The History of Ballot Design is the History of Democracy – As millions of Americans begin to head to the polls, here’s how our printed ballots have evolved

1) Early Ballots

Early ballots were printed using letterpress with the voter writing in the candidates name by hand. These pre-printed tickets from the 1850s made it easy confirm the sale of intoxicating liquors in Boston.

2) Ballots as Propaganda

Ballots were often used to illustrate a particular party platform, like this vivid anti-Chinese ticket for the Workingmen’s party in San Francisco. Several parties touted the protection of White labor, culminating in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first federal law barring a specific ethnicity from immigrating to America.

3) Impressive Displays of Typographic Grandstanding

The mid- and late-nineteenth century was a period of heavy experimentation in the printing world. Wood type, metal type, and lithography were often combined, creating layouts that are impressive displays of typographic grandstanding.

4) DIY Ballots

Ballot modifications were not discouraged by political parties and were so habitual that small strips of gummed paper called “pasters” would be sent to voters or handed out at the polls. Glue pots were provided at polling stations so voters could literally stick alternative candidates’ names on top of the printed ones. Ballots layouts became more elaborate as a reflection of the period style, but also served as an attempt to foil pasting efforts with serpentine typesetting.

5) The Australian Ballot

The adoption of the new Australian ballot format in the late 1880s was a radical shift in format, but these examples are more aligned with ballots we recognize today. Mandated by the government, all candidates were listed by office and the ballot was cast in private. Despite the regulations, modifications still persisted, like this New York ballot from 1914 that used tiny emblems to denote party affiliation. Voters were now able to freely select candidates across different parties, but detractors claimed the layout was too arduous as the volume of candidates and offices necessitated sometimes huge and unwieldy trim sizes. 

Ballot reformers like civic activist Richard Childs proposed ‘short ballots’ to simplify the decision making process and make it easier for the average voter. “The people must take an interest in all their electoral work if they are to be masters. If they do not take an interest in a given ballot, there are two solutions—change the people or change the ballot,” he wrote in his 1911 book, Short Ballot Principles. “As the people are too big to be spanked, and since human nature in the mass responds but slowly to prayer, it is good sense to change the ballot.”

Source: AIGA

LA County Begins Program to Combat Acts of Hate After Rise of Racism Towards Asian Americans Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Responding to what officials called increased acts of hate in recent years, most notably against Asian-Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles County on Wednesday announced a campaign aimed at encouraging reporting of such incidents and responding to them.

The “L.A. vs Hate” campaign is a three-pronged effort that will include a marketing outreach campaign encouraging people to report acts of hate, improved resources for residents to report such acts through the county’s 211 hotline and a network of agencies to assist victims and develop prevention strategies.

“L.A. County is one of the most culturally diverse and vibrant communities in the world,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said. “Despite our diversity, these past few years have seen a steady rise in reported hate acts in our county. We also know that as a result of COVID-19, there has been an ugly backlash toward our Asian-Pacific Islander community. Spikes in calls to the 211 hotline reflect that racism.”

Source: NBC LA

Nebraska Man Gets National Attention After Passionately Calling Out Ridiculousness of Boneless Chicken Wings at City Council Meeting

“Lincoln has the opportunity to be a social leader in this country,” Christensen said on Monday night. “We have been casually ignoring a problem that has gotten so out of control that our children are throwing around names and words without even understanding their true meaning, treating things as though they’re normal.”

In three days, his plea — satirical and mildly serious — was seen online by hundreds of thousands before airing nationally on “Good Morning America,” “Fox & Friends,” and being featured in The New York Times.

“Nothing about boneless chicken wings actually comes from the wing of a chicken,” he said. “We would be disgusted if a butcher was mislabeling their cuts of meats, but then we go around pretending as though the breast of a chicken is its wing?”

Renaming them, he said, is essential. Stopping the misrepresentation, a pressing matter. The options, he said, are endless.

“We can call them Buffalo-style chicken tenders,” he said. “We can call them ‘wet tenders.’ We can call them ‘saucy nugs,’ or ‘trash.’

Source: Omaha World-Herald

California Lawmakers to Consider Reparations for Slavery

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California lawmakers are setting up a task force to study and make recommendations for reparations to African Americans, particularly the descendants of slaves, as the nation struggles again with civil rights and unrest following the latest shooting of a Black man by police.

The state Senate supported creating the nine-member commission on a bipartisan 33-3 vote Saturday. The measure returns to the Assembly for a final vote before lawmakers adjourn for the year on Monday, though Assembly members overwhelmingly already approved an earlier version of the bill.

“Let’s be clear: Chattel slavery, both in California and across our nation, birthed a legacy of racial harm and inequity that continues to impact the conditions of Black life in California,” said Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles.

She cited disproportionate homelessness, unemployment, involvement in the criminal justice system, lower academic performance and higher health risks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although California before the Civil War was officially a free state, Mitchell listed legal and judicial steps state officials took at the time to support slavery in Southern states while repressing Blacks.

The legislation would require the task force to conduct a detailed study of the impact of slavery in California and recommend to the Legislature by July 2023 the form of compensation that should be awarded, how it should be awarded, and who should be should be eligible for compensation.

The panel, which would start meeting no later than June 2021, could also recommend other forms of rehabilitation or redress.

In the last two years, Texas, New York, and Vermont have considered similar legislation, according to a legislative analysis. It said reparations could take the form of cash, housing assistance, lower tuition, forgiving student loans, job training or community investments, for instance.

Sen. Steven Bradford, a Democrat from Gardena who supported the bill, said he only wished it was more than a study.

He noted that Friday marked the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington and The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

“If the 40 acres and a mule that was promised to free slaves were delivered to the descendants of those slaves today, we would all be billionaires,” Bradford said. “I hear far too many people say, ‘Well, I didn’t own slaves, that was so long ago.’ Well, you inherit wealth — you can inherit the debt that you owe to African-Americans.”

Source: AP News

Americans Who Trust President Donald Trump are More Likely to Discriminate Asian Americans Over COVID-19, Study Shows

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Amid the COVID-19 crisis, U.S. adults who have greater trust in President Donald Trump are more likely to engage in discriminatory behavior against Asian Americans, a new study revealed.

Trump, who has referred to SARS-CoV-2 as the “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu,” routinely defends his use of the terms, saying that they were meant to indict China rather than Asian Americans.

However, his followers appear to miss the difference, as the study published in the International Journal of Public Health suggests that they would express more bias against the group than those who trust in science.

“We found over 40% of our sample reported they would engage in at least one discriminatory behavior toward people of Asian descent. Respondents who were fearful of COVID-19 (b = .09, p < 0.001) and had less accurate knowledge about the virus (b = − .07, p < 0.001) reported more negative attitudes toward Asians as did respondents with less trust in science (b = − .06, p < 0.001) and more trust in President Trump (b = .04, p < 0.001).”

Based on surveys of 1,141 U.S. residents in March 2020, the study found that more than 40% were willing to engage in at least one biased and discriminatory behavior toward people of Asian descent, such as refusing to sit next to one.

Researchers found that men, Republicans and non-white individuals reported greater bias toward Asians compared to the rest of the respondents.

Additionally, those who had worse fears of contracting COVID-19, those who knew less about the disease and those who had greater trust in Trump were also linked to having higher levels of bias towards Asian Americans.

Source: NextShark

Uber and Lyft just avoided a shutdown. How they got here and what’s next

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The warnings are the result of California’s efforts to bring gig economy companies in compliance with state labor law — a clash that threatened to come to a head this week.

An emergency stay granted Thursday by a California appeals court temporarily defused the situation, allowing Uber and Lyft to continue operating under their current model for the time being. But unless a resolution is reached, millions of Californians who use Uber and Lyft to hail rides may yet find themselves forced to resort to other modes of transportation.

In early August, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ordered the companies to classify their drivers as employees rather than independent contractors, building in a 10-day window for the companies to appeal the move. With that window closing Thursday night, Uber and Lyft had threatened to shut down services at midnight Thursday, saying they cannot transition their business models quickly enough. Lyft reiterated that threat in a blog post Thursday morning, saying: “This is not something we wanted to do.”

“Uber and Lyft are threatening to kill jobs in California. I believe the companies are trying to force us into a decision around giving them what they want, and that’s Prop. 22, which is to keep denying us basic labor protections and benefits we have earned,” said Cherri Murphy, a ride-hailing company driver for about three years. An Oakland resident, Murphy is also an organizer with labor groups Gig Workers Rising and Rideshare Drivers United, which have fought to win protections for drivers.

Uber pushed back on this assessment, saying many drivers prefer to remain independent contractors. “The vast majority of drivers want to work independently, and we’ve already made significant changes to our app to ensure that remains the case under California law. When over 3 million Californians are without a job, our elected leaders should be focused on creating work, not trying to shut down an entire industry during an economic depression,” Uber spokesman Davis White said in a statement.

“Fortunately, California voters can make their voices heard by voting yes on Prop. 22 in November,” Zimmer said, and if passed, the measure “would protect driver independence and flexibility, while providing historic new benefits and protections.”

San Francisco’s district attorney sued food delivery app DoorDash in June, alleging worker misclassification. Uber said it anticipates a similar fight on this front.

Source: LA Times

NYPD Finally Forms Asian Hate Crime Task Force After Months of COVID-19 Racism

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For the first time since COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., the New York Police Department created an Asian Hate Crime Task Force to address the surge of abusive incidents against Asian Americans.

Since March 21, the department has made 17 arrests from 21 anti-Asian hate crimes in the city, which became the pandemic’s epicenter in the same month.

“This increase was cultivated due to the anti-Asian rhetoric about the virus that was publicized, and individuals began to attack Asian New Yorkers, either verbal attack or physical assault. We saw a spike in every borough throughout the city,” Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said on Tuesday, according to ABC 7.

The NYPD released videos in April, where Harrison and Officer Regina Ou, condemned these attacks and urged victims of Asian bias-related hate crimes to report these incidents.

Harrison recalled Asian New Yorkers being attacked in public transport such as buses and trains, as well as in restaurants and even their own neighborhoods. But while the existing Hate Crimes Task Force has done a “good job” investigating those incidents, several complainants were reluctant to follow up.

Source: NextShark

The White House agreed Sunday that Kamala Harris is eligible to become vice president, ending false suggestions by President Trump that she was ineligible to serve if elected in November because she was born in the United States to immigrant parents

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Harris, now 55 and picked last week by former Vice President Joe Biden to be his running mate in November’s national election, was born in in 1964 in the western city of Oakland, California. She is the daughter of an Indian woman who had emigrated to the U.S. to attend graduate school and a father from Jamaica, making her the first Black woman to be on a major party national ticket in the U.S.

Under the U.S. Constitution, she is an American by birthright, by being born in the U.S.

Source: VOA News

President Donald Trump Mispronounces Thailand As ‘Thighland’ At A Campaign Event, Social Media Users Poke Fun

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Social media users poked fun at President Donald Trump after he mispronounced Thailand as “Thighland” at a campaign event on Thursday.

The blunder occurred at a Whirlpool plant in Ohio, according to the New York Daily News.

In his speech, Trump spoke about how the American manufacturer’s competitors had shifted their “production to ‘Thighland’ and to Vietnam.”

However, he repeated himself and corrected his pronunciation of the Southeast Asian country.

“Thailand and Vietnam, two places that… I like their leaders very much.”

Social media users were quick to catch the slip-up.

Source: NextShark

Kodak secures $765 million dollar loan from Trump Administration for manufacturing ingredients used in pharmaceuticals, to rebuild the national stockpile depleted by COVID-19 pandemic and reduce dependency on foreign factories

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Eastman Kodak will receive a federal loan of $765 million to help reduce reliance on other countries for ingredients in generic drugs, an agreement President Donald Trump hailed Tuesday as a breakthrough in bringing more pharmaceutical manufacturing to the United States.

Kodak Pharmaceuticals will make critical pharmaceutical ingredients that have been identified as essential but have lapsed into chronic national shortage, as defined by the Food and Drug Administration.

The government loan will help support startup costs needed to repurpose and expand Kodak’s existing facilities in Rochester, New York, and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Source: AP News