Twice. And counting.
**DISCLAIMER: CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS, YOUR LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE BEFORE THE PRIMARY ELECTION ON JUNE 7 IS TODAY, MAY 23. FOR INFO ON HOW TO REGISTER, GO HERE**
Voting season is upon us,
people who stole indigenous land Americans. And it can get a little tricky if you aren’t white because of all the requirements, laws, deadlines, rules, and other red tape. So I thought I’d put together a how-to guide. And since there’s a lot I still need to learn and my voting knowledge mostly pertains to California, I’ve included links to some helpful outside resources. Let’s get our democracy on.
1. Voting Requirements
To vote, you have to be a U.S. citizen and 18 years old. Some states allow you to vote in the presidential primaries if you aren’t 18 but will be by the time of the general election. And your eligibility to vote in a specific state depends on your residence. Basically, whatever state you live in is where you can vote. But determining residency can be tricky, so see below for some helpful links.
College students go here.
Citizens living outside the U.S., uniformed service members and their families go here.
And you don’t necessarily even have to have a street address to vote. This is the case in California, where, if you’re technically homeless, you can still vote. You just have to provide as precise a description as possible of the location you live when you’re registering—whether that’s an intersection, reference to landmarks, the In-N-Out where the 101 meets the 10 before the 110, etc.
When you register, you can pick a party affiliation or choose not to. Of course the most talked-about parties are Democrat and Republican, but there are multiple other choices, like Green, Libertarian, etc. Whether a party is on the ballot for a certain election depends on the state (e.g. the Green party is only on the ballot for the 2016 presidential election in certain states).
The reason the party you pick matters is because it can determine if/when you can vote. For example, in closed primaries, you can only vote if you are registered with the party holding the primary election. This is what happened in the recent democratic and republican primaries in New York—approximately 3 million people couldn’t vote because they’re registered as “independents,“ which means they’re not affiliated with a party. Whereas in open primaries, you can vote regardless of party affiliation.
And make sure that if you want to vote in a certain party’s election, you have that party’s ballot. For example, in CA, you can vote in the democratic primary if you are registered as an independent/no party preference, but in order to do so, you have to request the democratic ballot, either at the poll, or request to receive it via mail if you’ll be voting by mail.
Regardless of what you decide to do, just make sure you understand what it means to affiliate with a certain party, because sometimes the titles are misleading. For example, in California, registering with the “American Independent Party” does not mean you’re an “independent” (i.e. have no party affiliation or preference). It means you’re registered with what’s commonly referred to as the “Tea Party,” an extremely conservative, right wing party. In other words, you’re an asshole in the asshole party, even if you didn’t mean to be. So do your research.
For more info on voting by state go here.
Here’s a list of answers to voting FAQs.
There are different ways you can register to vote and different ways you can vote. You can register using a hard copy form that you mail in or drop off at your registrar’s office, or, in some places, you can register online. However you do it, just make sure to periodically check your voter registration status, because, as we’ve been seeing, a lot of voter fraud is occurring where people are having their registration status and party preference changed without their consent.
As for voting, you can do it in person at the polls, drop off your ballot at an official drop-off box /location, or by mail. Each has its pros and cons. If you go in person, you can ensure your ballot goes where it’s supposed to (theoretically), versus trusting it won’t get lost or stolen in the mail. But you can also get stuck in horrendous lines at the polls, and be told by incompetent poll workers that you can’t vote for one B.S. reason or another. And for most of us, going to the polls means missing work—which is fine if you have a boss who’s rational, but those are about as common as a truth spoken by Hillary Clinton, so mail-in or drop-off voting often is just easier.
I would say that if you choose to go to the polls, be prepared to prove that you are entitled to vote. This means printing out and bringing all documentation possible that shows you are registered, under whatever party. This can be the stub you receive when you fill out a paper registration form, or the page showing your voter reg status when you check it online, etc.
It’s important to be properly registered and have proof accordingly, because it entitles you to vote using a regular, official ballot (as opposed to a provisional ballot). The reason you want to avoid using provisional ballots is that it means your vote may not be counted, because provisional ballots are used when there are doubts or questions as to a person’s eligibility to vote—they’re essentially placeholder ballots until the voter’s registration status can or cannot be verified. So, for example, you could show up to the poll ready to vote, and be told by Patty, the sassy, red-white-and-blue-, visor-wearing
troll poll worker, that you’re not listed as registered, and thus that you can only use a provisional ballot, and if she and her team of equally useless poll workers are able to validate your registration, your vote will count, but if they find it invalid, it won’t. So do whatever you can to get your hands on a non-provisional ballot. This is why it’s important to bring evidence you can shove in Patty’s stupid powdered face that shows you are legally allowed to vote and, furthermore, she can suck it. Also bring contact information for voter fraud resources with you, in case Patty gets real salty and you have to stick the authorities on her ass. Below are helpful resources:
For info from the ACLU on voting rights go here.
To Report Voter Fraud go here.
Another thing is that you can choose to be a permanent mail-in voter. That way, if you ever can’t make it to the polls for an election, you’ll always have the mail-in option to fall back on. But, you can still go to the polls if you so choose—just make sure to bring the ballot that was mailed to you with you to the polls, because I don’t think they’ll provide you with another one. (This may not be the case in all states, so to double check your situation, again check your state’s voting website).
Look, I’ll be the first to concede that there is not a direct correlation between whether or not you vote and your level of civic engagement, passion, or activism. And I say that because of the way our political system works in the U.S.—it is so much an established system of corruption and greed, that most of the time our voting choices are just a bunch of evils who we try in vain to weigh against each other and categorize as “lesser” and “greater.” So I don’t blame people for abstaining from participating in an unjust process and not voting. But, when we have an option to vote for a candidate like Bernie Sanders—a man who, although far from perfect, has dedicated his life to serving the working class, improving life for the masses, and precisely fighting against the corruption that plagues our political processes—I think the argument for voting becomes much more persuasive.
Furthermore, if you are disillusioned with the political system, there are plenty of non-establishment, non-two party candidates to vote for too, like Jill Stein of the Green Party. People will say there’s no point in voting for someone like her because she can’t win in our current system. But to that, I’d say that a vote is a statement, and should be principled as such. A vote for someone is a vote for that person and that person only. The whole game of voting strategically, so that someone doesn’t get elected, instead of taking principled stands and voting to get someone elected, is the problem—if everyone voted on their conscience, I’d be willing to bet the system would change, and “underdog” candidates would have a chance at getting elected and causing progressive change.
I encourage everyone to vote according to their beliefs. (Unless you believe Hillary Clinton is upstanding. Or Donald Trump). But seriously, voting is a right, regardless of beliefs, and I think everyone should be able to access it and exercise it with responsibility—research your options, candidates, and other ballot measures thoroughly, consider what they mean for you and the rest of the world, and then vote, or don’t.
Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/voting-a-how-to-guide/
And he says he’ll vote if he can take you out.
“FINE. But only if you vote for Bernie.”
If you’re #FeelingtheBern as much as I am, there is a lot you can do to help get Bernie Sanders elected. Here are some ways you can get involved.
Volunteering is probably the best thing you can do. Click on the link above to sign up, and see below for several specific things you can do as a volunteer.
This is one of the most important ways people can volunteer for Bernie. Phone banking is basically cold calling people on behalf of the campaign. It sounds intimidating, because most of us don’t give anyone who cold calls us the time of day. But it’s 100x easier and better than you fear. It’s a simple process and you get to use a tool called the “Bernie Dialer” (how BOMB is that). The above link provides step-by-step instructions, including a script of what to say, and you can do it from basically anywhere, for however long you want during the designated hours on the site, as long as you have a computer or tablet and a phone (perpetually sweatpant/PJ-wearing people, unite! You can literally change the world from your couch).
You’re not even necessarily trying to convince people to vote for Bernie or asking for money, so it doesn’t even get that awkward—you’re primarily gathering data that will be helpful to the campaign, like identifying Bernie supporters and non-supporters, or encouraging people to get out and vote, and so on. The goal of phone banking changes depending on the day (because it relates to which state primaries and caucuses are coming up), which is all updated on the website so it’s easy to understand what the directive is for whenever you decide to do it.
It’s all part of an empirical process, which is not only cool to learn about, but also means that you won’t be doing anything inappropriate—you’ll only be calling people who have made their contact info available to the campaign, (whether by registering to vote, affiliating with a political party in a certain geographical area, or otherwise), so it’s not like you’re illegally invading their privacy. And even if they react negatively, all you have to do is politely thank them for their time, silently curse them, and put them down as “do not call” for the future (you enter the results of each call using the Bernie Dialer so the campaign knows who to not call again, if someone no longer lives at their listed number, and other things like that).
The best part is that people hold phone banking parties, where a bunch of you get together to do it, so you can commiserate, eat and drink (we’ll literally do anything if it means we get fed). And most people who attend phone banking parties don’t already know each other, so you don’t have to worry about feeling out of place. But you’ll basically become family—there are a few things in life that bond people like none other: going to war, raising a child with someone, and phone banking. And trust me, you’ll only get one or two people who yell at you about how they hope Trump wins and “gets those Arabs out of New York,” so don’t even sweat it!
Check the link^^ to find a phone banking party near you. Or host your own! And try to get in some calls before the New York primary tomorrow if you can!
You can find a training session to attend on the above link so you’ll be equipped to get out and register voters. This is important because when there’s a high voter turnout, Bernie does better. And with all of the voter fraud that’s been going on, it’s important that people are given fair access to their right to vote, and understand what registering under certain political parties means for when/where they can vote, as well as deadlines, voter ID laws, etc.
3. Go to events
There are tons of events you can attend in support of Bernie—rallies, voter registration drives, marches, canvassing opportunities, etc.—where you’ll meet great people and learn of all sorts of volunteer opportunities and other important election info. Check the above link to find an event near you.
4. Spread the word
Information is power, so use any avenue you can, including social media, to spread the word about Bernie, his policies, pertinent election info, etc.
Learn about the delegate process
The delegate process is confusing and largely inaccessible. What most of us don’t realize is that we can take part in it. We can have a hand in choosing who the pledged delegates for our candidate will be. For example, in California, on May 1 we have caucuses to select delegates from each congressional district who will represent Bernie at the state and national Democratic conventions. While the delegate selection process varies state-to-state, it is important to be involved because we need delegates who are strong Bernie supporters to go to bat for him on the floor at these conventions. In some cases, when not enough delegates are elected by the public to fill the designated quotas, the Democratic party will assign them. Which is unfortunate because the Democratic party (i.e. DNC and its surrogates) isn’t very Bernie-friendly—so it may end up assigning Bernie delegates who might not show up when they’re supposed to or decide to switch sides.
This is a broad and far from comprehensive overview of the delegate process, and doesn’t even mention the Superdelegates, which are equally incomprehensible and I’ll get to below, but it gives you a glimpse of how important it really is. So to find out more about it, please visit the website for your state’s Democratic party to learn about their specific delegate selection process (you can access this info by Googling “[Insert state here] democratic party delegate selection process“). For example, here is the link to CA’s democratic party’s delegate selection process.
You’ll probably have to do a lot of digging, because this information is intentionally made hard to find, so if you have specific questions, let me know in a comment and I’ll help.
Help woo the Superdelegates
The average contribution to Bernie’s campaign is $27. More than 2 million people have contributed almost 7 million times. This campaign is a true grassroots movement, and any little bit helps. We’re showing the world that the power does not belong to those who pay $353,400 to have dinner with a presidential candidate. It belongs to us.
Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/can-help-get-bernie-sanders-elected/
Pick your jaws up off the floor, fellow liberal minds, and before you accuse me of treason, hear me out. I’ve already explained why I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. But, perhaps what is more important, is why I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, even if she ends up winning the Democratic nomination. Why? Let me count the ways…
She is a warmonger
She voted for the Iraq War, and we all know how well that turned out. Regarding her vote, she has said: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard such a childish attempt at excusing “one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States,” as Bernie Sanders—who, with the same information as Clinton, voted no on the same war—aptly calls the Iraq War, (in no small part because it resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives).
Additionally, Clinton’s disastrous intervention and push for regime change in Libya, which she asserts was justified based on the unsubstantiated claim that Gaddafi was going to massacre the people of Benghazi, resulted in the irreparable “postwar chaos that’s left Libya without a functioning government, overrun by feuding warlords and extremist militants.” But rather than recognize or admit to the deadly consequences of her actions in Libya, Clinton has opted instead to betray her militaristic nature by saying things like, “We came, we saw, he died,” about the killing of Gaddafi.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Clinton wants to force yet another regime change in Syria by ousting Assad, which is an inherently flawed plan, and her proposal for a ‘no-fly’ zone in Syria is tantamount to declaring war against Syria and Russia.
Plus, the cherry on top: she is advised on foreign policy by the same firm that advises Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio—GOP candidates who both expressed “understanding” for Donald Trump’s bigoted proposal to ban Muslims from the U.S.
She is a liar
For example, in the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire on December 19 , 2015, Clinton claimed that Bernie Sanders’ proposed single-payer healthcare system would cost the U.S. government “$18 to $20 trillion.” This is a lie. In fact, Sanders’ proposal would save nearly $5 trillion dollars over 10 years.
In the same debate, Clinton claimed that only “3% of [her] donations come from people in the finance and investment world” and she has “more donations from students and teachers than [she does] from people associated with Wall Street.” This is, at best, an untruth aimed at misleading voters into thinking she’s not in Wall Street’s pocket, but rather is an ally to the working class, the average man, the 99%. In fact, Wall Street has contributed more than double 3% of her campaign funds. Additionally, Clinton has received about $2.5 million in itemized campaign contributions from the securities, investments, and commercial banking industries (i.e. “Wall Street”), plus more than $3.5 million in contributions by Wall Street to Super PACs that back her. On the other hand, she’s only received $747,493 “from those who self-identified as ‘students,'” and “those who said they were “teachers” have provided $518,495.” (Contrast this with Sanders, who has gotten record-breaking numbers of individual donations, averaging less than $30 each).
Additionally, in Sunday’s Democratic debate, Clinton essentially blamed Bernie Sanders’ for the 2008 economic crash as a consequence of the passing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA)—a bill which was signed into law by Hillary’s husband, then-President Bill Clinton, one month before he left office, and of which, as Robert Scheer writes, “a key author was Gary Gensler, the former Goldman Sachs partner recruited by Clinton to be undersecretary of the treasury… Today, Gensler is the top economic adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”
She is inconsistent
Clinton seems to vote according to trends. Again, she voted for the Iraq War like a teen would excuse his underage drinking: ‘well everyone else was doing it!’—and now that it’s popular to denounce it, she does so. But apparently not one to learn from her mistakes, she made sure to leave her mark as secretary of state with Libya, which was essentially her Iraq. She’s also gone back and forth on supporting gay marriage. It’s fair to say the one thing she has not flip-flopped on over the years is her loyalty to bad pantsuits and that tacky haircut.
She is corrupt with greed
Not only does Hillary have an affinity for Wall Street and Super PACs, but, according to Forbes, her net worth is $45 million—and, of course, the two are not unrelated—between 2013 and 2015, she made over $2.9 million by making 12 speeches to big banks. And the lengths she will go in the name of greed don’t stop there: she also approved increases in weapons sales to Clinton Foundation donors. To top it off, she was a “proud” member of the Walmart board of directors for 6 years—arguably one of the most corrupt corporations, renowned for its poor, not to mention illegal, treatment of workers and child laborers.
In contrast, Bernie Sanders, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $700k, denounces Super PACs, has gotten only $47,187 in campaign contributions from Wall Street, and is intent on breaking up the big banks and their “greed and corruption that led to the 2008 financial crisis.” It seems to me that as a ‘public servant,’ an elected official’s job is to spend his or her career attempting to better the lives of the public, not amassing private, excessive wealth.
Considering all of these facts, I cannot in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton. I hear a lot of people say it’s better to vote for her than a Republican—the idea being that “liberal”/Democrat, in any form, is better than “conservative”/Republican. But that kind of bandwagoneering is exactly what politicians and the media rely on to sway our votes. They’re counting on the fact that we won’t look past Hillary’s socially liberal shell and dig deeper into the truth of who she is and what she really represents. They’re banking on the fact that because popular celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Amy Schumer, and Lena Dunham have recklessly, irresponsibly, publicly endorsed Clinton, we are going to mindlessly follow in their footsteps. They’re relying on the female vote for Hillary—because it would be un-feminist not to.
Well fuck that. By that logic, it would be racist not to vote for Ben Carson, the raging psychotic bag of shit that he is. Fuck the lesser of two evils argument—why vote for any evil? If we don’t take stands as matters of principles, we are sending the message that we are complicit. And I am not complicit in what Hillary Clinton represents.
Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/im-not-voting-hillary-clinton-even-wins-nomination/
I’m one of the few people who can’t wait to do jury duty. I find it fascinating—the whole legal process, fighting for justice, being a part of it all. Unfortunately, the only times I’ve been called to report have been in my hometown, where I no longer live, so I have yet to actually have the chance to serve my civic duty—every time I miss an opportunity to report for jury duty, a puppy loses its innocence.
I’m aware, though, that my outlook on jury duty is contrary to popular sentiment. So, for those of you who wish to shirk your responsibilities and have no interest in advocating for due process, the best way to get out of jury duty is to say something during the screening process that calls into question your sanity, potential bias, and/or intelligence. Thus, here are the best lines to use.
• “I support Donald Trump—those Muslims have really got to go. It’s only logical.”
• “I don’t like Gilmore Girls.”
• “I’m going to go visit the mother ship just as soon as I’ve finished burning my next door neighbor at the stake—I caught her entering the local Planned Parenthood, aka Baby-Killin’ Sinner Factory, the other day—can you believe it?!”
• “I do CrossFit.”
• “I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton—obviously—she voted FOR the Iraq War and gave weapons deals to Clinton Foundation donors!”
• “Some of my idols are Tom Cruise, Will Smith, John Travolta, Leah Remini before she was possessed by the Devil…”
• “I’m not a fan of sweets…”
• “I’m not going to vote for Bernie Sanders—after all, he voted AGAINST the Iraq War and has served as a true public servant over his lifetime, failing to amass exorbitant wealth in the process—where does he get off, running for president when he isn’t a corrupt, greedy warmonger?”
• “I tried CrossFit once.”
• “I use the ‘pull out’ method.”
• “Climate change isn’t real. Nope—it’s just a buncha liberals up in the sky holding their space heaters down at us.”
• “I wear fedoras.”
• “I own a Confederate flag belt buckle.”
• “I don’t believe leggings count as pants.”
• “I don’t believe healthcare is a human right. Maybe if all you poor people would just pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and stop being non-white and be born into a wealthy family and shop at Whole Foods like me, you wouldn’t get cancer.”
• “I enjoy CrossFit.”
• “I wear a Confederate flag belt buckle.”
• “I go to strip clubs and read Playboy and am in a fraternity/sorority and in favor of elective cosmetic surgery and thought MAD MAX was a feminist movie and generally support the degradation and subjugation of women in this society.”
• “I take selfies.” [yes I am guilty of this and yes I think just as poorly of myself for it as I do everyone else #myselfhatredknowsnobounds]
• “I juice.”
• “I’m proud to be a Millenial.”
Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/get-jury-duty/
It’s no secret that TSA officers are the least qualified people to do their jobs. Thus, it takes a special kind of witchcraft to be able to get through their security hoops. But I’ve got it down to a science, so fear not—here’s how you make it through airport security.
1. Pray to the gods of TSA Pre√
Pre√ is like Nutella—Heaven sent. It means you get to keep your shoes on, your laptops in your bags, you get to skip the line of losers who didn’t make the cut—the world is your oyster with Pre√. Unfortunately, it’s up to a random iPad to assign it (I think there are also other ways you can get it permanently, like if you travel often enough, or pay a fee or some bullshit like when you get to use the HOV lane without carpooling as long as you buy a transponder), so your prayers may only be as effective as those who pray to end gun violence.
2. Do whatever the fuck you want with your liquids of 3-oz. or less
Unfortunately the equal to or less than 3-oz. rule is still in effect, but I’ve found that it is no longer necessary to fit all 3-oz. or less liquids into a quart-sized plastic bag. How did I learn this? By just ceasing to follow the quart-sized plastic bag rule a couple years ago, and getting away with it every time, with no mention of protest by any TSA
3. Request the metal detector instead of the full-body scanner
Maybe because you don’t want your organs to be zapped by x-rays, or for the security agents to be able to see right through you, or you just want to fuck with them. But insist, for whatever reason you make up, that they let you go through the metal detector, and see how flustered they get. It will be sufficiently amusing. Please note: this may/probably will entail a pat down. During which, you come on to the person patting you down. Male or female—it doesn’t matter. Turn the tables on them—they get to molest you? You get to sexually harass them, verbally. Some suggested lines to use on them:
•”Oh boy, I haven’t been touched like that since last night. When I touched myself. But I much prefer this. Keep going, please. Almost there..” [of course escalate your volume and heavy breathing as the sentence progresses]
•”Are you single? Because I’m visiting my family and they’re going to be severely disappointed that I haven’t found a mate yet. How do you feel about kids? Which holidays are you required to spend with your family? What are your thoughts on buying a home? Jenn or Angelina? Miranda or Gwen? Bernie or Hillary?”
•”Where would I even hide a bomb? You, on the other hand—is that an explosive device in your pants or are you just happy to see me?”
4. Use a tray for every item you have
Nothing pisses them off more than when you put everything you have in individual trays. Your shoes go in one, your laptop goes in another, your coat in a third, your purse in a fourth, your roller bag jams into a fifth, and so on. And insist on waiting to proceed until you’ve watched each and every one of your trays go a safe distance onto the conveyor belt. If they urge you forward, insisting you abandon your trays, tell them you don’t trust them not to steal something out of one of your bags while it’s still stuck on the metal rolly things, before it gets on the belt, and while you’re waiting in line to be violated. This will piss them off even more, and then you’ll say, “Why are you so upset? You know, people usually don’t react so adversely to criticism unless it touches on some insecurity in them. So, what I’m getting from this interaction is that you, yourself, don’t trust that you won’t steal one of my valuables, and you simultaneously hate and get some elicit pleasure from that aspect of your personality. Did I get it right? Hmm? What do you have to hide, Fred??”
5. Pack embarrassing things at the top of your carry-on
I’m talking hemorrhoid wipes, XS condoms, underwear that says “#squadgoals,” and a self-help book entitled Coping with Everyone Else’s Inferiority. So that when they pull your bag aside to search it by hand, you can make unwavering, confident eye contact with them as little bits of their soul die off, one by one, for each personal item of yours they grope. Feel free to narrate each item as they pull it out, too, for added effect.
6. Wear shoes that are easy to take off
All kidding aside, having to untie elaborate laces or pull off knee-high boots is just not what we want to be spending our time doing, so I say strap on those Uggs and get it over with. MAKE SURE to wear socks. We don’t need to be contracting any foot fungi from the thousands of disgusting people we are forced to accompany through the same carpet space. To balance out the unfairness of the shoe game, wear a hoodie with nothing under it. Then, when they insist you take it off, you’ll get to flash everyone, and when they freak out about it, you’ll get to say, “Well you told me to take it off—I’m getting mixed signals here. I’m just following the rules you told me, Fred. It seems like you’re the one who’s lacking an understanding of the proper procedures here, Fred, not me. Fred, if I may be so bold, how did you get your job? Did you have to do any training at all, or were you simply let in because you have a proclivity for blindly following orders without so much as a thought to question what you’re taught, like, for example, a Nazi would’ve done?”
Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/guide-getting-airport-security-quickly-humanly-possible/