In honor of Election Day, here’s some voting advice from “The West Wing” courtesy of HuffPost Entertainment.
There’s a good chance that if you’re on social media, your friends will post — or try to post — a photo of themselves doing their civic duty and casting their vote.
But in some places, they could go to jail for doing so. And in other places, where there isn’t actually any law prohibiting the practice, they may be barred from doing so anyway by state officials. The restrictions aim to prevent voter intimidation or voting bribery, both practices that are prohibited under federal law. But the state policies becomes more gray when a photographer isn’t participating in those activities.
Election law on what’s allowed at polling places has not kept up to reflect the ubiquity of smartphones. Instead, secretaries of state and other officials are left interpreting outdated statutes and creating policies that are often unevenly applied and confusing for ordinary voters to figure out. They not only vary from state to state, but also from precinct to precinct.
A gun rights activist in Alabama was arrested this morning after attempting to enter his precinct while wearing a holstered pistol, AL.com reports.
The activist, Robert Kennedy Jr., is a founding member of the gun-rights group BamaCarry. He was reportedly armed with a loaded .357 Magnum Taurus revolver at the time of his arrest.
Kennedy believes Alabama law allows voters to take their firearms into polling stations, and has twice attempted to vote while armed this year. He was turned away from voting in the primary in June, but he was allowed to vote in the run-off that was held in July.
According to a statement from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, all the county’s polling locations have “no firearms” signs posted at the entrance of precincts, in order to ensure that all voters have the right to cast ballots in an “influence-free environment.”
— Nick Wing
The Huffington Post’s Dana Liebelson reports:
A Virginia Republican congressman and the state’s GOP are claiming they’ve received reports of faulty polling machines in almost two dozen locations, with voters intending to vote Republican accidentally selecting the Democratic candidate instead. But the voter registrar in his district is reporting considerably fewer irregularities.
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) is running for re-election against Democrat Suzanne Patrick, a retired commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Rigell said at a press conference Tuesday morning that he’d received reports from 25 people in 19 precincts across the 2nd District who had tried to cast votes for him, but had their votes initially redirected to Patrick. The voters were ultimately able to switch their votes back.
Atlanta native Ed Helms is supporting Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn in her Senate race against Republican David Perdue.
Helms, a star of “The Office” and “The Hangover” franchise, tweeted a photo of himself with Nunn on Tuesday:
— Ed Helms (@edhelms) November 4, 2014
The Huffington Post’s Dave Jamieson and Ariel Edwards-Levy report:
Most voters heading into Tuesday’s elections said they believe income inequality has grown worse in recent years and think it’s important to raise the minimum wage, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
Sixty-nine percent of likely voters surveyed said the gap between the rich and poor in America has grown wider in the past decade, while only 24 percent said it has shrunk or stayed the same. Nearly 40 percent of those voters said the midterm candidates haven’t spoken enough about income inequality, while 29 percent said they have made too much of it.
The Huffington Post’s Paul Blumenthal reports:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) on the election trail Oct. 25 to rally Democrats ahead of Tuesday’s crucial midterm elections. The two Democrats had more in common than just a stage: Hagan’s re-election race, like Clinton’s 2000 bid, was in the process of becoming one of the most expensive Senate races in modern U.S. history.
In 2000, while her husband former President Bill Clinton still occupied the White House, Hillary Clinton squared off against then-Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.). The two candidates spent a combined .4 million on their campaigns. Adjusted for inflation, that would be .2 million in 2013 dollars. (Clinton was also boosted by at least million in soft money from Democratic Party committees, but at the time it was not necessary to report this spending publicly.)
Lucky Denver voters may run into Constance Rolon, 96, who has worked as an election judge since 1953. According to the Denver Post, Rolon first took up the job because she thought it would be good experience while studying political science.
“It takes me a long time to dress when I’m working because I want to dress special for work,” said Rolon in a video produced by the paper. Rolon also always wears a flower in her hair when working, and said she’s willing to give people two or three “I Voted” stickers if they ask for them.
Watch the Denver Post video here.
— Amanda Terkel
For her closing argument, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) posted a video of Hillary Clinton’s rousing endorsement, in which the former secretary of state says the Granite State needs a workhorse like Shaheen, not a showhorse like former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.
Brown’s final video is, well, much slicker, and apparently getting watched by many more people. Both are below.
— Michael McAuliff
The Huffington Post’s Carly Schwartz reports:
Voters in Guam approved a ballot initiative Tuesday that would legalize marijuana for “debilitating medical conditions” such as epilepsy, HIV, cancer and glaucoma. The vote makes Guam the first U.S. territory to legalize medical pot.
Guam’s decision marks the first victory in a flurry of marijuana-related ballot measures this Election Day. Residents of Florida will also vote on a medical marijuana bill, and voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., will decide whether to legalize pot for recreational purposes. Two Maine cities are also voting on full-scale legalization, and two New Mexico counties are mulling decriminalization.
Read here for more.
We’ve been diligent little fact-checkers all year long. Well, not today.
It’s Election Day, folks, and we’ve done all we can do to help educate voters about the candidates and their positions. Now, it’s time to have some fun.
Here, for your reading and viewing pleasure, we recognize some of the political ads that made us laugh, dance, gasp, cringe or some combination thereof.
This year’s award recipients include an entertaining ad about a politician gone mad, a trailer for a bad fake film about loan sharks, a racy parody of erectile dysfunction commercials and an ad featuring an endorsement from a Bible-carrying, gun-toting celebrity.
HuffPost’s Amber Ferguson, Sarah Harvard, Akbar Shahid Ahmed and Diane Jeanty report:
This election cycle, candidates from both parties have shown that when it comes to courting millennials, “the limit does not exist.”
Senate candidate Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) posted a “Mean Girls”-inspired tweet to urge young people to get out and vote. The College Republican National Committee made a “Say Yes To The Dress” spoof associating Republican Gov. Rick Scott with the perfect wedding dress. No matter their party affiliation, it seems, political operatives will stop at nothing to build support among the coveted demographic of 18- to 29-year-old voters.
But efforts to reach out to young voters are largely based on what political consultants imagine millennials want to hear — and on the assumption that they are keen to vote at all.
For more, including video interviews with millennial voters, go here.
Between 6 a.m. EST, when the first polls opened, and 11:10 a.m. EST, there have been 27,203 tweets mentioning “I voted” or “#IVoted.”
— Ethan Klapper
HuffPost’s results pages are live! Follow them tonight for results from races around the nation.
HuffPost’s Kate Sheppard writes:
A freak early-season snowstorm has paralyzed large parts of Maine, leaving thousands without power and putting a damper on today’s election.
Some parts of the state recorded up to 21 inches of snow. CentralMaine.com reports that up to 65,000 residents were still without power as of Monday, and some towns had to change their polling locations because of the outage.
Read more here.
HuffPost’s Mark Blumenthal and Ariel Edwards-Levy report:
Anyone watching Tuesday’s midterms should be ready to settle in for a long election night — a plethora of close races, slow ballot-counting in states like Alaska and the potential for runoffs means some races could remain unsettled for months.
While it may be tempting to rely on the early exit poll results that inevitably leak around dinnertime — don’t. The numbers won’t tell you much at all.
Read more here.
HuffPost’s Amanda Duberman writes:
In 1921, Missouri voters passed a ballot measure amending the state constitution to allow women to hold political office. This was also the first election after the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting all U.S. women the right to vote.
The ability of women’s votes to affect women’s lives revealed itself instantly, and it’s as pressing as ever in 2014.
See more here.
Mother Jones’ Patrick Caldwell reports:
The frat brothers of Alpha Gamma Rho were on their best behavior Monday night—khakis with creases and matching polos as far as the eye could see. Joni Ernst, the Republican Senate candidate, had stopped by Iowa State University in Ames to round up a few last votes. “With all of your help, she’ll be Iowa’s next leader in the nation’s capital,” one baby-faced, blond fraternity fellow said by way of introduction, handing the microphone to Ernst, as another student put Katy Perry’s “Roar” on the speakers.
This was a Republican-heavy frat, junior Kellen Suntken and senior Tanner Stutsman, both agricultural studies majors, had told me before the event. “Just a lot of common sense,” Suntken said, when I asked why he liked Ernst. “A lot of Republican values as far as that mother/soldier background. She’s realistic and down to earth in what Iowans want, what Iowans need.”
Read more here.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Megan Moseley reports:
The leading edge of the lava flow from Kilauea Volcano remained stalled Monday, easing any fears that the molten rock would further disrupt Election Day for disaster-weary Puna.
But scientists at the Volcano Observatory said active breakouts of lava were present just above the stalled front.
As of 5 p.m. Monday a small finger of lava was advancing down along the north edge of the private parcel that the flow entered last week. It was about 175 yards behind the stalled front and moving parallel to it at about 11 yards per hour, scientists said.
Read more here.
President Obama isn’t on the ballot Tuesday, but you wouldn’t know it from watching this year’s congressional and gubernatorial debates.
The Huffington Post pored through debate transcripts from this election cycle, a list of which follows below, and found over 500 mentions of “Obama.” This does not include references to “Obamacare,” the “president” or any other allusion to the commander-in-chief.
Take a look at this video for a sampling of the presidential name-drops.
— Lauren Weber & Adriana Usero
By the end of a campaign, politicians are tired. And tired politicians tend to do curious things, usually with the hope of coming off as a run-of-the-mill citizen just trying to be your elected representative.
In that vein, here is footage of Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, sticking her pinky finger in a foamy beer she poured for the patron of a bar.
The video comes courtesy of Garrett Quinn of MassLive News.
Republican Elise Stefanik is leading by double-digits in the race to replace Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), and expected to win Tuesday. If she does, she will become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Stefanik is 30 years old. The current record is held by Elizabeth Holtzman, who was 31 when she took office in 1973.
The Washington Post has more on Stefanik’s background:
In 2012, Stefanik was as a policy director for the Republican National Committee, helping to craft the party’s platform and making sure vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan memorized its contours in debate-friendly doses. In 2011, she worked as a director of new media for Tim Pawlenty’s presidential exploratory committee. She had stints with the conservative think tanks Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Foreign Policy Initiative, and founded a now-defunct site for conservative women, as North Country Public Radio, which has done extensive reporting into all the 21st District candidates, reported.
At Harvard, where she graduated from in 2006 with honors and received the Women’s Leadership Award, Stefanik sometimes wrote about politics and women in politics for the Crimson, but often as a call for less apathy and more problem solving, ideology not included. (She also wrote about less weighty things, “We, at Harvard, can still meticulously prepare to make gazillions of dollars, change the world, found a nonprofit and be elected senator. But every once in a while, the best decision we will make is allowing ourselves to fall — the way Elvis and Romeo do.”) She served as vice-president of Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and co-wrote an op-ed with the institute’s then acting director, Jeanne Shaheen, on why college students should be more involved in the political process.
As The Huffington Post’s Laura Bassett reported Monday, at least five new women of color are poised to win their congressional races this cycle as well.
— Amanda Terkel
Sunshine State News’ Allison Nielsen reports:
Gov. Rick Scott will be teaming up with Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday to make his final push for his second term in Tallahassee.
Perry will join Scott all over the state, making stops in Miami, Fort Myers, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Pensacola.
Read more here.
Defense One’s Molly O’Toole reports:
Republicans appear to have the momentum to gain the six seats they need to take the Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections. But the possibility of runoffs in Georgia and Louisiana means the majority could remain undecided into the next Congress.
Even if Democrats lose Senate control, Republicans aren’t expected to snag many seats beyond a small majority. Regardless of the results, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees will get new leadership, and several other key national security committees could see a changeover if Republicans take control of the Senate.
Read more here.
Take a look at the latest forecasts for the 2014 gubernatorial races here.
The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker report:
WASHINGTON — The most expensive midterm campaign in American history stumbled into Election Day on Tuesday with voters’ interest at record lows and their divisions deep over what they want their government to do in President Obama’s final two years.
Republicans entered the final hours confident they will gain at least six seats and take control of the Senate, but polls showed several races too close to call. Likely runoffs in Georgia and Louisiana, along with late vote counts in Alaska, Colorado and Iowa, will mean Senate control may remain in doubt beyond Tuesday night.
The same could be true for governors’ races in Colorado, New Hampshire, Georgia and Florida.
Read more here.
HuffPost’s Kimberly Yam writes:
This woman is almost a century old, but it isn’t too late for her to take advantage of all her new citizenship has to offer.
Chenyi Pan, 97, spent most of her life in China, but found herself without family in her home country when her children came to America to study, and her husband died in 2009, Winona Daily News reported. It was then that she decided to join her son and daughter in the U.S. A few months ago, the 97-year-old became a U.S. citizen, and on Tuesday, she will get to exercise one of the rights that comes with her citizenship — the ability to vote.
Read more here.
The AP reports:
Vice President Joe Biden is pitching an Election Day get-out-the-vote message on talk radio. Biden is promoting the Obama administration’s economic agenda to listeners in crucial Senate and governor race battlegrounds.
Biden spoke to stations Tuesday morning in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and in the Quad Cities area on the Iowa and Illinois border.
He told a Scranton radio host that even if Republicans win control of the Senate, he and President Barack Obama will push for policies that address what he called an “overwhelming dislocation of wealth.”
Biden said wealthy hedge fund managers should not pay lower tax rates than middle-income Americans. He said oil and gas corporations should not get tax breaks. Obama has been unable to change those taxes even with a Democratic majority in the Senate.
Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer reports:
Over the past decade, Republican legislators have pushed a number of measures critics say are blatant attempts to suppress minority voting, including voter ID requirements, shortened early voting periods, and limits on same-day voter registration. But minority voters are often disenfranchised in another, more subtle way: polling places without enough voting machines or poll workers.
Charts: How minority voters were blocked at the ballot box in 2012.
These polling places tend to have long lines to vote. Long lines force people to eventually give up and go home, depressing voter turnout. And that happens regularly all across the country in precincts with lots of minority voters, even without voter ID or other voting restrictions in place.
Read more here.