California’s universal voting by mail becomes permanent
California’s pandemic-inspired move toward mailing a ballot to every registered, active voter will become a permanent part of the state’s political landscape, an embrace of an extended and flexible voting process instead of the traditional focus on a single day of voting in person.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature Monday on Assembly Bill 37 makes California the eighth state in the nation with a law on the books requiring every voter to be mailed a ballot. The new law is part of an evolution of voting in the state over the last two decades, an effort to provide voters more options for when and where to cast their ballots.
“Data shows that sending everyone a ballot in the mail provides voters access. And when voters get ballots in the mail, they vote,” Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), the bill’s author, said during a Senate committee hearing in July.
The law takes effect in January and will require ballots to be mailed to all voters for statewide elections in June and November. AB 37 also applies to local elections, potentially improving turnout in community contests but also increasing costs, given that vote-by-mail ballots are provided with prepaid postage.
The idea of universal mailed ballots has been discussed by state officials and voting rights activists for years, but it’s unclear whether the effort would have succeeded if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid public health concerns about in-person voting, Newsom and lawmakers took temporary action to mail ballots to more than 22 million voters last fall — an election with voter turnout at levels not seen in California for a half-century or more.
“Last year we took unprecedented steps to ensure all voters had the opportunity to cast a ballot during the pandemic and today we are making those measures permanent after record-breaking participation in the 2020 presidential election,” Newsom said in a written statement.
State officials expanded the all-mail ballot distribution for the failed effort to recall Newsom from office. Although voter turnout was lower relative to the November presidential election, current returns show more than three-fourths of the ballots were cast remotely. Final results from the recall election are scheduled to be released next month.
Foreign-born population soars to new record under Biden; highest rate of immigrants since 1910
The U.S. has had a massive surge in immigration this year, with as many as 1.5 million newcomers and a record 46.2 million foreign-born people, according to a report for the Center for Immigration Studies.
After a deep trough last year, likely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel and migration restrictions imposed to control the spread, the flow of people rebounded around the time President Biden was elected.
In numbers never seen before, they are coming legally through airports and land border crossings and illegally across the Rio Grande and remote regions of Arizona and California.
“There was pent-up demand for legal immigration, and illegal immigration has exploded in one of the greatest surges, if not the greatest, we’ve ever seen,” said Steven A. Camarota, the demographer who was the chief author of the report. “It’s driving the numbers up and up and up.”
As it stands, 14.2% of the U.S. population is foreign-born, or 1 out of every 7 people. That is the highest rate of immigrants in the population since 1910, when the number was 14.7%. At current trends, the government says, the U.S. will break that record well before the end of this decade.
Those numbers are even starker given the reversal of trends.
The data showed a drop of 1.2 million immigrants from February to September 2020, likely the result of coronavirus restrictions blocking new entrants, even as outmigration continued. That left the population of the foreign-born — the Census Bureau’s term — at 43.8 million.
It was up to 45 million by January and marched steadily to the current 46.2 million total shown for last month.
In the year after President Trump’s election, the immigrant population flattened.
Mashup: MSM worst moments of 2021
Salvation Army’s Internal Survey Suggests Only Whites Are Racist
“I Took The Salvation Army’s Internal Survey On ‘Racism’ Within The Organization. Here’s What I Discovered.”
The Salvation Army has recently come under significant fire for asking white donors to “offer a sincere apology” for racism. The nearly 150-year old organization created a curriculum entitled “Let’s Talk About Racism” and shared it with its members, along with associated DEI Trainings that cite and draw from Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi’s work. The packet argues that Christians should “stop trying to be ‘colorblind’” and that they should apologize for being “antagonistic.. to black people or the culture, values and interests of the black community.” In response, donors by the thousands have vowed not to donate until the organization reverses their stance.
The Salvation Army has denied any wrongdoing, defiantly calling the allegations that they have gone woke “false.” While they admit that the topic of race in America can be fraught with controversy, they have denied they have “gone woke.” Much of their denial centers around their claim that use of the guide was completely voluntary, and that they are not peddling critical race narratives in their organization.
I obtained a copy of The Salvation Army’s internal survey on “racism within the Salvation Army” and tested that claim.
One Salvation Army officer reached out on condition of anonymity to Color Us United, the raceblind advocacy organization which I run, to reveal an internal survey he was asked to take. It was not a voluntary survey, and was sent by the Territorial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary to every Salvation Army Officer in the US Central Territory. The purpose of the survey, according to an email from the “Territorial Racial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary,” was “to better understand perception of institutional racial bias within The Salvation Army.” The accompanying email stated that there was no “preconceived idea” with regard to whether or not racism existed in The Salvation Army, and told recipients that there were no wrong answers.
I sat down and went through the questions.
First, Questions #1, #2, and #3 asked me for my race, age, and gender. I could not skip these questions. Already, I felt uncomfortable being required to list my personal attributes. If I was an officer, I would be wondering: how could this information be used against me in the future? (They did promise anonymity in this survey.)
The survey then asks Salvationists if they agree with the following definition of racism: “Institutional racism refers to organizational or system processes, behaviors, policies, or procedures, which produce negative outcomes for nonwhites relative to those for whites.” The remaining questions in the survey are dependent upon agreeing to this definition of racism. For any Officer or Soldier who disagrees with this framing, there is no way to express any disagreement or nuance apart from plainly saying that racism does not exist.
Question #6 goes on to ask the survey taker whether they believe there is any institutional bias or racism in The Salvation Army. Question #7 says: “If you answered no to question #6, do you think others in The Salvation Army think there are racial tensions or institutional racism?” The purpose of these questions, I started to feel, was to force the survey taker to admit that The Salvation Army is institutionally racist according to their definition of racism. There is no room for any Officer to elaborate on how they disagree with the definitions, framing, or worldview informing the questions.
The final question asks: “What is the best way to address Racism in The Salvation Army?” The answer options are: “individual reconciliation,” “group reconciliation,” “addressing structures and practices that cause racism,” “all of the above,” or “other.” Note that there is no option for the survey taker to simply say that racism is not a problem in The Salvation Army. The survey (which according to the email, was “intended to go to all the officers within your division, employees, and soldiers” for the Central Territory) simply assumes that racism is present in the organization.
Going through the survey, it became apparent that the survey was attempting to lead me to making only one conclusion about The Salvation Army – that it harbored problematic racism.
This belief is one of the core tenets of critical race theory. Critical race theorists teach that racism is ubiquitous in all aspects of American life. They also teach that it works systemically; that is, by being ingrained in the systems and institutions that operate in society. Their primary evidence of the system being racist is the reality that individuals from different demographics have different life outcomes on average, without taking into account any variables that might impact said life outcomes apart from the color of their skin. All of these concepts are reflected in The Salvation Army’s survey.
Any officer who believes in individualism, colorblindness, and meritocracy will be unable to answer any of the survey questions in good faith. Any officer who believes that The Salvation Army is not a racist organization would not be able to answer these questions in good faith either. Many (if not most) Americans believe that racism is primarily an issue of individuals who harbor feelings of hate against those of other races, not a society-wide conspiracy as alleged by antiracist activists. This survey totally excludes the colorblind perspective from the conversation and forces Officers and other Salvationists into a critical race theory-informed box.