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Friday, April 18, 2014

End Partisanship Campaign Moving Into More States



The EndPartisanship.org coalition filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey demanding that every voter should have an equal and meaningful vote at every stage of the state-funded election process, regardless of their party affiliation or non-affiliation.

Over 47% of New Jersey voters choose not to register with a political party and 42% of American voters now self-identify as Independent or unaffiliated voters, yet most states have primary systems that give political parties special access to the voting franchise and penalize voters who do not wish to join a political party.

Fewer than 8% of all registered voters participated in New Jersey’s last primary election at a cost of $12 million to the taxpayers.  This amounted to more than $92 per vote cast.  And 2.6 million New Jersey voters were not allowed to vote in the primary election unless they joined either the Republican or Democratic Party.

This campaign is now moving into more states, possibly yours! But first we need some help from you to pool the resources that will be necessary to put voters above parties and constitutionally challenge exclusive, partisan elections across the nation.


The #EndPartisanship campaign is launching the next phase of the state-by-state legal strategy on Monday, May 12th at 5:30 pm PT.

It will take place at the Law Firm of Thorsnes, Bartalotta, McGuire LLP in San Diego, California.

Representing #EndPartisanship:

Jeffrey Krinsk
David Noonan
Patrick Shea
Tom Warwick
Steve Peace
Jeff Marston
Professor Lawrence Claus

CLICK HERE for more information and to show your support for this issue.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote!

Michael H. Drucker
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Live Below The Line Campaign



Find out why over 25,000 people across the world have taken the challenge to eat and drink on $1.50 a day for 5 days, raising over $4.4 million for the world’s leading anti-poverty organizations.

Live Below the Line is an innovative awareness and fundraising campaign that's making a huge difference in the fight against extreme poverty.  Quite simply, we’re building a movement of passionate people willing and able to make a meaningful difference to those who need it most.

Live Below the Line is the week of April 28th – May 2nd, 2014.

Live Below the Line is challenging individuals and communities to eat and drink on just $1.50 per day for 5 days, to raise awareness of the lack of choice and opportunity faced by the 1.2 billion people currently living in extreme poverty.

Think about that figure - 1.2 BILLION - living every day in extreme poverty.

Participants choose to take the challenge and fund-raise for one of their charity partners whose work is vital to ending extreme poverty.

When we say ‘extreme’ poverty we mean the poorest people in the world.  The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.25 US dollars per day.

And right now, 1.2 billion people across the world live in extreme poverty. Live Below the Line believes that we have an obligation to reduce that number dramatically.

Live Below the Line is an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, a campaign and advocacy organization whose mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action against extreme poverty.

In 2009 Rich Fleming from the Global Poverty Project and Nick Allardice from the Oaktree Foundation in Australia, were living together in a share house.  Nick and Rich shared a common passion for alleviating poverty.  Many of their conversations highlighted how hard it was to truly understand the lack of freedom and choice that living in extreme poverty entails.

Together, Nick and Rich saw the opportunity to take this concept to thousands of citizens across the world to help them appreciate the reality of extreme poverty and, in doing so, raise critical money to continue the work needed to end extreme poverty.

Live Below the Line hopes to deepen understanding of the challenges faced by individuals living in extreme poverty, and to raise vital funds for crucial anti-poverty initiatives.

In 2014, Live Below the Line is running in the US, UK and Canada simultaneously in order to raise money for their partner organizations.

Across the world, thousands of people will join the movement to tackle extreme poverty.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the campaign and to join.











NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote!

Michael H. Drucker
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ACLU of Arkansas Files Suit Over Voter I.D. Law


Thanks to Ballet Access News for this post.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Law Center filed a lawsuit in state court today on behalf of four plaintiffs seeking to overturn the state's voter I.D. law as violating the state constitution.

The legislature passed Act 595, over Gov. Mike Beebe's veto, in 2013, requiring a photo I.D.

The suit cites the Arkansas constitution, which says:

Elections shall be free and equal.  No power, civil or military, shall ever interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage; nor shall any law be enacted whereby such right shall be impaired or forfeited, except for the commission of a felony, upon lawful conviction thereof.

To vote, an Arkansas citizen must now be in possession of a I.D. card issued by the federal government, the state or an accredited post-secondary school in Arkansas.

Don't have a car?  No longer driving?  Aren't in the military?  Aren't in school?  Not a world traveler equipped with a passport?  Don't work for the state?

Plaintiffs in the suit are Freedom Kohls, Toylanda Smith and Joe Flakes, who do not possess photo I.D.s, and Barry Haas, who has one but declined to show it at the polls at an election this year and was required to cast a provisional ballot, which was not counted in the election results.  Defendants are Secretary of State Mark Martin and the members of the state Board of Election Commissioners.

Kohls is a 34-year-old Hurricane Katrina refugee who lost all her possessions, including her ID, in the storm.  Smith has had trouble navigating the system to get a photo I.D., which is required to get a birth certificate.  Flakes is 78 and was never issued a birth certificate because he was delivered by a midwife who did not properly record his birth; he'd have to go to court to get a birth certificate.

At a press conference in front of the Pulaski County Courthouse this afternoon, ACLU director Rita Sklar called the right to vote fundamental and the "great equalizer" that gives the same weight of opinion at the polls to all.  She said voter impersonation was not a problem; the law only serves to make it harder for "the poor, the disabled, the elderly, people of color" to vote: "This law stands between qualified voters and the ballot box."  ACLU lawyer Holly Dickson noted that the new law also requires that the name on the voter I.D. match the name the voter registered under, which create hurdles for women who taken their husband's name since registering and whose I.D. reflects the name.

Sklar and Dickson said it was their experience in meeting people across the state that most people do not know the law exists.

The complaint has been assigned to Judge Tim Fox's court.  The suit asks Fox to enjoin the state from requiring a voter I.D.; the ACLU would like to see him act before the May 20 primary.*mnsp; The deadline to register to vote is Monday, April 21.

If Fox does not issue an injunction but rules after the primary that the state law is unconstitutional, disenfranchised voters could sue to nullify the results of the election.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote!

Michael H. Drucker
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McCutcheon Lawyer Brings New Campaign Finance Cases


This is an update from a prior post from an article in POLITICO by Byron Tau.

The attorney who brought the successful campaign finance challenge McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission is back with a new case concerning the rules governing political action committees.  Dan Backer of the firm DB Capitol Strategies has filed suit on behalf of several plaintiffs, arguing that the laws regarding political action committee donation limits are arbitrary, indefensible and an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause.

"These discriminatory restrictions impermissibly allow entrenched institutions and interests to engage in protected First Amendment activities to a greater extent than newly formed grassroots organizations that have spontaneously mobilized in response to emergent political issues and developments," alleges the lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

At issue are campaign finance laws dating to the 1970s that set different donation limits based on the age of a political action committee.  PACs that are less than 6 months old are permitted to give up to $5,200 to a candidate in an election cycle, while PACs more than 6 months old can give $10,000 per election cycle.

By contrast, new PACs can give $10,000 to a state political party committee and $32,400 to a national political party per year.  Those limits actually decrease once a PAC reaches 6 months old to $5,000 each year to a state or local party and $15,000 annually to a national party.

“The right of groups and individuals to speak are being treated very differently,” Backer said in an interview.

The challenge was filed on behalf of a tea party political action committee, a local Virginia political party and a Republican congressional candidate running in Nevada.

Many of those rules were initially established by Congress to prevent someone from forming a network of brand-new PACs to circumvent contribution restrictions on individuals and PACs.  But Backer says the campaign finance landscape has changed and evolved significantly since Congress set those limits more than 40 years ago.

Since then, the Supreme Court has affirmed the right of donors, corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of cash independent of campaigns.  The court also recently struck down the aggregate contribution limit in McCutcheon, a case that Backer first brought.

Backer also said he’s planning on bringing a future challenge to other federal campaign finance laws.  Specifically, Backer said he’d like to challenge the law that indexed individual contribution limits to inflation, but not PAC donations.  Individual donation limits increase every cycle based on inflation and are currently set by the FEC at $5,200 per cycle.  PAC donations to candidates, on the other hand, have been set at $10,000 per election since the 1970s.  Inflation has steadily eaten away at the real dollar value of that limit.

“I’m going to be bringing that case almost certainly sometime this year,” Backer said. The fact that PAC contributions remain un-indexed to inflation is “completely insane,” he said.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote!

Michael H. Drucker
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United We Stand Festival at UCLA





The newest video trailer for Free & Equal’s United We Stand Festival at UCLA on May 10th has been released today!

Produced by United We Stand Fest musical performer The Siren, the trailer features our major musical performers and speakers to truly represent this powerful, positive, and peaceful movement to overcome political corruption and create a better world.



The United We Stand Festival at UCLA is the kickoff for a University Bus Tour across America, combining music and education to awaken the nation.

Inspiring the young and the old to help elect principled leaders who are not swayed by special interests, but who can restore a world of peace, liberty, harmony, justice, ecology, prosperity, for all.

Musical headliners at UCLA include Public Enemy, members of Wu-Tang Clan, Immortal Technique, The Siren, Cynic, Tatiana Moroz, Rooftop Revolutionaries, A-Alikes, Luminaries, Jon Goodhue, Sounds of Solidarity, and more.

Speakers include Larry King (media legend), Ben & Jerry (Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream), Marianne Williamson (New York Times bestselling author & independent congressional candidate [CA-33]), David Bronner (CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps), and Sean Stone (son of Oliver Stone, host of Buzzsaw).

Other notable figures include Dr. Jill Stein, Gov. Gary Johnson, Amber Lyon (Emmy-winning journalist/whistleblower), Ben Swann (Emmy-winning journalist), Diane Goldstein (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), Mnar Muhawesh (Mint Press News), and many more.

Tickets are on sale now, at the revolutionary price of $17.76, at UCLA Central Ticket Office and Ticketmaster.com.

Free & Equal Elections Foundation is an election reform organization dedicated to the idea that all citizens should enjoy an equal share of the rights and responsibilities of our nation's governance. We strive to create a system in which all citizens are equal in their ability to participate.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote!

Michael H. Drucker
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Monday, April 14, 2014

April 15 is a National Day of Representation


On Tuesday, April 15th, people across America will hold a sign, recruit supporters, and do creative actions to demand “No Taxation Without Representation.”



Policy decisions on nearly every issue, regardless of public opinion, are decided by whoever can write the biggest campaign check.  That’s great for the handful of people who can afford to buy access, but for the rest of us, it’s taxation without representation.  You shouldn’t have to buy access to your own government.

It’s time for politicians to represent us, not big money special interests.

Tax Day is the perfect time to remind our government they’re supposed to work for us, not lobbyists.  So on April 15th, we’re calling for a National Day of Representation!

CLICK HERE to join us.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote!

Michael H. Drucker
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

In FL You Have to Decide to Vote or Go to the Bathroom


Remember how bad the voter lines were on Election Day in 2012? In Florida, some stayed in line for over six hours.

And now, they won’t be able to use the bathroom.  The Miami-Dade County Elections Department has quietly implemented a policy to close the bathrooms at all polling facilities.

Voters would have to choose between voting, or using the bathroom.

This is a political scheme to depress voter turnout in a heavily Democratic county, and it’s also probably illegal for violating basic disability laws.

CLICK HERE to sign this petition: Urge U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the new Florida voting rule which closes all restrooms at polling places on Election Day.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote!

Michael H. Drucker
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