In the News

It's the one year anniversary of Dumb Gay Politics, and Julie and Brandy are celebrating in style. First they talk about the shitstorm of North Korea's cyber terrorism team, and then they ride their tiny bicicleta to scheew to learn about voting rights and campaign finance reform.

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According to a 2012 policy paper from the nonprofit public policy research organization Demos, Maryland and New York implemented their laws after the 2010 census, and both have withstood federal court challenges; Delaware and California's laws will take effect with the next census.

Conservative groups and Republican election officials in some states say the poorly maintained rolls invite fraud and meddling by hackers, sap public confidence in elections and make election workers’ jobs harder. Voting rights advocates and most Democratic election officials, in turn, say that the benefits are mostly imaginary, and that the purges are intended to reduce the number of minority, poor and young voters, who are disproportionately Democrats.

More than a quarter of Ohio’s registered voters didn’t cast ballots last year, and for some of them, that could have been one inactive election too many. Ohio has been removing voters who haven’t cast ballots over a period of six years – unless they contact their Board of Elections during that time.

Larry Harmon is one of them, and now his lawsuit against Ohio is the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case expected to be argued early next year. [...]

The Lawyers’ Committee, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School and Demos—all legal advocates that have defended the right to vote for years and fought voter suppression tactics in court—said Wednesday that they would be sending letters to the local offices targeted by PILF. Their letters will urge local election officials to not be intimidated by PILF’s threat of suits unless they proved, to PILF’s satisfaction, that they had purged sufficient numbers of legally registered voters. [...]

“You hear the apocryphal story of being able to work your way through school, because it was true,” said Mark Huelsman, a senior policy analyst at Demos, a left-leaning think tank. “If you were a student in 1980 and you took on a full-time summer job and a part-time job in the school year, your college costs would be covered and your living expenses would be covered.” [...]

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Improving transit access to jobs can be a key tool in closing that gap, according a new report from Algernon Austin at Demos, because people of color are more likely than white people to rely on transit to get to work.

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Demos, a liberal think tank, and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University found African Americans are far more likely to have student debtregardless of income. Black families, after decades of being shut out of traditional ladders of economic opportunity, have the fewest resources to cover the costs of college or to protect against the risk of borrowing.

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A 2013 survey by Demos, a public policy organization that combats inequality, showed that 10 percent of respondents who were unemployed had been informed that they would not be hired because of some facet of their credit history. The same survey indicated that 1 out of every 7 job applicants with “blemished credit histories” had been told they were not hired because of their credit history. [...]

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LONG WAY HOME: According to a new report by the public policy organization Demos, African American workers are three times as likely as white workers not to have a car at home and they use transit four times more, which could be part of why some see transit as an issue of racial equity. The solution, Demos suggests, is to invest in infrastructure — improving transit and creating jobs for people who need them.

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