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Fighting To Restore Florida Voting Rights

In Florida, those who can’t vote are fighting to restore voting rights for the formerly incarcerated. ThinkProgress: “Nicole Vista can’t vote, but that isn’t stopping her from knocking on dozens of doors every week so that 1.4 million Floridians can. Visas is a third year nursing student at Nova Southeastern University and beneficiary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program created by President Barack Obama to give work permits and temporary relief from deportation to young people who came to the United States as children. Despite her legal status, Vista isn’t afraid to be out in the community, advocating for Amendment 4 — an initiative on the ballot in Florida this election cycle that would restore the voting rights of individuals with minor felony convictions. Vista is part of a canvassing network comprised of dozens of volunteers for United We Dream, the nation’s largest youth immigrant organization. United We Dream organizers in Miami aren’t canvassing for specific candidates or even immigration policy — the group is laser-focused on Amendment 4. Maria Asuncion-Bilbao, an organizer for United We Dream’s Miami chapter, believes the goals of the ballot initiative overlap with the those of the undocumented community. ‘We believe that [the formerly incarcerated] deserve a second chance and denying them the right to vote is a form of oppression,’ Bilbao tells ThinkProgress. ‘For the undocumented community, we can’t vote, so we fight for those who can but are currently being oppressed.'”

A Record Number Of Women May Win Elections

FiveThirtyEight Projects a Record Number of Women Will Be Elected This Year. Salon: “A new analysis by the election forecaster FiveThirtyEight found that a record number of women are projected to be elected to Congress in the midterm election cycle appropriately dubbed “The Year of the Woman.”Poll whisperer Nate Silver’s model gives Democrats an 84 percent change of flipping the House this year, with many of those gains coming thanks to women candidates. According to the models, a record 124 women may win their elections this cycle, compared to the 107 women elected to Congress this session. As many as 100 women lead their House races, along with 24 female Senate candidates, out of 238 women running for federal office. There are currently 84 women in the House and 23 in the Senate.”

Interior’s Zinke Under Investigation

Interior Secretary Zinke referred to DOJ by his own agency’s inspector. Common Dreams: “President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice has been tasked with examining evidence of wrongdoing by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, following the referral of one of several probes into the Trump appointee’s conduct by his department’s own Inspector General. As the Washington Post reported, the development suggests that a criminal investigation into Zinke’s conduct could be imminent—but the exact conduct being examined by the DOJ remains unknown. The inspector general, Mary Kendall, has opened a number of cases involving Zinke, and it was unclear as of Tuesday afternoon which investigation she has referred to the DOJ. In June, Kendall began investigating Zinke’s continued involvement in a land development deal in Whitefish, Montana, even after he was appointed Interior Secretary. The deal, involving a retail development, was backed by the chairman of oil company Halliburton—whose business is significantly affected by policies enacted by the Interior Department. Zinke owns several properties near the planned development, according to the Post.”

Domestic Terrorists Say Trump Made Them Do It

Three men convicted of plotting to bomb Somali refugees say they were encouraged by Trump’s rhetoric. BuzzFeed: “Three men who were convicted of plotting to bomb an apartment building that housed a mosque and dozens of Muslim Somali refugees in Kansas were encouraged by President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and asked a judge for leniency in their sentencing, their attorneys said. In court documents filed this week, attorneys for Patrick Stein, Curtis Allen, and Gavin Wright, say the men were influenced by Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and Russian propaganda on social media and argue that life sentences against their clients would not deter others from committing similar crimes. ‘As long as the White House with impunity calls Islam ‘a dangerous threat,’ and paints average Americans as ‘victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad,’ a mixed signal gets sent,’ Wright’s attorneys wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday. ‘As long as the Executive Branch condemns Islam and commends and encourages violence against would-be enemies, then a sentence imposed by the Judicial Branch does little to deter people generally from engaging in such conduct if they believe they are protecting their countries from enemies identified by their own Commander-in-Chief,’ they continued.”

Origins Of Trump’s Call To End Birthright Citizenship

The intellectual origins of Trump’s chilling immigration plan. Vanity Fair: “Hunched forward in his chair, his fingertips and thumbs forming a familiar diamond shape, Donald Trump seemed to anticipate the question that Axios’s Jonathan Swan was about to ask him. ‘On immigration, some legal scholars believe you can get rid of birthright citizenship without changing the Constitution—’ Swan began, before Trump cut him off gingerly. ‘With an executive order,’ he interjected. ‘Exactly,’ Swan replied. ‘Have you thought about that?’ The president didn’t miss a beat. ‘Yes.’ The idea of revoking birthright citizenship has wended its way through Washington for years. Democrat Harry Reid, former Senate Majority Leader, proposed revoking birthright citizenship in 1993, before repeatedly apologizing for it. (‘I didn’t understand the issue. I’m embarrassed that I made such a proposal,’ he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.) On the right, fear of ‘anchor babies’ has been exploited politically by even moderates such as Jeb Bush, who invoked the issue in 2015. But Trump’s decisive claim that he could get end birthright citizenship with the stroke of a pen caused critics to drop their jaws. “He obviously cannot do that,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, noting the intractable reality: birthright citizenship has been enshrined in the 14th Amendment for 150 years and would require no less than an act of Congress or a Supreme Court challenge to knock it down, an endeavor the vast majority of legal scholars consider impossible.”

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