In the News

My daughter is married and no longer lives with us. But we still get junk mail from credit card banks luring her into the buy-now, pay-later society.
 
In fact, credit card debt among adults age 25 to 34 has increased 55 percent, while credit card debt among persons 18 to 24 has leaped 104 percent since 1992, according to Demos, a New York-based public policy organization.
State election officials and watchdog groups yesterday reported scattered but minor problems at polls nationwide and said they expected turnout, which caused long waits in several jurisdictions, to break records.
 
"The extremely high voter turnout [in] this election reverses 30 years of declining voter participation. This is wonderful news for our democracy, and we applaud voters for braving long lines to make sure their voice is heard," said Miles Rapoport, president of Demos.
Less than 24 hours after the polls closed, most election specialists and watchdog groups monitoring the 2004 presidential election cited long lines as the biggest problem affecting voters, and were unable to identify any major problems associated with voting systems.
 
"In some regions of Ohio, people waited in line five to seven hours after the polls closed. This might be a triumph of their determination to vote.
Technical glitches with voting machines and disputes over poll watching caused delays and frustrated some voters at precincts across South Carolina.
 
The Voter Protection Hotline received at least 160 calls Tuesday, said Ludovic Blain, associate director of the Democracy Program for Demos. Most of the calls involved registration complaints, problems with machines or voter identification, Blain said.
Just before Halloween, a public policy group called Demos released a scary report titled, "Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt Among Younger Americans."
 
For starters, they were the first generation to graduate from college with enormous credit-card and student-loan debt -- just as entry-level wages were dramatically dropping. And when the bubble burst in 2000, Gen-X, compared with other age groups, had the largest percentage of their assets invested in the stock market.
Democrats say they have 10,000 lawyers in the field. Republicans say they're monitoring 30,000 polling places around the nation for signs of fraud. A new federal election law leaves key terms undefined. The nation is split down the middle, with any of a dozen too-close-to-call states holding the key to victory.
 
As many as 1 million provisional votes will be cast nationwide today, according to the liberal organization Demos-USA.
Florida Republicans in Jacksonville have been busy compiling and disseminating lists that many believe will be used to challenge minority voters today.
 
(A report, "Securing the Vote, a Report on Election Fraud," would suggest the Republicans' concerns are overstated. The paper, released by the nonprofit group Demos, shows that election fraud is at most a minor problem across the 50 states and does not affect election outcomes.)

Today is D-Day, Election Day 2004. The polls are open and millions are lining up to cast their votes in an election that many feel is the most important of their lifetime. With fears of a repeat of the 2000 election, the eyes of the nation focus on the simplest of issues: The right to vote.

There was an electricity on Election Days in Connecticut in the 1950's and 60's. Each city's wards buzzed with news of who had voted and who had to be called to remind them to vote, said Bill Donohue, a 69-year-old New Haven resident.
 
But people who follow elections in the state don't hold young people entirely to blame for the decline in participation.
Democrats in Florida yesterday accused Republicans of already having a list of nearly 15,000 voters that Republican poll watchers will challenge on Election Day, while Democrats in Ohio won a court victory when a federal judge halted efforts by the state Republican Party to obtain hearings on challenges to thousands of voter registrations.
 
Miles Rapoport, president of Demos, a nonpartisan voting rights organization, yesterday encouraged the Justice Department to uphold the rights of all eligible voters