In the News

The problem, explains Ari Weisbard of Demos-USA , a nonpartisan group that has been on top of potential 2004 snafus, is that thirty states and DC--60 percent of the electorate--will throw out provisional ballots if they are cast in the wrong precinct; ten states will throw them out if ID isn't presented.
 
As Republicans attempt to disenfranchise voters through intimidation and bureaucratic maneuvers, activists from around the country are joining the fray.

Poll shows 6 of 10 believe there won't be a winner Nov. 3 in presidential race.

"Our election officials should be concerned with making sure that all eligible voters, including the millions that are registered for the first time, have complete ballot access and that their votes will count," said Miles Rapoport, president of the group. "Cheating eligible voters out of their voice in this democracy, that's the real fraud."

Senior Fellow George Packer argues that liberalism remains the key to national greatness.

In the past few years, America has grown manifestly less equal and less free even while offering itself as a model to undemocratic countries. The next President could help our case before the world by acknowledging these facts and using the power of the office to begin correcting them. He wouldn't have to call himself a liberal; he could simply act like one.

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The first wave of baby boomers is drifting toward retirement, but many boomers are ill-prepared for the financial rapids that await them.
 
Tamara Draut, director of the economic opportunity program for Demos, a New York-based think tank, said people heading into retirement are racking up more credit card debt.
 
"Because baby boomers were really the first generation to delay child-bearing, what's happening is a lot of the major expenses of raising children, like paying college

When the dust settles from this year's election, Congress should begin drafting a new, comprehensive election reform law that includes the following...

According to a recent report from Demos, a pro-democracy organization, a majority of states will be throwing out provisional ballots cast in the wrong polling places, or otherwise undermining this new federal right. Congress should make clear that provisional ballots must be counted even if they are filed in the wrong polling places.

Secretary of State Donetta Davidson on Monday said she will comb through three state databases and create a fourth to flag the more than 6,000 felons on Colorado voting rolls.

Colorado is one of just four states where felons can vote if they are on probation but not if they are on parole or in prison, according to Unlock the Block, Release the Vote, a New York campaign working to change the law so felons can cast a vote.

As the resident dean of the Crest Mobile Home Park in North Seattle, Wayne Nelson knows plenty of families struggling to keep food on the table. Voting can seem like a pretty useless exercise when there's a stack of unpaid bills on the kitchen table; he knows that from his own years of supporting a family on a cabdriver's wages.

Imagine a country with a separate voter registration system for poor people. A country that neglects this registration system for the poor so severely that in most areas fewer than one out of ten unregistered citizens actually use it. A country that so disregards the plight of its low-income citizens that their disenfranchisement -- and the attendant political disregard for the needs of the poor -- is rarely, if ever, reported. If you are an American citizen, look around -- it's your country.

Their financial plight mirrors the challenges other older Americans are facing. A sobering new report by Demos, a public policy group in New York, finds that between 1992 and 2001, the average credit-card debt among Americans over age 65 nearly doubled to $4,041.

Those between 65 and 69, many of them recent retirees, reported a stunning 217 percent increase in credit-card debt to $5,884. That's up from $1,842 in 1992. Among those between 55 and 64, credit-card debt jumped nearly 50 percent to $4,088. (The average American family saw an increase of 53 percent, to $4,196.)

Many seniors are in the same predicament. A recent study by Demos, a nonprofit public policy organization, found that one in five middle- to low-income seniors spent more than 40 percent of their fixed incomes on debt payments. They will all have to figure out ways to come up with the extra money to for the payments if rates rise. "As interest rates rise, we're going to see more and more people succumb to financial ruin," said Tamara Draut, director of the economic opportunity program at Demos.