Democracy

Not-So-Democratic Convention

"One cannot conceive of other elements [that could be] put in place to create a space that's more of an affront to the idea of free expression," said U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock, after touring the Democratic National Convention's "free speech" protest zone in Boston. The zone is "bordered by cement barriers, a double row of chain-line fencing, heavy black netting, and tightly woven plastic mesh," with "coils of razor wire" along elevated train tracks.

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GOP's Denial of Democracy Attack

The former head of a GOP Marketplace, a Republican consulting group, has pleaded guilty to jamming get-out-the-vote efforts on election day in New Hampshire two years ago. The company used computer-generated phone calls to flood phone lines that were set up so voters could call for rides to the polls.

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Another Setback for the E-voting Lobby

Bowing to the demands of hundreds of angry members, the League of Women Voters has rescinded its support of paperless voting machines. About 800 delegates who attended LWV's biennial convention in Washington voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that supports "voting systems and procedures that are secure, accurate, recountable and accessible."

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Democracy Is Gr8!

Bush administration plans for "the world's wealthiest nations to declare their support for democracy in the Middle East" at the G8 Summit this week are backfiring. The declaration "has strained relations with several important allies in the Arab world," including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan.

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Celebrate (or Protest) Somewhere Else

The Boston Globe reports that the Democratic National Convention Host Committee's message has changed over the past month, from "Celebrate Boston" to "Let's Work Around It." "The desire to make the convention a community celebration is rubbing up against security precautions ordered for the first political convention since the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks," the Globe writes. Protest restrictions at both the Boston Democratic and New York Republican conventions are raising concerns.

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DuPont's Public Filibuster

As area residents and activists prepared to participate in a public hearing on DuPont Titanium Technologies' request to increase polluting activities at its plant outside Pass Christian, Mississippi, they had no idea they'd have a long wait before getting a turn to speak. "When they realized a handful of prominent supporters - including economic development directors, chamber boosters, bankers and several plant employees - had reserved the first hour and a half of floor time, the hundreds of concerned residents grew livid," reports Greg Harman.

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