Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

DC Inauguration Site

Wherever you are in the world today celebrating (EuroCheapo’s got the partial scoop on events in Europe) — Happy Obama Day to you!

Are you headed to the Mall, attending a Ball, or watching the events on your TV in the hall? Share the stories of your Inauguration Day experience in the comments.

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We are 24 hours away from this election being over — but we still have not won this thing yet! 

If you are an overseas American who cast your vote weeks ago, you may feel somewhat disconnected from what is going on tomorrow in the U.S.  There are nevertheless a number of ways we can still be involved. 

Here’s a list of 5 easy ideas for readers anywhere on the globe:

If you live in the U.S. or overseas:

1) Have your overseas American friends sent in their ballots?

  • Call up, email or otherwise check up with 5 American friends living overseas and make sure they have received and returned their absentee ballots. If they have not, use the information below to help them cast a vote if there’s still time!

2) Will your American friends and relatives be headed to the polls today?

  • Call up, email or otherwise check in with 5 American friends or family members living in the U.S. and encourage them to head to the polls today. Take a couple minutes to tell them why you support Barack Obama and why we’re counting on their vote.

3) Will other Americans — those in key swing states — be headed to the polls today?

  • The campaign has set up an online tool called Neighbor to Neighbor, which allows you to make calls to registered voters in crucial areas, providing them with information about their polling locations and encouraging them to vote for Barack Obama. You can pick the state you’d like to call here. You can find answers to commonly-asked questions here. (Don’t forget to calculate the time difference.)
  • If you do not have a way to make cheap or free phone calls from your land line to the U.S., try using your computer to make calls. You can get 5 free hours of calling from Internet Calls; another inexpensive option is to create and use a Skype account — calls to the U.S. are just 2 cents/minute.
  • If you do have a telephone flatrate, consider inviting friends over today or tonight to make these calls from your home. Polls do not begin closing in the U.S. until midnight CET, so there is plenty of time to make calls after work!

For overseas voters:

4) Have you sent in your ballot?

  • If you have not, you may still FAX in your ballot before polls close on Nov 4th to the following states: AK, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, HI, ID (emergency only), IN, KS, LA, ME (emergency only), MO (Federal employees and military only), MT (by county!), NV, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OK (emergency only), RI, SC, TX (military only), UT, VT, VI, and WV.
  • You may FAX your ballot by Nov 3rd to MS.
  • You may EMAIL back your ballot to IN, NJ, NM, ND, SC, and WV (by county!).
  • You may POSTMARK your ballot by the 3rd to: AL (received by 4 Nov), IL (rec’d 18 Nov), IA (rec’d 10 Nov), NY (rec’d 11 Nov), ND, PA (rec’d 11 Nov), and UT (rec’d 18 Nov).
  • You may POSTMARK your ballot by the 4th to: AK (received by 19 Nov), AR (rec’d 14 Nov) DC (rec’d 14 Nov), GA (rec’d 7 Nov), IN (rec’d 14 Nov), MD (rec’d 14 Nov), MA (rec’d 14 Nov), OH (rec’d 14 Nov), TX (rec’d 10 Nov), VI (rec’d 14 Nov), WA (rec’d 25 Nov), and WV (rec’d 10 Nov).
  • If you live in one of the above states, never received your ballot and have not yet done so, please send in a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot. You can download the forms and instructions for your state at FVAP.
  • If you have sent in your ballot, give your county elections office a call to make sure it’s arrived. You can look up the phone number of your county’s office here. If there are any issues, you may still have time to fax, email or post a replacement.

5) Are there other ways to assist Democrats and Obama supporters in your area?

  • If you live near a major city, it is likely that a Democrats Abroad chapter or Americans Abroad for Obama group will be sponsoring an Election Watch party. You can find a big list of events here. You can also track down events using myBO; search for your area on this page. Volunteers may still be needed for these events! Contact the event’s organizer and let them know you’re willing to help. (If you are turned away because they have plenty of volunteers, then they will have plenty of volunteers to feed! Show your support and bake or take snacks and other goodies for those staffing the event.)

Each and every one of us can still have an impact on this election — please take a couple hours over the next day to ensure that a brighter day in American politics dawns on Nov. 5th!

yes we can!

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A few months ago, a friend of mine posted a note on an internet BB: “Just in case you were wondering, it IS possible to fly [in the U.S.] without ID. Lots of extra time, searches and questions involved, but it IS possible.”

If you’re a frequent flier, it’s probably not something you think about: showing your ID and boarding pass before you enter the checkpoint has become just another part of the absurd drill, like repackaging your personal care items and removing your jacket, belt and shoes for x-ray inspection.

But as this Supreme Court term has reminded us, there are thousands of U.S. citizens who do not have any form of government-issued photo ID getting through life just fine — until, that is, they try to exercise their rights to vote or to travel freely domestically. And in both of these cases, activists have forced to courts to clarify the limits of government power, pitting against each other the classic concerns of liberty and security.

In its January 2006 ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made clear for the first time the government’s (unpublished) regulation on passenger IDs:

The identification policy requires that airline passengers either present identification or be subjected to a more extensive search. (1155, emphasis added)

Just two weeks ago, the TSA pushed the federal court’s ruling even further by denying security screening to passengers refusing to show ID, even those who are willing to submit to additional screening measures.

Beginning Saturday, June 21, 2008 passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure area of airports. This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity.

This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers. Cooperative passengers without ID may be subjected to additional screening protocols, including enhanced physical screening, enhanced carry-on and/or checked baggage screening, interviews with behavior detection or law enforcement officers and other measures. (emphasis added)

In their 1973 ruling on airport searches (United States v. Davis, 482 F.2d 893, 912-13), the Ninth Circuit Court already made clear that it is NOT your right to fly: rather, you have the choice between submitting to search (thereby relinquishing your freedom from search and seizure, but boarding your flight) or leaving the airport (thereby maintaining your freedom from search, but relinquishing your flight). As they elaborate in the Gilmore ruling on the “additional screening protocols” required for non-ID-carrying passengers,

we considered several airport screening procedures, including behavioral profiling, magnetometer screening, identification check, and physical search of the passenger’s person and carry-on baggage. Id. at 900. We see little difference between the search measures discussed in Davis and those that comprise the “selectee” search option of the passenger identification policy at hand. (1156)

What makes the new TSA press statement significant is that it discriminates between non-ID carrying passengers based upon the circumstances of their ID-lessness or their attitude: if you are not in possession of recognized ID or if your ID has been lost or stolen (or if you lie and say so), you are welcome to undergo additional screening and head on to your flight; if, however, you do not show ID and make clear that it is on political grounds (i.e. that you know, in fact, that it’s not required to show ID and you don’t want to), you can be denied screening period.

The difference in sentiment lies in the tiny word OR in the red sentence above. The Ninth Circuit Court has made clear that a passenger refusing to show ID *AND* to undergo additional screening is in fact exercising their right NOT TO FLY. But the TSA doesn’t say AND, it says OR — meaning it can deny passengers screening based on either of those conditions, not the sum of their parts.


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Didn’t register in time to send a paper ballot to your state’s Super Tuesday primary? Take heart — January 31 is the final day to register for online voting in the Global Presidential Primary through Democrats Abroad. (It will still be possible to vote by mail or fax or even in person — in select cities on certain dates only — after today; however, internet voting is likely to be the easiest way for you to participate, especially if you live in a country without a DA chapter or don’t live in the capital of your country of residence.) Signing up takes only a few minutes of your time and ensures that your voice will be heard via 11 delegates at the national convention!

You can find more details here, and begin the registration process here. Be sure that you check the YES box next to “Do you want to participate in the Global Democratic Presidential Primary?” and fill in the necessary details in order to qualify for internet voting. Exercise your civil rights and vote!

[Note: Republicans don’t seem to have anything similar, otherwise I would gladly share that information here as well. If you’re a Republican and wish you were enfranchised, send the Republicans Abroad a message!]

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I recently received a reminder from the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg that it may be nearing time to vote in certain U.S. elections. The 2008 general election is still over 400 days away, but maybe your state, county or city is holding a primary or election this fall? And maybe you’ll be abroad on the big day?

First place to look and see if this will even affect you is your state’s Secretary of State’s website. You can find a link to all 50 states here.

If you want to know what you need to do to vote absentee, the best resource is the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website. You can find state-by-state instructions here.

It is best to complete all necessary registration and absentee ballot requests by the end of September, to ensure that everything reaches you in time for your vote to be returned and counted in the election. There are still a couple of September days left, so get on it!

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