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/
Republicans are… the worst. They range on a sliding scale from really bigoted and greedy to slightly less bigoted and greedy. Some of them want to be selective republicans (i.e., “I’m socially liberal but fiscally conservative“), but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a fucking Republican; (news flash: thinking gay marriage is all good does not negate your insistence that rich people should pay the same amount of taxes as someone living below the poverty line. BLOW ME.). Needless to say, interacting with them without becoming homicidally suicidal is basically impossible. So allow me to help you—here’s how to talk to republicans.
Try to find some common ground
And cling to that. Do not veer onto other topics of conversation—stick with only what you can agree on. I.e.:
•”So, I bet you like ice cream. Everybody likes ice cream, right?”…… “Oh, you think it’s a gateway drug? Okay.”
•”Aren’t cardinals just beautiful birds?”…… “You don’t like them because they’re red, the color of grubby Communist leeches? Great!”
•”It’s so hot out today!”….. “Climate change isn’t real?… Awesome.”
Inebriation will just help so much with the whole being in their presence thing. It’ll be easier to let the awful things they say slide off your shoulders if you’re two sheets to the wind. But make sure to stay happy drunk—the last thing we need is to enter the belligerent drunk zone, where all will go to hell at the first mention of “pro life.”
Imagine you’re talking to a small child
Turn up the baby voice, use only simple words, and speak very slowly. E.g.:
•”Hi there! That is a pretty shirt you have on.” [Pinch their cheeks]
•”Well aren’t you just a little bitty cutie wootie! Yes you are. Yes you are!”
•”I bet you have a lot of cool toys! Let me guess—some baby dolls, toy guns, and a miniature Audi R8?”
If politics come up, you cannot stand idly by while they spout absurd nonsense. It is your duty to speak out and protest. So challenge them on their stances. Like, if they say they don’t think healthcare should be socialized, ask them if they think it’s a human right and should be accessible to all people, or only those
who cheat on their taxes and hide their money in offshore trust funds so they’re wealthy enough to afford its exorbitant costs. If they’re a proponent of U.S. military violence and intervention abroad, ask them on precisely what grounds, demanding they explain starting from the inception of whatever conflict/war they’re attempting to justify (so at least a century ago). If they say they’re against abortion, ask them why they think it’s their right to dictate what other women can do with their bodies, when they’re perfectly entitled to control their own shitty body and decide whether or not to litter the earth with their own terrible offspring. And because undoubtedly their claims will be baseless, come ready with a printed and bound book of written sources that provide evidence to back up your assertions. And a mic to drop.
Sometimes it’s just too much, because you can’t stand what they’re saying and you can’t change their minds—so just don’t talk to them if you can avoid it. If you can’t avoid it (which like why couldn’t you unless you willingly surround yourself with repubs, which says a lot more about your character judgment and integrity than anything else—meaning it says that you’re the problem, because you can’t just ‘agree to disagree’ with the most important people in your life on the most important issues in your life/the world/everyone else’s lives DON’T BE SO SELFISH AND HYPOCRITICAL), then just always have an excuse ready to get out of the conversation. Whether it’s that you need to grab some water [and never come back], are deaf, just got a call that your neighbor’s cat is in the ER, or that there are lots of homeless people dying on the streets who need your help because contrary to some people’s beliefs, they’re not just lazy drug addicts mooching off the welfare system, just bow out. #SEEYA #wouldn’twannabeya #orhaveyouinelectedoffice
Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/how-to-talk-to-republicans/
A great piece from the Village Voice: Feeling the Yern: Why One Millennial Woman Would Rather Go to Hell Than Vote for Hillary
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/
You mean besides the fact that he’s ridiculously good looking and has a voice that can only be described as sensual? There are lots of reasons I think Bernie Sanders should be the next U.S. president. Before now, I had lost all hope in the U.S. political system. I was convinced it wasn’t even worth voting anymore, because the only choices were evils, just on a scale of lesser to more. And I still think that’s the case, except when it comes to Bernie Sanders. I think he’s our one and only beacon of hope before we plunge further into an irreversible, corrupt, 2 party system that’s ostensibly democratic but in actuality run by corporate America. And a lot of people think he doesn’t stand a chance. But he needs to be given a chance in order to stand one–don’t count him out before he’s had a fair shot.
For starters, Bernie is a true public servant. Meaning he has spent his career working for the people, not getting rich or dying trying. Different sources will give you different numbers, but on average his net worth seems to be between $300-500k (in 2013, it was $330,506). Which basically means he owns a house. In stark contrast to Hillary Clinton and most of the other candidates, whose net worths are in the tens of millions. He believes that there shouldn’t be such extreme wealth inequality. Which to me is just a basic human principle–how is it ok that there are people sleeping on the street, starving, lacking adequate healthcare and access to education, while the next block over there are people living in such excessive wealth, corrupt with power and greed, setting sail on their yachts after they cheat on their taxes and earn money off the backs of underpaid laborers (for example, please see: Walmart, which Hillary Clinton was on the board of for 6 years, or Bernie Madoff, or Republican proposed tax cuts for the wealthy, or Wells Fargo’s subprime lending fraud, to name a few)? How can we all sleep soundly knowing that such disparity in wealth and corruption of power exists?
Sanders’ emphasis on wealth inequality represents his focus on fixing domestic issues in the U.S., which leads his international policy towards peace. Because if there is peace, there is no need for war or for the U.S. to engage in it internationally, which leaves more time, money and effort to spend on fixing domestic issues. It really is that simple: he wants to work on improving the United States, and not making things worse abroad. And he has a proven track record in this: he voted against the Iraq War, has been advocating to lower the U.S. military budget since 1992 in favor of redirecting those funds to domestic issues like poverty, education, industry, etc. (the military budget has gone from $270 billion in 1992 to now $610 billion), and has consistently condemned the inhumane use of torture as a tactic of war. Again, to me, peace is a basic human principle: it makes no sense to fight violence with violence. Call me naïve, but war is so clearly and disturbingly counter-intuitive, and if we ever have a shot in hell of it ending, we need a president who will actually work to end it (Obama insisted he would, but in reality has waged deadly drone wars and didn’t pull troops out of Afghanistan as promised).
Sanders supports less overstepping, meddling, and violence by the U.S. not only abroad, but also domestically. For example, he supports an individual’s right to determine what to do with his/her own body, as opposed to the government being able to choose; he supports racial justice and the demilitarization of police in the U.S.; and he supports an individual’s right to privacy, as his consistent voting record on the Patriot Act proves. And he supports not only each individual’s right to these freedoms, but also government oversight for the sake of protecting those individual freedoms. For example, he advocates for the right of every person to be able to access healthcare and education by way of government measures.
All of these stances Sanders takes, as far as I’m concerned, boil down to believing in humane treatment and equal rights for everyone. Of course there are countless other issues to consider, more than I can cover here, but these examples give you a good idea of his overall platform. It’s easy to oppose him on grounds of wealth privatization–in other words, if you believe in hoarding wealth, and an “every man for himself” ideology, it’s easy to accuse him of being a grubby communist who doesn’t believe people should be able to keep the money they earn. But what that argument fails to take into account, besides a basic level of compassion for humanity, is that a lot of the wealthiest people don’t earn their money all by themselves. They earn it by employing and underpaying laborers, through inheritance when they’re born into privilege, and by cheating, whether by insider trading, evading taxes, or tying up their money in trust accounts so that the countless people suing them can’t access it. Yes, those are just a few, broad examples, but if we’re being honest, we know that’s often the case (again, please refer to the above examples I gave: Walmart, Bernie Madoff, tax cuts for the wealthy, and Wells Fargo). So why should those people’s wealth be protected above all else–including other’s rights to live, above the poverty line, with access to adequate healthcare and education?
And even if the top 1% earned their money completely above board, where is the recognition that all lives matter, not just rich lives, and that maybe it doesn’t make sense to be spending billions keeping the wealthy wealthy, when so many people are living in such despair? And if nothing else, can we at least all agree that the wealthy shouldn’t be getting tax breaks, compared to the wealth-less? I mean seriously, fine, keep your billions of dollars, Top 1%–but don’t expect to pay less taxes than someone who makes 1/1,000,000 what you make while they struggle to keep food on their table, their families healthy, and to get their kids through school day in and day out.
Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=70775
We went to the Senate building and they literally just let us wander around unsupervised, in and out of the senators’ offices (some of them had snacks!), down in the underground tunnels between the Senate, House, and Capitol buildings, on the subway between those buildings, into the galleries to see them voting, etc. Here are some pics to document our journey.