2014-11-04 16:01:37

Democracy Now! November 4, 2014

With control of the Senate up for grabs in today’s midterm elections, a major voting registration controversy could impact one of the chamber’s tightest races. More than 40,000 voter registrations have allegedly gone missing in Georgia, most of them representing communities of color, who largely support Democrats. Could this help Republicans win the Senate? We are joined by Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, whose group the New Georgia Project submitted the tens of thousands of voter registration forms that have gone missing. Abrams is the first African American to lead the Georgia House and the first woman to lead a party in either chamber of the Georgia Legislature. We are also joined by Benjamin Jealous, former head of the NAACPand chairman of the Southern Election Fund.

Earlier this year, Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP and current chair Southern Election Fund, put out a report showing how a targeted wave of voter registration among people of color voters could shift the balance of power in key Southern states. But these efforts have come up against a series of cumbersome voter ID laws that have made it harder for people to vote, buttressed by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating key parts of the Voting Rights Act. "The Republicans aren’t doubling down on voter suppression in states they’re trying to acquire," Jealous says. "They’re doubling down on voter suppression in states [where] they’re afraid of losing control … This is what it looks like when the clocks are being turned back."

The most expensive midterms in history could see one of the lowest turnouts in years. Voting numbers will likely dip below the 40 percent mark of both 2006 and 2010. This despite a record estimate of $4 billion in spending. One quarter of that money, some $1 billion, will come from anonymous, so-called dark money groups. That money has gone into creating some two million television ads — most of them attack ads. We are joined by Lee Fang, one reporter attempting to follow the dark money trail. A reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, Fang blogs about money and politics at the Republic Report.

While each House seat is up for grabs in today’s midterms, only a few dozen races are competitive enough to be in play. It is control of the Senate that hangs in the balance, coming down to around 10 key races. Republicans need to gain six seats to recapture Senate control, with a slight edge over Democrats in the advance polls. A few races are so close that they could go to a runoff. That potentially means we end Tuesday night with the Senate still undecided. Senate control is crucial, with Republicans vowing an agenda that includes more cuts to public spending, and repealing environmental regulations, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants and control of committees addressing global warming. But no matter how the Senate goes, we can expect mixed results at the state level as incumbent governors from both main parties face a voter backlash. The midterms will also see votes on 147 ballot measures, covering a number of key issues. Four states will vote on raising the minimum wage — Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. Polls show the measures will likely pass despite them all coming in Republican states. We get a roundup of the key issues from John Nichols and Lee Fang, contributors to The Nation magazine.

Amy Goodman Democracy Now! Senate Voter Rights

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