage,” say two veteran civil rights attorneys.

Those facts alone, they add, justify individual pardons of innocence from NC Gov. Beverly Perdue for the Wilmington Ten.

“It is stunning, and beyond outrage, to learn the level of prosecutorial abuse that dominated, infected, and ultimately drove the outcome in the Wilmington Ten trials,” says Prof. Gene R. Nichol, Boyd Tinsley Distinguished professor at the UNC School of Law at UNC – Chapel Hill, after reviewing portions of what is now known as “the Stroud files.”

“This intense abuse of governmental authority, prosecutorial misconduct — both professional and racial — casts a long shadow over the North Carolina system of justice, Prof. Nichol continued. “It also, of course, worked massive and unforgivable constitutional injury on the lives of ten North Carolinians.”

“The prosecutor made mockery of his high office by knowingly, intentionally, and purposefully placing perjured testimony at the heart of the trial. It is also clear now, in ways not demonstrated by documentary evidence before, that he tainted the trial initiation process and vital jury selection through patent, overt, and outcome-determinative racism.”

“It is crucial that North Carolina act to admit and concede such a potent and defining abuse of power,” Prof. Nichol maintains. “To allow public servants to behave in such a fashion, without remedy, is literally intolerable.”

Al McSurely, a veteran Chapel Hill civil rights attorney and NCNAACP Executive Committee member, also expressed his “outrage.”

“The prosecutor’s notes are clear and convincing evidence that race was not just a factor in his selection of the ten whites and two blacks on the Pender jury that convicted the Wilmington Ten,” attorney McSurely said. “Race was the only factor. Forty years later, we know his real motives. I believe when the governor studies this evidence, she will do the right thing and sign the pardons.”

“I can barely contain my outrage at the blatant racism of an officer of the court,” attorney McSurely added.

This stinging legal analysis comes after the fortieth anniversary of the convictions of the ten civil rights activists for crimes they maintain they did not commit.

On Oct. 17th, 1972, nine young black males and one white female – all led by the Rev. Benjamin Chavis of the United Church of Christ – were falsely convicted during their second trial of conspiracy in connection with racial violence that gripped Wilmington in February 1971.

The Stroud files now cast a large shadow over those convictions.

“The Ten,” as some call them, were all sentenced collectively to 282 years in prison, some of which they all served before worldwide public pressure forced early releases. In 1976, Amnesty International, a respected international social justice agency, labeled the Wilmington Ten “political prisoners” because they were targeted only after they protested racial discrimination in their local public school system five years earlier.

In 1977, the three witnesses on whose testimony the Wilmington Ten were convicted recanted their testimonies before a grand jury, saying that state prosecutor Jay Stroud paid them to lie with gifts and privileges. The CBS News program “60 Minutes” broadcast an expose’ on the fabrication of evidence in the case, strongly suggesting a false prosecution.

And in 1980, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, citing prosecutorial misconduct on Stroud’s part, among other issues, overturned all ten convictions. But the state of North Carolina has upheld those convictions for the past 32 years.

It was not until 2011, when the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) – an association of over 200 African-American newspapers across the nation – voted to officially seek pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten, did the effort to legally address the issue begin in earnest, and the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project was born.

On May 17 of this year, a legal petition of pardons of actual innocence was formally submitted to Gov. Beverly Perdue’s Office of Executive Clemency on behalf of Dr. Benjamin Chavis; Wayne Moore; Marvin “Chili” Patrick; Reginald Epps; James “Bun” McKoy; Willie Earl Vereen; William “Joe” Wright; Jerry Jacobs; Ann Shepard and Connie Tindall.

Wright, Jacobs, Shepard and Tindall are deceased. Tindall, 62, died in August.

During the course of researching the case, the original files of Wilmington Ten state prosecutor Jay Stroud were found, and evidence of extraordinary prosecutorial misconduct uncovered. North Carolina Central University School of Law Professor Irving Joyner, and James Ferguson, original lead defense attorney forty years ago for the Wilmington Ten – both of whom filed the petition papers with the state – spent last summer researching and authenticating handwritten jury selection notes by prosecutor Stroud which indicated during the first trial in June 1972 in Pender County how he sought to impanel a “KKK” type jury to guarantee convictions.

Stroud’s notes also document how he plotted to cause a mistrial in the first June 1972 Wilmington Ten trial because there were ten blacks and two whites on the jury, his star false witness against the Ten, Allen Hall, was not cooperating, and it looked very unlikely that Stroud could win the case given the lack of evidence.

History shows that prosecutor Stroud told the presiding judge in the first June 1972 trial that he had become “ill,” and could not continue.

A mistrial was ultimately declared.

It was during the second trial in Pender County, which began Sept. 11, 1972, that Stroud got a jury more to his liking – ten whites and two black domestic workers – and a different judge who was arguably biased against the defense.

This time, the Wilmington Ten were convicted, sentenced, and sent away to prison.

It was during a Sept. 5th forum at NCCU’s School of Law, that defense attorney James Ferguson said his examination of the Stroud files was revealing.

“There was a fair amount of confirmation of things we suspected at the time that race was the central strategy of the prosecution,” attorney Ferguson maintained, singling out a legal pad that prosecutor Stroud used during jury selection of the first trial to track Ferguson’s questioning of potential jurors in Pender County, a neighboring county the case had been moved to in June 1972.

Stroud’s handwritten notes on his legal pad revealed how he wanted to “stay away from black men” in jury selection; didn’t want to impanel blacks from certain parts of the county; placed a “B” in front of the names of potential black jurors, would scribble remarks like “no,” “stay away from” and “leave off.”

If it was a black whom he thought he could convince the Wilmington Ten were guilty, however, Stroud wrote, “knows; sensible; Uncle Tom type.”

And prosecutor Stroud had unmistakable codes for white jurors he felt he had to have.

On that same legal pad sheet tracking juror interviews, when Stroud was impressed with a white interviewee’s answers, he’d write down the three letters of the alphabet most commonly associated with the most fear white supremacist group in the South at the time – the Ku Klux Klan.

“KKK?…good” is what Stroud wrote for juror Number 1 known as “Pridgen.” For Number 6 named “Heath,” the reverse, “O.K.” then “KKK?”. Number 75 on a subsequent page was “Fine – probably KKK!!” and on Number 99 Stroud writes, “does not have a record – KKK!!”

Stroud was apparently also concerned if potential black jurors in the June trial read about the case in The Wilmington Journal, the local African-American newspaper and NNPA member. Stroud considered the Journal a subversive publication that supported the Wilmington Ten.

“Blacks – you get Wilmington Journal or read it – view sympathetic to letters from Chavis,” Stroud wrote in the column of his legal pad, making note of question would ask of potential black jurors.

The notation is chilling because the following year, The Journal was firebombed by a white supremacist on June 1973. Historically, another Wilmington black newspaper, The Daily Record, was burned to the ground by white supremacists during the November 10, 1898 racial uprising, demonstrating a long held fear of the Black Press in Wilmington.

“Race infused the jury selection strategy in that June trial,” attorney Ferguson said of Stroud’s jury selection notes.

The sheer number of prospective Pender County black jurors for the first Wilmington Ten trial resulted in a panel of ten African-Americans, and two whites.

“We were able to position ourselves in a way that we were headed towards getting what appeared to be a jury that might be fair,” defense attorney Ferguson said.

“But at that time, as they say, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum.”

On the cardboard back of that jury selection legal pad Stroud used, the Stroud files show, the prosecutor listed the advantages and disadvantages of mistrial, seemingly to devise some sort of strategy as to what his next move should be.

Among Stroud’s “Advantages of Mistrial,” the prosecutor listed, “1 – different judge; 2 – better prepared to select jury and to handle motions/more organized,” as his top reasons.

Stroud apparently decided to cause the mistrial, attorney Ferguson says.

“The main prosecutor in the case (Stroud) suddenly became ill,” Ferguson recalls. “For what reason I do not know. [Perhaps] sitting there looking at that many black folks serving on the jury. But he became ill, sort of speak, and decided that he could not proceed with the trial. So that trial was aborted.”

After reviewing the same materials, UNC law Professor Gene Nichol was deeply concerned.

“The Stroud memo reveals that the most cynical and stunning use of racial antagonism and hostility drove the prosecutor’s decisions in launching, and re-launching the Wilmington Ten trials,” Prof. Nichol says. “No justification exists, or could exist, for such bald constitutional transgression. It is vital that the state officially declare, as it would through a pardon of innocence, the flat rejection of the use of racial hatred in the exercise of criminal prosecution. Ignoring such outrageous misbehavior, once revealed, would be a fundamental breach of duty.”

In reaction to the Stroud Files prior to Election Day, Barbara Howe, a Libertarian candidate for NC governor, said in a press release, “The evidence that has been revealed over the years since the [Wilmington Ten] convictions paints a very gloomy picture of the North Carolina judicial system. The recanting of witness statements and the prosecutorial misconduct that has come to light with the release of the Stroud files clearly demonstrate the need for action [by Gov. Perdue]. A pardon of innocence for the Wilmington Ten would show a renewed commitment by the State of North Carolina to the cause of justice.”

Ms. Howe added that until those pardons of innocence are granted, the Wilmington Ten remain convicted felons in the state of North Carolina.

Prof. Nichol, who has also written a letter of support directly to Gov. Perdue for the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, wrote, “I am confident that the prosecutor’s rank, grotesque, abuse of authority merits a pardon of innocence. There are surely no circumstances to seek a ‘pardon of forgiveness’. It would be stunning to say to a group of defendants subjected to such breathtaking misconduct that we now ‘forgive’ you.”

“The only acceptable response from the State of North Carolina,” Prof. Nichol concluded, “…is to concede that its power was exercised in the Wilmington Ten prosecutions in a tyrannical rejection of honesty and constitutionalism.”

Meanwhile, the North Carolina chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced in Greenville last week that it was formally supporting the pardons of innocence effort for the Wilmington Ten.

Dr. Benjamin Chavis, leader of the Ten and NNPA columnist, was on hand for the announcement.

(Readers wishing to support NNPA’s Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project can sign the Change.Org petition at https://www.change.org/petitions/nc-governor-bev-perdue-pardon-the-wilmington-ten)

Despite High Turnout, Voter Participation Numbers Still Low

E-mail Print PDF

By Freddie Allen, NNPA Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – After get out the vote volunteers finish celebrating their efforts in Tuesday’s presidential election, the United States will still rank lower than most industrialized countries when it comes to voter participation, according to an international poll.

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance ranked voter turnout in 169 countries and the United States, the leader of the free world, came in 120th with a 66.5 percent voter turnout rate. And presidential turnout is much higher that off-year elections.

Italy with 89.8 percent was the only member of the G8, the group of the world’s largest economies, to crack the top 20. Germany scored 85.4 percent, followed by the United Kingdom (75.2 percent), Canada (73.9 percent) France (73.8 percent) and Japan 69.5 percent. Only Russia ranked lower than the United States in that group with 58.4 percent.

Australia ranked No. 1 with 94.5 percent turnout rate, penalizing wayward citizens that failed to cast a vote.

As the United States exports democracy around the world, the residents of “the shining city on the hill” fail to exercise one of their most fundamental rights: their right to vote.

Yet, the 2008 presidential election raised the bar for minority participation to 23.7 percent, but fewer Whites voted in 2008 (66.1 percent) than in 2004 (67.2 percent). For all of the history made the night the United States elected its first African American president, according to the Pew Research Center, voter turnout decreased from 63.8 percent in 2004 to 63.6 percent in 2008 (Figures for 2012 are not yet available).

Researchers rattle off a number of reasons for the low voter turnout, ranging from voter apathy to voter repression. State voters’ laws that disproportionately affect minorities and the poor also factor in.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law found that a number of states enforced voters’ laws that confused the poll workers and the voters. The Lawyers’ Committee reported that poll workers in Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, Louisiana, South Dakota Idaho requested photo ID even though it wasn’t required. Florida and Ohio, two hotly contested battleground states, adopted what are considered the most repressive election laws.

Researchers also found that Black voters were asked for identification at the polls at a much higher rate than White, even in states where IDs are not required.

To combat the confusion around the new ID regulations, Civil rights groups ramped up their efforts to educate voters prior to Tuesday’s elections.

“At the Advancement Project we’ve been doing a significant amount of voter education that we haven’t had to do in the past,” said Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the multiracial civil rights group.

While some state laws made it harder for voters to turn out, others implemented the 1993 National Voter Registration Act that allowed residents to register to vote when they renewed their driver’s license. This often increased voter turnout by 4.7 percent. Researchers suggested that allowing voters to register on Election Day could boost voter turnout by an additional 8.7 percent compared instead of enforcing the typical 30-day cut-off point.

Oregon not only allows voters to register online, but also permits them to cast ballots by mail.

When Superstorm Sandy threatened to dampen voter turnout in his state, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie approved a measure allowing voters to cast presidential ballots by fax and e-mail.

Voters’ rights advocates say that the our election system is broken and that it’s going to take more than state regulations and technology to fix the problem.

“It’s going to take public will,” said Browne Davis. “Voting is fundamental to our democracy. We all benefit from a robust democracy that includes all voices. It’s going to take people of color who are the target of these restrictive laws to decide that we’re going to revive the voters’ rights movement. We’re going to continue this work because it’s not going to end on November 6.”

Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said that civic engagement is a year-round responsibility of all citizens.

“Being involved in your democracy is not just about Election Day and it’s not just about your vote,” explained Arnwine. “You have to hold council people, senators and state representatives accountable.”

Page 171 of 372

BVN National News Wire