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.
Buried deep in Biden Infrastructure Law: mandatory kill switches on all new cars by 2026
Remember that 2700-page, $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill that the US government passed back in August? Well, have you read it? Of course we’re joking — we know you haven’t read it. Most of the legislators who voted on it probably haven’t either. Some folks have, though, and they’re finding some pretty alarming things buried in that bill.
One of the most concerning things we’ve heard so far is the revelation that this “infrastructure” bill includes a measure mandating vehicle backdoor kill-switches in every car by 2026. The clause is intended to increase vehicle safety by “passively monitoring the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired,” and if that sentence doesn’t make your hair stand on end, you’re not thinking about the implications.
Let us spell it out for you: by 2026, vehicles sold in the US will be required to automatically and silently record various metrics of driver performance, and then make a decision, absent any human oversight, whether the owner will be allowed to use their own vehicle. Even worse, the measure goes on to require that the system be “open” to remote access by “authorized” third parties at any time.
The passage in the bill was unearthed by former Georgia Representative Bob Barr, writing over at the Daily Caller. Barr notes correctly that this is a privacy disaster in the making. Not only does it make every vehicle a potential tattletale (possibly reporting minor traffic infractions, like slight speeding or forgetting your seat-belt, to authorities or insurance companies), but tracking that data also makes it possible for bad actors to retrieve it.
More pressing than the privacy concerns, though, are the safety issues. Including an automatic kill switch of this sort in a machine with internet access presents the obvious scenario that a malicious agent could disable your vehicle remotely with no warning. Outside that possible-but-admittedly-unlikely idea, there are all kinds of other reasons that someone might need to drive or use their vehicle while “impaired”, such as in the case of emergency, or while injured.
Even if the remote access part of the mandate doesn’t come to pass, the measure is still astonishingly short-sighted. As Barr says, “the choice as to whether a vehicle can or cannot be driven … will rest in the hands of an algorithm over which the car’s owner or driver have neither knowledge or control.” Barr, a lawyer himself, points out that there are legal issues with this whole concept, too. He anticipates challenges to the measure on both 5th Amendment (right to not self-incriminate) and 6th Amendment (right to face one’s accuser) grounds. He also goes on to comment on the vagueness of the legislation. What exactly is “impaired driving”? Every state and many municipalities have differing definitions of “driving while intoxicated.”
Furthermore, there’s also no detail in the legislation about who should have access to the data collected by the system. Would police need a warrant to access the recorded data? Would it be available to insurance companies or medical professionals? If someone is late on their car payment, can the lender remotely disable the vehicle? Certainly beyond concerns of who would be allowed official access, there’s also once again the ever-present fear of hackers gaining access to the data—which security professionals well know, absolutely will happen, sooner or later. As Barr says, the collected data would be a treasure trove of data to “all manner of entities … none of which have our best interests at heart.”
Lincoln Project Scheme To Support Trump In 2024
Lincoln Project’s desire for Trump to run again leaves observers disgusted, surprised: ‘Utterly desperate’
The Lincoln Project is, on the surface, vehemently against Donald Trump ever becoming president of the United States again. The left-wing PAC founded by disgruntled ex-Republicans has called him a coward, a loser, an authoritarian, a clear and present danger to national security, and responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
So co-founder Rick Wilson’s expressed desire in a recent interview to see him be the Republican nominee in 2024 has some people befuddled, particularly with polls showing Trump with a solid chance of ousting President Biden in a rematch. Some see it as more of a scam from an organization that’s attracted some praise for its aggressive tactics but also derision from the right and left for allegedly abandoning conservative principles and soaking liberal donors. It’s still smarting from the embarrassing John Weaver sexual harassment scandal and its flop in the Virginia governor’s race where it attempted a viral smear to paint Glenn Youngkin supporters as White supremacists.
“It begs the question, why? What’s their motive? What’s their motivation? And I can understand why a lot of people would say it has to do with money,” one network insider and political commentator told Fox News Digital.
The Lincoln Project boasted to CNN about its ad airing this week in Trump’s town of Palm Beach, Florida, that’s meant to annoy him about the rising political star of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. DeSantis, a Republican, is allied with Trump but could be a potential rival 2024 contender.
“We want Trump to kill his own babies,” Wilson said. “We believe if we narrow the field and it’s only Trump in 2024, it’s an easy choice for Americans to say ‘no.'”
Former Lincoln Project executive director Sarah Lenti, who left the group this year, is disgusted by that stance.
She remains thoroughly opposed to Trump and joined the organization in 2020 because she believed he was dangerous, and she recalled the New York Times op-ed penned by co-founders Weaver, Wilson, Steve Schmidt and George Conway announcing the Lincoln Project’s formation.
“As Americans, we must stem the damage he and his followers are doing to the rule of law, the Constitution and the American character,” they wrote.
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