July 04, 2006
Latinos driving to register voters
As today is Independence Day, I just wanted to note this exercise in democracy from the weekend for future reference.
Latino rights groups today are kicking off their strategy to register new citizens and children of immigrants as voters in a bid to increase the community's political power in the fall elections and beyond.
"Our people are angry. They are angry at the way that Republicans have treated them. They are scared that their families will be broken up. They are angry, and they are going to do something about it," said Christina Lopez, the deputy executive director for the Wash- ington-based Center for Community Change, a national umbrella group of immigration-focused groups.
Today's events — some to register voters and some to begin training volunteers to do so — will take place in at least 40 cities in 17 states.
In Texas, informational sessions are planned in Harlingen by the South Texas Immigration Council and in Houston by the Centro de Recursos para Centroamericanos, the Service Employees International Union and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
The goal is to harness potential new voters by educating permanent legal residents about how to become citizens and to register the American children of immigrants.
Together, the two groups make up just over 14 million people, all of whom could be potential voters by 2008, according to a report published by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Because it takes six months on average for citizenship applications to be processed, this number of voters will mostly likely not be eligible to vote in the fall elections.
Organizers of today's registration events say that they want to harness Latino and immigrant numbers into voting power for the 2008 presidential elections as well.
"This is a long-term strategy. It's a long-term outlook to engage the community, getting them involved in their own future," said Josh Hoyt, the executive director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Buena Suerte, y'all.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 04, 2006 to Show Business for Ugly People
Greg Palast in London
Matt Pascarella in Mexico City
Monday, 3 July The Guardian
Dispatch from Mexico City
Reuters reports that, as of 8pm eastern time, as voting concluded in Mexico, exit polls showed Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the “leftwing” party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) leading in exit polls over Felipe Calderon of the ruling conservative National Action party (PAN).
We’ve said again and again: exit polls tell us how voters say they voted, but the voters can’t tell pollsters whether their vote will be counted. In Mexico, counting the vote is an art, not a science - and Calderon’s ruling crew is very artful indeed. The PAN-controlled official electoral commission, not surprisingly, has announced that the presidential tally is too close to call.
Calderon’s election is openly supported by the Bush administration.
On the ground in Mexico city, our news team reports accusations from inside the Obrador campaign that operatives of the PAN had access to voter files that are supposed to be the sole property of the nation’s electoral commission. We are not surprised.
This past Friday, we reported that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had obtained Mexico’s voter files under a secret “counter-terrorism” contract with the database company ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia (See BUSH TEAM HELPS RULING PARTY “FLORIDIZE” MEXICAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.)The FBI’s contractor states that following the arrest of ChoicePoint agents by the Mexican government, the company returned or destroyed its files. The firm claims not to have known that collecting this information violated Mexican law. Such files can be useful in challenging a voter’s right to cast a ballot or in preventing that vote from counting.
It is, of course, impossible to know whether the FBI destroyed its own copy of the files of Mexico’s voter rolls obtained by ChoicePoint or whether these were then used to illegally assist the Calderon candidacy. But we can see the results: as in the US, first in Florida, then in Ohio, the exit polls are at odds with “official” polls.
In November 2004, the US Republican Senator Richard Lugar, in Kiev, cited the divergence of exit polls and official polls as solid evidence of “blatant fraud” in the vote count in Ukraine. As a result, the Bush administration refused to recognise the Ukraine government’s official vote tally - proving once again that republicans are incapable of irony.
The foreign mainstream press has already announced, despite the polling discrepancies, that Mexico’s elections were fair and clean, which would be a first for that country where Lopez Obrador’s party has seen its candidates defeated by “blatant fraud” before. The change this time is that the fraud is simply less blatant.
Watch for our video reports from Mexico City at www.GregPalast.com to be carried on Democracy Now!, with Amy Goodman, this Wednesday, July 5. Rick Rowley, in Mexico City, contributed to this report.
- Randi Rhodes Interviews Greg Palast about Choicepoint
- Choicepoint Responds to Palast on Randi Rhodes
This is very good for Latinos and for Democrats. While I don't favor unrestricted immigration, I think we should encourage more (legal) Hispanic participation. 92% of Hispanics voted against Henry Bonilla in 2002. Do you honestly think he would still be in office if more Hispanics had participated?
Exactly. So this is very good for democracy.
Mexico Girds for Legal Battle As Election Yields a Near Tie
By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, July 4, 2006; Page A01
MEXICO CITY, July 3 -- Felipe Calderón, a free-trade booster who wants to increase Mexico's presence in the global economy, held an ultra-thin lead of one percentage point over populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador in preliminary presidential election tallies released Monday.
Teams of lawyers are girding for a massive challenge of the results, threatening a crisis reminiscent of the disputed 2000 U.S. presidential election. Legal experts and campaign strategists here say the winner of Sunday's ballot might not be officially declared for up to two months.
Perhaps helpful may be this simple idea from Lynn Landes:
Right after you vote on Election Day, send to the candidate(s) for whom you voted a postcard or letter with your name, address, and signature, and simply state that you voted for him/her. Candidates can use that information to challenge "official" election results.
Candidates of any party should not concede until they have canvassed some or all precincts to check on official election results.