Politics Mellman: Protections & threats

14:15  28 october  2020
14:15  28 october  2020 Source:   thehill.com

LGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress

  LGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress LGBTQ rights are on the ballot this year, and unless we show up to support candidates who will be our champions in Congress, we will lose decades of hard-fought progress. In this election cycle, anti-equality groups even launched attack ads against transgender children. Yes, they can always go lower than you expect, and in this case use an out-dated political playbook to get there. However, more now than ever, 57 million LGBTQ and allied voters - people who value truth and opportunity - don't fall for these types of campaigns and won't support anti-equality politicians at the ballot box.The choice is clear this fall.

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Here's the good news: Thousands of state and local officials - attorneys general, secretaries of state, governors, state and county boards of elections, and state and local law enforcement - are working assiduously to protect your right to vote, to have that vote counted and to ensure that vote counts in deciding our nation's future.

The bad news is that the president and his minions are working overtime to suppress the vote and transfer the locus of political decision making away from the people, and to bodies favorable to him instead.

The spectrum of threats ranges from arcane but legitimate rules, to the unconstitutional usurpation of power and the illegal use of force.

Trump order strips workplace protections from civil servants

  Trump order strips workplace protections from civil servants A new executive order from President Trump makes it easier to hire and fire civil servants that work on policy, stripping some protections from career employees before a potential change in administration.Federal employee unions are billing the order as the biggest change to federal workforce protections in a century, converting many federal workers to "at will" employment. It also makes it easier to hire new employees outside of the competitive process - something critics say could be used to hire policy employees without appropriate experience.

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Allow me to highlight just three impediments to ensuring the will of the people is registered and carried out.

While Donald Trump thinks some white supremacists are "very fine people," his own Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently labeled these groups "the most persistent and lethal threat in the Homeland."

Ominously, DHS reports, these groups may be taking aim at the November election, targeting events related to the "election itself, election results, or the post-election period. Such actors could mobilize quickly to threaten or engage in violence."

Violence by Trump allies will attempt to frighten Democrats away from the polls and to give the president an excuse to engage the armed federal units that helped incite and intensify riots in Portland, Ore., and elsewhere.

Trump executive order strips protections for key federal workers, drawing backlash

  Trump executive order strips protections for key federal workers, drawing backlash Unions and Democrats were quick to criticize the move as a bid to inject politics into the public sector workforce. Gallery: Prop. 13 overhaul losing ground in new poll; affirmative action trails (San Francisco Chronicle) “This is the most profound undermining of the civil service in our lifetimes," American Federation of Government Employees President Everett Kelley said in a statement Thursday. "The president has doubled down on his effort to politicize and corrupt the professional service.

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A second threat is the president's ongoing effort to delegitimize every vote cast by Election Day but counted afterward. Trump's latest salvo: Monday's Tweet - "Big problems...with Mail-In Ballots...Must have final total on November 3rd".

There are no such problems, and under our Constitution, each state regulates its own elections, deciding for themselves when to start processing absentee votes and until when to accept those postmarked by Election Day. No rule, law or precedent requires a complete count on Nov. 3.

Trump only elevates the Nov. 3 results because the early returns, which in many states will not include absentees, will be more likely to favor him. The reason: this year, Democrats have been voting by mail much more frequently than Republicans.

Video: Trump appointee cites 'matter of conscience' in resigning over Trump federal worker order (MSNBC)

Third, among myriad threats, will be systematic attempts to disqualify ballots.

The ‘Trump Pride’ rally won’t win over LGBTQ voters. So why hold it?

  The ‘Trump Pride’ rally won’t win over LGBTQ voters. So why hold it? Welcome to “homonationalism,” or justifying anti-immigrant policies by arguing that immigrants threaten gay rights. Some on social media called the video “cringeworthy.” LGBTQ advocates widely attacked the claim that Trump was pro-gay. For instance, Equality Florida’s director Nadine Smith said in a statement, “Donald Trump is the worst president the LGBTQ community has ever seen.

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In 2016, 318,728 mail-in ballots were rejected. Thirty-two states can reject your ballot without even telling you.

Professors David Cottrell, Michael Herron and Daniel Smith analyzed data from Florida's 2018 election and found 27,885 mailed ballots were rejected.

That number is two and half times greater than the margin by which Republican Rick Scott won his Senate seat that year.

Not knowing for whom they were cast, we can't say rejected ballots made the difference, but they could have.

With this year's avalanche of mail votes, there'll be more rejections.

Those rejections hit communities disproportionately. In 2018, votes from Black Floridians were more than twice as likely to be rejected as votes from whites. And Latino votes were over two and half times more likely to be rejected than votes cast by white people.

Those who haven't voted by mail in the past are almost three times more likely to be rejected than ballots from those with vote-by-mail experience. With more new mail voters than ever, rejection will be a bigger problem.

To be sure, some of these rejections were, and will be, "valid" under the rules, but unscrupulously partisan officials can wreak havoc in a close race.

Voters can help ensure their mail vote is accepted, not only by reading and precisely following sometimes convoluted instructions, but also by checking on their ballot and "curing" potential problems.

While Florida officials must inform voters if their mail-in ballots have been rejected, in most states, it's on you to contact your board of elections to determine whether your mail ballot was rejected and take steps to get it counted.

To make certain you count, check on and cure your mail ballot.

Mellman is president of The Mellman Group and has helped elect 30 U.S. senators, 12 governors and dozens of House members. Mellman served as pollster to Senate Democratic leaders for over 20 years, as president of the American Association of Political Consultants, and is president of Democratic Majority for Israel.

Trump strips protections for endangered gray wolves .
Hunters and ranchers celebrate while conservationists say wolves will be hunted to extinction. Under a final rule expected to go into effect early next week, Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt said state wildlife agencies will assume control of managing an estimated 6,000 wolves, mostly in three Midwestern states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. About 1,800 gray wolves are present in other states such as Oregon, California and Washington.

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