THE CLASSROOM.

THE CLASSROOM. ANAY BICKHAM, DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA. WHAT HAPPENED IN ARIZONA IS UNACCEPTABLE. DATE- 3/29/2016. #20.

I’ve lived in Phoenix for more than 20 years -- and what I witnessed last Tuesday during Arizona’s presidential primary is unacceptable.  


Election Day should have gone smoothly. In the days leading up to the election, people were excited. But when I went to my polling place on Tuesday, long lines stretched around the building -- and people were visibly angry and frustrated.

I wasn’t alone. According to news reports, voters stood in lines for hours in several locations -- some as long as 5 hours or more. Only 60 polling sites were open in Maricopa County -- the most diverse, populated county in the region with the highest voter turnout in Arizona. Many people were turned away or walked away -- unable to vote. 

Believe it or not, Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell -- who has been in charge of elections and making sure every vote counts in the county since 1988 -- immediately defended herself, answering a reporter's question by asserting that voters were to blame:

"Well, the voters for getting in line, maybe us for not having enough voting places."

Last Wednesday, during a county board meeting Purcell changed her tune by taking responsibility. But this is not enough.

Purcell's outrageous decision to close 140 of 200 polling places disenfranchised marginalized communities from the voting process. For voters who were able to travel long distances to one of these polling places, many were turned away.

For decades, Arizona has been at the forefront of voter suppression -- disenfranchising Black and Latino communities.  During last Tuesday's primary, it happened again, as some areas largely populated by residents of color had only one polling place or no polling place at all. As Ari Berman in The Nation wrote:
"Election officials said they reduced the number of polling sites to save money -- an ill-conceived decision that severely inconvenienced hundreds of thousands of voters. Previously, Maricopa County would have needed to receive federal approval for reducing the number of polling sites, because Arizona was one of sixteen states where jurisdictions with a long history of discrimination had to submit their voting changes under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act."

"This type of change would very likely have been blocked since minorities comprise 40 percent of Maricopa County’s population and reducing the number of polling places would have left minority voters worse off… But after the Supreme Court gutted the [Voting Rights Act] in 2013, Arizona could make election changes without federal oversight."

"The long lines in Maricopa County last night were the latest example of the disastrous consequences of that [Supreme Court] decision."

Many Republican officials, charged with the responsibility of election oversight, continually work to restrict access to voting by closing polls, misinforming voters, and enacting Voter ID laws -- creating frustration, fear, and vulnerability for many continually work to restrict access to voting by closing polls, misinforming voters, and enacting Voter ID laws -- creating frustration, fear, and vulnerability for many communities.







THE CLASSROOM. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL. U.S. SENATOR. TAKE ACTION: Equal pay for equal work. #21.


If you follow soccer, you know two big things happened recently: One, our U.S. Women’s National Team stormed to a 7-0 victory here in Connecticut. Two, we learned that despite this triumph, the incredible women on that team are paid just a fraction of what’s paid to members of the men’s team.

Unfortunately they are not alone: On average, American women earn just 79 cents for every dollar men are paid for completing the exact same work.  I need you to join me and send an unequivocal message: Whether on a soccer field or an oil field, in a corner office or a corner store, every person deserves to be paid equally for completing equal work.

Will you join me.. in demanding Congress take action to right this wrong?

When extremists in Congress block efforts to reduce wage disparities, they tell women in Connecticut and across the country: Your work may be just as good, but you are worth less than men. We marked Equal Pay Day this week, and we must be 100% clear: Women are notless than, and inequality is not an American value. This is not a complicated issue, and it should not be a debate.

I’ve fought to end discrimination like this my whole career, and I won’t stop now.


Thank you.







THE CLASSROOM. #27. FROM: BARACK OBAMA. HILLARY CLINTONS NOMINATION AS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTIES CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT.



Obama, Barack Obama, President, Man, President Obama



David --

On Wednesday night I gave my final speech to a Democratic convention as president. I’m grateful I got to spend it talking about why Hillary is the right person to succeed me in the White House. She is going to be an exceptional leader because she is an exceptional person.

David, Hillary has my trust because I know her, and I know her heart. 

My respect for Hillary has been reaffirmed time and time again by those who have known her for decades.

In 2012, we traveled to Burma together and met people she remembered from the time she was First Lady nearly twenty years before -- and they hadn’t forgotten her, either. A year later, when we flew to South Africa in 2013 to pay our respects at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, I could see in the eyes of his 
family how much she had meant to him.

Hillary commands any room she enters because her wisdom, her patience, and her generosity of spirit are impossible to deny. I counted on her advice on everything from foreign policy to how to raise my daughters in the White House. She treats everyone she encounters with decency and dignity, whether the cameras are on or off.

I am proud to see Hillary become our party’s nominee, and I can’t wait to see her win this election and become our 45th President.

Thanks, 
           
BARACK.