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Breaking and Analysis: Partially Divided 4th Circuit Strikes NC Strict Voting Law, Finds Discriminatory Intent | Election Law Blog

. “Thus, we do not ask whether the State has an interest in preventing voter fraud — it does — or whether a photo ID requirement constitutes one way to serve that interest — it may — but whether the legislature would have enacted SL 2013-381’s photo ID requirement if it had no disproportionate impact on African American voters. The record evidence establishes that it would not have.” In any case, the Court makes the point I have made in The Voting Wars and many others have made. If you want to stop fraud, you don’t use ID, which targets virtually non-existent voter impersonation fraud. You go after absentee balloting, where fraud actually does occur. But that’s not what this law did. The law also excluded the types of ids likely held by African-Americans for no discernible anti-fraud purpose.

via Breaking and Analysis: Partially Divided 4th Circuit Strikes NC Strict Voting Law, Finds Discriminatory Intent | Election Law Blog

A victory for voting rights in my view. I’ve actually been wondering why we haven’t seen more measures about absentee voting, since there are no id controls beyond a ballot being sent from a given address. Although I haven’t heard much about absentee voter fraud either.

Are you registered to vote in November? Find out now and register if you aren’t.


Vote – It’s Important

I’ve heard some people tell me that voting doesn’t make a difference. It does, at least to the Republican Party. They think voting is important enough that they called for extra hoops for people to jump through, at least that’s how I interpret this phrasing from page 7 of their 2016 Platform:

We are concerned, however, that some voting procedures may be open to abuse. For this reason, we support legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting. We strongly oppose litigation against states exercising their sovereign authority to enact such laws.

If voting was meaningless, why would Republicans want to make it harder to vote (know where YOUR birth certificate or passport are? Those of all your family members?) AND make it harder for voters to challenge such restrictions.

Make a difference in the next election. Vote. All the way down the ballot.


If the PDF file doesn’t come up, you should be able to find the platform at https://www.gop.com/the-2016-republican-party-platform/

Sharing Joy Through Flowers

Share Happiness- http://wp.me/p6oY97-P7

Link goes to one concrete way gardeners can spread joy and kindness in their neighborhood.

Clinton Understands Complexity

While I’m not going to blog in earnest about the presidential election till after Labor Day, I was very touched by the e-mail below from the Clinton campaign. You have to understand that while I am voting for Hilary Clinton over Donald Trump, I usually delete her campaign e-mails after reading a paragraph – if I open them at all. But this one was different. She really seems to be grappling with a number of major issues that have hit us over the past few days. Unlike some, she understands that we can mourn both the police officers who were cut down in Dallas AND the two black men shot by police in the last week seemingly without reason.

Without further ado, here is her message that I read in full and want to share with you now:

=========Message from Secretary Clinton=====================

Like so many people across America, I have been following the news of the past few days with horror and grief.

On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, father of five, was killed in Baton Rouge — approached by the police for selling CDs outside a convenience store. On Wednesday, Philando Castile, 32 years old, was killed outside Minneapolis — pulled over by the police for a broken tail light.

And last night in Dallas, during a peaceful protest related to those killings, a sniper targeted police officers — five have died: Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens. Their names, too, will be written on our hearts.

What can one say about events like these? It’s hard to know where to start. For now, let’s focus on what we already know, deep in our hearts: There is something wrong in our country.

There is too much violence, too much hate, too much senseless killing, too many people dead who shouldn’t be. No one has all the answers. We have to find them together. Indeed, that is the only way we can find them.

Let’s begin with something simple but vital: listening to each other.

White Americans need to do a better job of listening when African Americans talk about seen and unseen barriers faced daily. We need to try, as best we can, to walk in one another’s shoes. To imagine what it would be like if people followed us around stores, or locked their car doors when we walked past, or if every time our children went to play in the park, or just to the store to buy iced tea and Skittles, we said a prayer: “Please God, don’t let anything happen to my baby.”

Let’s also put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous job we need them to do. Remember what those officers in Dallas were doing when they died: They were protecting a peaceful march. When gunfire broke out and everyone ran to safety, the police officers ran the other way — into the gunfire. That’s the kind of courage our police and first responders show all across America.

We need to ask ourselves every single day: What can I do to stop violence and promote justice? How can I show that your life matters — that we have a stake in another’s safety and well-being?

Elie Wiesel once said that “the opposite of love is not hate — it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death — it’s indifference.”

None of us can afford to be indifferent toward each other — not now, not ever. We have a lot of work to do, and we don’t have a moment to lose. People are crying out for criminal justice reform. People are also crying out for relief from gun violence. The families of the lost are trying to tell us. We need to listen. We need to act.

I know that, just by saying all these things together, I may upset some people.

I’m talking about criminal justice reform the day after a horrific attack on police officers. I’m talking about courageous, honorable police officers just a few days after officer-involved killings in Louisiana and Minnesota. I’m bringing up guns in a country where merely talking about comprehensive background checks, limits on assault weapons and the size of ammunition clips gets you demonized.

But all these things can be true at once.

We do need police and criminal justice reforms, to save lives and make sure all Americans are treated as equal in rights and dignity.

We do need to support police departments and stand up for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us.

We do need to reduce gun violence.

We may disagree about how, but surely we can all agree with those basic premises. Surely this week showed us how true they are.

I’ve been thinking today about a passage from Scripture that means a great deal to me — maybe you know it, too:

“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”

There is good work for us to do, to find a path ahead for all God’s children. There are lost lives to redeem and bright futures to claim. We must not lose heart.

May the memory of those we’ve lost light our way toward the future our children deserve.

Thank you,



Learn more about Hillary’s plans to tackle criminal justice reform:https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/criminal-justice-reform/

Learn more about Hillary’s plans to prevent gun violence: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/gun-violence-prevention/



Nonviolence Webinars in June 2016

Looking for ways to do things differently? Check out the Nonviolence Training Hub’s page of online classes and webinars. Times from their site appear to be Pacific Time, but check that against the events registration page. Due to WordPress’ stripping out links in quoted text, use the link above to access individual training pages.

Preview: Working for Transformation – June 2, 2016 – 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Online Orientation to Kingian Nonviolence – June 4, 2016 – 12:30 pm – 6:30 pm
“Person Power and the Roadmap to Nonviolent Action” – June 9, 2016 – 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Nonviolence Education and Building Community: Conference Call Series – June 9, 2016 – August 4, 2016 – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Preview: Working for Transformation without Recreating the Past – June 10, 2016 – 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Working for Transformation without Recreating the Past – June 17, 2016 – 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
NVC at Work: Preview – Just Enough Connection: Finding the Sweet Spot – June 20, 2016 – 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Beyond The Dream: The Radical Love of Martin Luther King, Jr. – June 22, 2016 – November 30, 2016 – 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Compassion Course Online – June 22, 2016 – June 21, 2017 – All Day
Taste of Compassion Leadership Free Teleclass – June 25, 2016 – 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

via Online Class or Webinar – The Nonviolence Training Hub


If you attend one of these webinars, I’d love your opinion on how things went.



Throw Them All Out? Stop Dreaming, Start Acting

“Throw them all out!” seems to be theme of this year, whether you’re speaking of the Alaska Legislature of Congress.  People of all political persuasions are upset with the pace and actions of our legislative bodies. And so in frustration cry out for a clean sweep.

There’s no way that we as a State or a Nation can do this. Legislators and members of the US House are elected by district. US Senators are elected by States. So there is no instrument at hand that “we” can throw “them” all out. It sounds good, but in the end, all we have voting influence over is OUR legislators, our US Representative and our US Senator.

I think we would be better served at placing our anger and frustration with legislative bodies aside and really have a laser focus on the people we can actually vote for and against. Two actions within our power are monitoring our representatives as best we can and ensuring there is always an alternative.

Monitoring your representatives

The most important reason for paying attention to your state and federal representatives is that you might find you actually support what they do. Or you can become more articulate about exactly what you’re opposing.

The first step in monitoring your elected representatives is to find out who they are. Here are some places to get you started:

To use me as an example, here are my elected representatives, compiled from the Alaska Legislature and the federal links above:

State Representative (House District 33) – Sam Kito III (D)

State Senator (Senate District Q) – Dennis Egan (D)

I knew who my state representatives were before writing this post. If you live in Alaska, you’ll need to go to the bottom of the Legislature’s home page and search the box labeled “Who Represents Me?”

US Representative – Don Young (R) (Alaska has so few people, we only have one US Rep for the whole state.)

US Senators – Dan Sullivan (R) and Lisa Murkowski (R)

Now that you know who they are, visit their pages. Check out their press releases. In Congress and in most states, you can get a list of bills they sponsored. Are you on social media? Many elected reps have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Follow them. With your US Representatives and Senators, you can use Congress.gov to sign up for alerts of their activities.

Do you like what you see? Keep them and tell them. Don’t like? Tell them. In private and in social media. Be respectful – few people listen when they’re insulted. If they don’t listen (and some won’t), explore alternatives. If you can’t picture yourself voting for the other party, find who’s challenging your rep or senator in the primaries. If there’s no one, consider running even though you’d be a long shot. Uncontested means automatic victory.

One last thought is to treat candidates as individuals rather than as party avatars. Maybe that Republican is a bit more liberal than you thought – or you agree on an important issue. Maybe that Democrat is actually an NRA member. Look beyond the label to the person and see if you can support that person. You can always vote against them in the next election.

Ensuring there is always an alternative

Were you aware that many Alaska House and Senate seats go uncontested? Some US House and Senate seats go uncontested as well. What I mean by this is that the incumbent faces no one in their party primary. Then they win the general election by default because the other party did not run a candidate.

While having an alternative in either the primary or general election is no guarantee that your member will be turned out of office, not having anyone run is a guarantee their incumbency will continue. If you can’t find someone else to run, consider running yourself.

The requirements to file as a candidate vary by state. You should find your local election office and go from there. If you are looking for a party home, check out this list of parties from politics1 or google your favorite party name. If you have the inclination and time, consider joining your local party organization.



Ballotpedia, Alaska Senate – https://ballotpedia.org/Alaska_State_Senate_elections,_2016

Ballotpedia, Alaska House – https://ballotpedia.org/Alaska_House_of_Representatives_elections,_2016


Enjoy Wildlife, Help Researchers: Snapshot Wisconsin

I sometimes get e-mail on new resources and new Citizen Science opportunities. Here’s one I think some of you will be interested in. I thought it was fun when I tried it:

From: Grant at the Zooniverse <no-reply@zooniverse.org>
Date: Tue, May 17, 2016 at 7:29 AM
Subject: New Project – Snapshot Wisconsin
To: ZOONIVERSE@jiscmail.ac.uk

Hi there,


We’re happy to announce a new wildlife project called Snapshot Wisconsin, a journey into the American heartland in search of deer and elk, bears and hares, and all other things wild!


Like Snapshot Serengeti, Chicago Wildlife Watch, and WildCam Gorongosa, Snapshot Wisconsin lets you explore trail camera photos of wild animals. Along with scientists from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and their collaborators, you’ll be taking part in valuable research to better understand the distributions and behaviors of animal species over space and time. Snapshot Wisconsin is replacing the Wisconsin Wildlife Watch project, bringing new features and functionality.


As always, people from all over and of all ages are welcome to participate. Whether you love wildlife, ecology, or just helping out, come join the Snapshot Wisconsin team today and discover the hidden world of Wisconsin’s animals.


You’re also invited to chat with researchers and other users on Snapshot Wisconsin Talk, and check out the project’s blog. The team is looking forward to working with you!


Thanks so much for all that you do!

Grant & the Zooniverse Team

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