News You Can Use -- making sure your vote counts in Maryland

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngOur system of democratic elections is really an intricate one and it depends on people's routines -- routines that many of us don't even think about ordinarily but REALLY had to focus on during the pendemic.

Along with your personal routines that get you to the polls or make sure that you get that mail ballot requested and returned on time are the routines of others. And many of them got disturbed in the 2020 election, especially in other states, in ways that have thrown doubt on the strength of our democratic process. Some of those, we see in this week's News You Can Use, are election judges -- who are wondering if they can continue doing this nearly-free public service when faced by open abuse from people who seem to think a staggering democratic process is to their advantage.

Your democratic rights are threatened in many different ways -- that hasn't gotten better. See what you can do, here.

Around the nation and in Maryland, primary and general elections are coming up (extra points if you can rattle off the latest Maryland primary date)* But will you be able to vote? Well, sure, in the abstract. But polling places don’t just spring up like mushrooms; they need support. One op-ed published last week observed:

“In previous elections we have had trouble recruiting and retaining enough trained election judges to adequately staff every polling location across the state. This can have far-reaching consequences, ranging from late poll openings (potentially reducing the amount of time people in the community have to vote) to elderly and disabled voters not receiving needed assistance or not being made aware of the support available to them at the polling place.”

Election officials are hustling. The moving target of primary day** has also brought changes in early voting centers.

We say: Voting has better outcomes when it is EASY to vote. It should not be hard. But when election judges are an endangered species, those eligible voters whose lives put barriers in their way may be disenfranchised. As a volunteer election judge, you can remove barriers. Find out more here.


*July 19. For sure. **Definitely.


Counting votes? Trevor Noah, emceeing the White House Correspondents Association annual jokefest/banquet this weekend, cracked that Gov. DeSantis of Florida is busy blowing up the K-12 math curriculum. After you eliminate math classes, nobody will know how to count votes, Noah concluded.

The op-ed we noted last week on why school boards around the country are dissolving in ineffective partisanship is followed by a statewide look in the Baltimore Sun.

Elections -- how much longer can we avoid talking about candidates?

We at NYCU have steered away from the crowded and jostling Dem gubernatorial primary, but this is big and different. Here’s what POLITICO Playbook said Friday: HOYER AND PELOSI TAKE OPPOSING SIDES — House Majority Leader STENY HOYER jumped into the crowded Democratic Maryland gubernatorial primary Thursday, throwing his support behind author and entrepreneur WES MOORE, Zach Montellaro scoops . The move is significant as Hoyer becomes the most prominent Maryland official to get involved in the race. But it also has some intrigue at the top of the party: Pelosi, a Baltimore native, “has previously endorsed TOM PEREZ, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee and a former federal and state secretary of labor.”

POLITICO Playbook also has news of the fortunes of a former Maryland politician (State Senator from Frederick) who took his talents to West Virginia, Alex Mooney. “In West Virginia … Trump-backed Rep. ALEX MOONEY is running narrowly behind Rep. DAVID MCKINLEY in the race for a redrawn House seat.”

 

Our schools are where equalities in the larger society are either amplified or remedied. Big job. How are we doing?

Fifty years after the passage of Title IX, aimed at equalizing schools’s support for girls’ and boys’ sports,  it’s still impossible to tell whether high schools are complying with the law unless someone complains. That burden usually falls to teenage athletes and their parents, who often aren’t aware of their rights under Title IX, according to a Capital News Service report on investigations undertaken by a sports news think tank at UMCP. It's a national story but focuses, as we might hope, on Maryland examples.

National and Federal Gov News

What hopes are there for some wisp of Build Back Better? – Democrats are calling for a budget reconciliation package again in order to keep their majorities in the midterms, saying that they need a deal by Memorial day in order to get it passed by July 4th. Outlets are reporting that Senator Manchin and the White House “exchanged niceties” igniting hope on that front. And Senator Warren has her own list-- in the New York Times she outline a strategy that takes on inflation as an indicator of corporate greed rather than wishing it away, and instead legislating to provide benefits for working families that will be visible if passed as legislation, or visible as what we're NOT getting because of GOP blockades in Congress.