Young liberals convene to boost their generation's activism
Hundreds of young progressives from across the country are coming together in downtown Washington this week, hoping to energize youth advocacy on the left in the 2020 campaign and beyond.
The first-ever Youth Action Summit 2020 — fittingly shortened to "Yas! 2020"— kicked off Tuesday with a call for youth involvement in politics from Florida's Andrew Gillum, one of the nation's most prominent Democratic figures from Generation X.
At 23, while still a student at Florida A&M, Gillum became the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee city commission. He was elected mayor in 2014 when he was 35 and four years later lost the governorship by less than half a percentage point.
Gillum said he found a silver lining in his defeat: his contribution to boosting youth voter engagement. Three out every eight Floridians 18 to 29 voted in 2018, a whopping 15 percentage point increase from the previous gubernatorial election.
"The reason why we have chosen to invest so deeply in young people and the youth of our country is because for some reason y'all happen to be less encumbered," Gillum said. "You actually take time to say, 'If we had a couple of moments to dream, what would it look like?'"
So many people want to draw the political boundaries for the nation's biggest state that California's Citizens Redistricting Commission application deadline has been extended.
State Auditor Elaine Howle, who is in charge of an extraordinarily complex process for selecting the 14 "ordinary citizen" commissioners, set a new deadline of Aug. 19 after reporting she's received 13,735 applications in eight weeks — and that the papers are now coming in at a rate of 1,000 a day.
"Many more Californians who are learning more about redistricting and are developing an interest in the opportunity may now want to take advantage of the chance to draw California's congressional and state legislative district lines," she said in announcing the extension.
Turnout was boosted between 3 and 5 percentage points last year by mobile voting in West Virginia, the first state in the country to permit such balloting in a federal election.
Members of the armed forces and other overseas voters from 24 of the state's 55 counties were allowed to vote online in the midterm. The limited experiment was orchestrated by the Republican secretary of state, Mac Warner, who cited his own frustration in trying to vote while stationed overseas in the Army.
"The effects of voting online could potentially be even greater if it were implemented in a more convenient way," the University of Chicago's Anthony Fowler, who conducted the research, told the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. "Mobile voting could have a profound impact on increasing voter turnout and potentially reduce inequalities in participation."
Lobbyists have come under increasing scrutiny, and calls for new legal prohibitions ignore both laws already on the books and constitutional protections, according to Paul A. Miller, president of the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics.
The paper trail has become the industry standard for giving voters and elections officials confidence that ballots haven't been hacked. Now comes another back-to-the-future move for boosting security and bolstering public confidence in elections: the return of the 10-sided dice.
The quirky toys found in many high school classrooms and role-playing games are part of a pilot program announced this week in Pennsylvania, which is joining a handful of other states in trying out a math-based system for checking the accuracy of election returns.
The "risk-limiting audit" searches for irregularities in vote tallies and relies on some seriously advanced statistical analysis combined with a bit of analog randomness, which is where auditors using those pentagonal trapezohedrons (the dice) at public audit hearings will get involved.
Indiana is not moving nearly assertively enough to upgrade its voting machines so they're less vulnerable to hackers, a nonprofit alleges in a federal lawsuit pressing the state to spend millions more before the presidential election.
At issue is the timetable for eliminating the direct recording electronic, or DRE, voting machines that are in use in 58 of the state's 92 counties. The complaint filed Thursday by Indiana Vote by Mail, which advocates for any array of proposals to give Hoosiers easier access to the ballot box, wants to force the state to replace the paperless devices in the next year with machines that produce a voter-verified paper audit trail.
Indiana for now looks to be among just eight states using paperless balloting in 2020, when President Trump will be counting on its 11 electoral votes. The state last went for the Democratic candidate for president in 2008.