What Is Section 230 And Why Is Trump Raging About It?

A few days ago, soon to be former President Donald Trump vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill passed by the House of Representatives that, among other things, approves $740 billion in defense spending. Most of the time, the NDAA passes with bipartisan support and very little opposition, but it’s 2020 so that obviously didn’t happen. 

Trump’s key issues with the NDAA include provisions to rename bases currently named after Confederate soldiers, you know, the traitors who lost in a war against the union, and because the bill does not include provisions to repeal Section 230, a decades-old section of the Communications Decency Act. 

 

Yup, you read that correctly. Donald Trump, who loves our troops, vetoed a necessary bill that would give those who serve our country a 3% pay raise because he is upset about an unrelated communications law. 

So, What Exactly Is Section 230?

Almost every communications professor I ever had referred to the provision as one of the most important pieces of legislation protecting freedom of speech on the internet. Section 230 was created with bipartisan support as an attempt to just make the internet a better place. 

Word for word, the law says that “o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In short: the people are responsible for what they post, not the platform they post it on. 

Before section 230, if a company DID moderate their message board, they were treated as a publisher. This meant that they were at risk of being sued for any fraud, harassment, or libel that happened on the message board. Because of this legal risk, companies would be less willing to censor what users can post, if they censored things at all.

There were obvious problems with that type of behavior, as there are very few justifications for punishing companies who were just trying to make their platforms more pleasant places. So, Section 230 tried to fix that issue and basically said that if platforms moderated offensive content, they would have legal protections from being sued for free speech violations when they do so. 

Ok, What’s Trump’s Problem With It?

The two-time popular vote loser has grown increasingly frustrated with Twitter’s ability to put warnings on his tweets that contain blatant lies about things like Covid and the election. So, this spring, the president issued an executive order that said that when companies – like Twitter or Facebook – edit or moderate content, they lose the legal protections offered by Section 230. 

Here’s the thing, Trump isn’t necessarily wrong to be against Section 230. For a while, there has been strong bipartisan opposition to the provision. This is because most “big tech” companies take advantage of the legal protections offered by Section 230 without using their moderation power in good faith (*cough* Facebook *cough*). 

Earlier this year, Democratic Senators Diane Feinstein and Blumenthal partnered with Republicans such as Senator Lindsey Graham to introduce a law that would effectively make it so companies had to earn Section 230 protections. The EARN IT act, which is incredibly problematic, hasn’t solved any of the key issues with Section 230 and puts sex workers and many other groups at risk of privacy violations. 

Republican and Trump-led opposition to Section 230 is rooted in a desire to stop moderation (aside from when it comes to violent or obscene content) and often involves repealing the act altogether. 

Conversely, Democratic opposition to Section 230 focuses on the lack of moderation of content that contains dis/misinformation or hate speech. Largely, Democratic lawmakers oppose fully repealing the provision and are more in favor of reforming and updating it. 

TLDR: Section 230 was created in the 1990s, long before platforms like MySpace even entered our public consciousness. Many opponents to Section 230 on both sides of the aisle (including myself) feel that Section 230 is outdated and that it offers too many protections to social media companies. While Republicans think that these companies should have almost no ability to moderate content, Democrats feel that they should be pushed to further their moderation of problematic content and clarify the terms of content moderation processes. 

Long story short, while countless Americans are starving, have lost their jobs and healthcare, and are unable to pay rent, the Commander in Chief is doing what he does best: throwing a sh*t fit over Twitter and attempt to protect the legacies of literal confederate soldiers. As of right now, the House has voted to override Trump’s veto of the NDAA, especially because, again, Section 230 has literally nothing to do with the bill.

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How You Can Help Flip The Senate With The Georgia Runoffs

After the longest Tuesday in history, Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris are officially the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect. That’s right, after four long years of waiting for this moment, I can finally say Donald Trump is f*cking fired. 

But, because it’s 2020, the election isn’t over yet. 

As a reminder, to flip the Senate, Democrats needed to net four seats, including the Vice Presidency, which we won. Here’s how we landed: Dems flipped seats in Colorado and Arizona, Republicans flipped a seat in Alabama, and our best chance of taking the whole Senate is in Georgia, which will hold runoffs for two Senate seats on January 5. 

In Georgia, candidates need to earn a majority of votes, at least 50%, or the race goes to a runoff. No candidate running for Georgia Senate crossed that threshold after the Nov. 3. vote. Which means we can win this thing. 

Kelly Loeffler, the Republican incumbent (who may or may not have sold her soul to the Devil for amazing hair) was appointed to replace retiring senator Johnny Isakson. She will be running against Reverend Raphael Warnock, progressive activist and pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. In the other race, David Perdue, the incumbent, is facing the highly popular Jon Ossoff. Ossoff nearly won a House seat in 2018, when Stacey Abrams nearly won the state’s gubernatorial race. Georgia, you look so much better in blue! 

I know we’re all really tired (and prob hungover) but winning Georgia is not totally out of reach, which is why it’s really important to start putting even more focus on the races in Georgia. I put together four easy-ish things you can do to help John Ossoff and Reverend Warnock flip the Senate. 

 

Donate Money to Campaigns

Money is obviously really important to running successful campaigns, and with national attention turned to Georgia, funding on both sides is going to skyrocket. One option to help voters out would be to donate directly to Jon Ossoff and Reverend Warnock’s campaigns. 

Donate Money to Organizations Focused on Flipping the Senate

If you’re not exactly sure where your money will be the most effective, another option is donating to organizations that will help allocate your money for you and make sure that your donation is the most effective. 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will put resources in a variety of places including the campaigns, voter registration and GOTV efforts, and advertising needs. Vote Save America’s Get Mitch or Die Trying campaign will similarly allocate the resources and money between the two candidates and gives you the option to split your donation between the two. 

Text and Phone Banking for Candidates

Text banking was a huge tool used during the general election to get out the vote and help persuade people to vote blue. There are a lot of different organizations and events that will start looking for volunteers to text bank as the election gets closer.

Right now, my favorite one is Jon Ossoff’s official campaign’s text banking events simply because he’s calling the initiative ‘Run Your Ossoff’ which is, like, really clever. Events are available over a wide range of times every day and are completely online. 

Volunteer With Fair Fight Action

Founded by the queen herself, Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight is dedicated to protecting against voter suppression efforts, especially in Georgia. Through Fair Fight, you can call and text voters to help them secure their registration and make their voting plans, and, if you live in Georgia, sign up to be a poll worker. 

Through January 5, we’re donating 20% of sales from our Flip The Senate merch collection to Fair Fight Action.

Even though I’m normally very overdramatic, I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that winning these two Senate races is critical to making sure the Democrats can fight for important policy changes in the Senate. The good news is that with record youth turnout in the general election, and the ability for 17.5 year olds to vote in the runoff, Democrats have a pretty good chance at making this happen.

If you spent the time between Tuesday and Saturday wishing you had gotten more involved in the Presidential election, now’s the time to make it happen.

Image: Shutterstock

Presidential Debate Recap: Will You Shut Up, Man?

If you’re reading this on September 30, last night was the first presidential debate, and holy f*ck am I emotionally exhausted. However, democracy doesn’t take mental health days so, here I am. 

Last night’s debate was in Cleveland, Ohio (go Cavs), and was moderated by Fox’s Chris Wallace. Heading into the debate, Wallace planned to focus on the candidates’ records, the Supreme Court, COVID, the economy, race, and election integrity. Trump was also expected to be asked questions about discoveries regarding his taxes. However, the debate’s main themes ended up being fragile masculinity, gaslighting, and interrupting each other. 

For some context, with only five weeks left until November 3rd, over a million voters have cast their ballots, and 86% of voters have made up their minds, according to Politico. So, we’re not sure how informative or influential this shit will end up being in the election. Quite honestly, if I wanted to see three guys yell at each other incoherently, I’d watch frat guys argue. 

Whether you watched it and got too wrapped up in our ‘drink or donate’ game to remember most of it or you decided not to subject your mental health to the sh*t show that was last nights debate, I’m here with what I think are the most importantly insane moments from the debate. Let’s talk about where this wild ride took us. 

On The Supreme Court

The debate started with a discussion over the Supreme Court that focused on Amy Coney Barrett, health care, and election results. While Trump claimed that he, as President, has the right to nominate a new justice, Biden held that the American people have a right to have a say in who gets to make the nomination, especially since people have already started voting. 

Trump also said that filling the late Justice Ginsburg’s seat was crucial before the election if the Supreme Court is tasked with a ruling on election results. This very much fits with the Republican party’s goal of politicizing the Supreme Court and court system in their favor rather than neutralizing the institution. 

On COVID

Last night, the President continued to demonstrate his concerning misunderstanding of and desire to distract from the coronavirus pandemic. Voters have overwhelmingly disapproved of the Presidents’ handling of the virus, which has now killed over 200,000 Americans and 1 million people worldwide. Trump continued pushing the unsubstantiated claim that children and young people aren’t affected by the coronavirus. 

Donald Trump also claimed that his rallies that completely ignore social distancing guidelines have “no negative effect” as if Herman Cain didn’t just die after possibly contracting COVID at, wait for it, a Trump campaign event. The President tried to distinguish between his rallies and Joe Biden’s in a way that made Biden look weak and unpopular. IDK about anyone else, but I feel like following social distancing guidelines, taking precautions to make sure attendees are safe, and modeling mask-wearing behavior is a little more presidential than pretending that the virus doesn’t exist.  

On The Economy

Vice President Biden’s weakest moments were during discussions over the economy, if for no other reason than the fact that he made some exaggerated claims. While the economy in 2016 was not horrible and unemployment was falling, it certainly wasn’t at its best. However, President Trump’s claims that he “had to close the greatest economy in the history of the country” (due to the pandemic) were also incorrect. Trump came into office during a period of economic expansion that was in trouble before COVID-19. 

Trump also claimed that he brought back 700,000 manufacturing jobs, which is blatantly incorrect. According to the Washington Post‘s fact check of the debate, at most, 480,000 manufacturing jobs have been created during the Trump presidency. However, due to recent unemployment rates, Trump is responsible for a net loss of 252,000 jobs. 

On His Taxes

He did it again! President Trump claimed that in 2016 and 2017, he spent millions of dollars in federal income taxes as if the New York Times doesn’t have the receipts saying he paid $750 both of those years. When asked to back up his claims that the New York Times report about his taxes was fabricated, Trump decided to latch on to his excuse that his tax returns/audits are in progress. Sure, Jan.

On Family Matters

Like the true heartless asshole he is, the President had no issue attacking Joe Biden’s family. The President repeatedly brought up the Moscow mayor’s wife, unsubstantiated claims about Hunter Biden’s board membership with a private equity firm that has links to the Chinese government, and implied issues with nepotism. And, as much as I wanted to see Biden absolutely destroy Donald Trump’s adult children and the Trump family’s own issues with nepotism, Biden took the high road, which was probably the smart thing. 

Instead of absolutely dragging Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr., Biden turned to face the camera and reminded viewers that this debate and the presidency were not about the Trumps and the Bidens but about American families, many of whom have suffered devastating losses due to the pandemic. 

Biden did, however, take this chance to discuss Beau’s military experiences in context of the disrespect with which the President talks about people who are enlisted in the military and veterans. Instead of, like, apologizing for being extremely disrespectful to the people who risk their lives for America, Trump responded with an out of pocket and unnecessary attack about Hunter Biden’s history of addiction. Biden responded with compassion, acknowledging the toll drug abuse has taken on his and so many other American families but noting he’s “proud of his son” for his recovery. 

On White Supremacy

Unsurprisingly, when asked if he would condemn white supremacists’ actions, Donald Trump refused to do so. It’s not that he didn’t answer the question; he gave us a pretty clear answer by telling Proud Boys, a white supremacist/nationalist group, to “stand back and stand by.” Call me radical, but I feel like condemning white supremacists and telling them to f*cking stop doing what they’re doing should be the primary litmus test for Presidential candidates? 

Trump also took this moment to talk about how ANTIFA and “the left” is a more significant threat and cause more violence than extremist groups on the radical right. Biden responded that, of course, he condemns white nationalists, opposes violence, and that “ANTIFA is an idea, not an organization.” As a fun reminder, ANTIFA quite literally means Anti-Fascist. 

TL;DR

Trump’s pre-debate strategy seemed to be setting an incredibly low bar for Joe Biden’s performance. The thing with this is that it was just a stupid idea because all Biden had to do was the bare f*cking minimum to overcome expectations. 

While Trump behaved like a bizarre combination of an out-of-control toddler and gaslighting ex, voters got a glimpse of the same Joe Biden who said “this is a big f*cking deal” during a bill signing. Biden may have made comments that would traditionally be considered inappropriate and crossing a line (read: “would you shut up, man?”) with a sitting president, his frustration was totally called for. Since Biden undoubtedly cleared the incredibly low bar the President set for him, the consensus seems to be that the former Vice President came out on top. 

Like Jake Tapper said, the debate “was a hot mess, inside of a dumpster fire, inside of a train wreck.” But, if you’re asking my opinion: 

Losers: Biden, Trump, Chris Wallace, and The American People

Winner: The viral tweets and memes that were made among the way



Images: Photos by Jim WATSON and SAUL LOEB / AFP; Giphy (7)

We Have To Talk About Trump’s Antisemitism

My Jewish identity has been a huge part of my life since I was born. I was lucky enough to grow up somewhere with a large Jewish community. I went to a Jewish summer camp, participated in youth groups, and now go to a college with a relatively large Jewish population. So, while I grew up aware of antisemitism, I’m privileged in that my own experiences of it have been pretty limited. 

Unfortunately, this is not super common for American Jews. As the Anti-Defamation Leauge (ADL) reported, antisemitic attacks are only becoming more frequent across the United States. In 2019, a recorded 2,107 anti-semitic incidents took place across the country. This was a 12 percent rise from the year before and the highest number since the ADL began recording.

Antisemitism is widespread across both major parties in the United States. Sometimes, it seems like attacks on Jewish people are coming from all sides. While we would expect a normal president to denounce all types of hate, including antisemitism, this isn’t the case with Trump. Instead, he covers up his antisemitic policies and behaviors with pro-Israel policy. 

For his entire presidency, Donald Trump has leaned on being “good for American Jews” because he is “good for Israel.” This week alone, during an annual pre-Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) call with Jewish leaders, Trump said, “We really appreciate you… we love your country also.” 

I'm American. https://t.co/bWUCJBDSKR

— Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) September 16, 2020

This isn’t the first time he has said something like this. Over the last several years, Trump has repeatedly implied that Jewish Americans should be grateful for his actions in the Middle East and his strengthened ties with the current Israeli Prime Minister. And, peace is a great thing, no matter who the President is, part of their job is helping further peace plans whenever possible. My problem isn’t with that, and honestly, I’m not even here to write about conflicts in the Middle East. 

My problem is that when Trump views Jewish Americans’ electoral support as tied to Israel, he is perpetuating the idea of ‘dual loyalty.’ The concept of dual loyalty is an antisemitic dog whistle that implies that Jewish people are inherently disloyal and place the global Jewish community over the countries in which they live. In the United States, it is used to imply that American Jews can’t be 100% loyal to America because some of their loyalty is owed to Israel or the international Jewish community. 

Trump’s attempts to win Jewish people’s electoral support are all based on the extremely reductive assumption that American Jews’ top policy concern is Israel. While it may be the case for some members of the Jewish community, it certainly isn’t true for everyone. By only attempting to appeal to Jewish voters through Middle Eastern policy, the Trump administration actively ignores dangerous forms of antisemitism in America. 

White supremacy and antisemitism are inextricable from each other. We all remember what Donald Trump said after the Unite The Right rally in 2017: “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” Many of the “very fine people” that Trump was talking about were carrying Nazi flags and shouting, “Jews will not replace us.”

Throughout his presidency, Trump has clung to white supremacists’ support, endorsed their actions, and continuously given them platforms. The most recent example of this is Trump’s embracing of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which has blatantly anti-semitic roots. The theory pushes the narrative that the Rothschild family holds control of every bank in America and alleges that a secret ‘elite’ class dominates other important industries such as the media. 

A few weeks ago, when asked about the conspiracy group, Trump said, “I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate.” This is just another case of Trump not only dismissing dangerous antisemitism, but giving it a platform. 

American Jews are not a monolithic group, and we care about a lot of things. Like I said, the top priority for some Jewish people may be the state of Israel, and that’s ok. However, it is neither mine nor many of the Jewish voters I talk to. In fact, around 75% of Jewish voters supported Hillary Clinton in the last election, and Jewish voters consistently make up a large Democratic party base. 

This baffles Trump, who, despite his claims of being a great ally to the Jewish community, said that he thinks that if “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

If the President actually cared about Jewish voters, he would stop perpetuating the incredibly dangerous narrative of dual loyalty and denounce white supremacy. But, I’m not really holding my breath. 



What Is QAnon?

By now you’ve probably heard vaguely about the QAnon conspiracy theory. Whether you’ve read a Facebook chain from a crazy uncle, seen an ominous “Q” sign bobbling from a sea of Trump supporters, or read about adherents getting arrested in one place and elected in another, it’s clear that QAnon has entered the mainstream. And we have to deal with it. 

Read about QAnon’s beliefs, background, and danger to society below. 

What Do QAnon Supporters Believe?

QAnon supporters believe that Democrats, celebrities, and billionaires are part of a secret group that controls the world while participating in pedophilia and human trafficking to harvest the blood of children to get a chemical that will make them live longer.

Further, there is an illuminati-like “deep state” group made up of people like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, The Pope, and Oprah Winfrey. According to Q, these people and all of their friends are fighting a war against Donald Trump, who was handpicked by the military to save humanity from these progressive cannibals and regularly sends coded messages to his supporters about his efforts. 

This central theory has a number of offshoots, such as the theory that JFK Jr. didn’t die in 1999 and that 9/11 was not a terrorist attack. QAnon boils down to a combination of baseless conspiracies inspired by “Q’s” signals (keep reading) layered atop the 2016 theory that Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager was using a pizza restaurant as a code for a child trafficking ring in his stolen emails (Pizzagate) as part of a much larger, more sinister plot to take over the world. 

QAnon also pushes an explicitly antisemitic conspiracy theory that the Rothschild family controls all of the banks in the United States. The concept that a secret group of powerful people is ruling the world comes from a book called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion that was initially published in 1903 in Russia. The book contains a fake plan that Jewish leaders purportedly had for “world domination.” Its claims were frequently used to justify antisemitism, especially during World War II.

To achieve their aims, QAnon disseminates inflammatory and false information a range of issues, including social justice protests and the coronavirus, to undermine their perceived opposition. 

This year, QAnon successfully pushed the theory that Wayfair was trafficking children as part of a larger criminal conspiracy into the mainstream. It disseminated a video featuring false and inflammatory claims about the pandemic that was viewed 8 million times.

QAnon has also infiltrated and promoted vague “Save The Children” efforts across the country, attaching their baseless claims to the real issue of child trafficking.  

Tell Me More About This “Save The Children” Thing 

Maybe recently you’ve seen an influencer or girl from your high school share vague child sex trafficking statistics with the hashtag #SaveTheChildren. These awareness-raising efforts were started in earnest long ago to fundraise for Save The Children — an international nonprofit working on a range of child issues, from hunger to education. But QAnon saw rising concern on social media for child sex trafficking — born largely of the Jeffrey Epstein case — as an opportunity to push their theory that a “deep state” is responsible.

QAnon’s strategy? Flood the internet with inflammatory misinformation connected to the #SaveTheChildren hashtag, invite concerned social media users to pro-QAnon groups, and then attempt to convince them of their broader, baseless conspiracy that people like Tom Hanks are eating children.

 

Where Did QAnon Come From? 

Like most insane theories, QAnon originated on 4chan, an internet message board, with an anonymous user. User “Q” claims to be a high-ranking military advisor, and his posts started in late 2017 and have continued since then. Q’s posts are pretty much either different questions that lead his followers to the “truth,” or are full of predictions that rarely end up being accurate. 

Now, QAnon is spread through Youtube videos, some social media platforms, and fringe message boards like 8Kun. 

Why Is This Dangerous? 

Because people actually believe this stuff. Possibly quite a lot of people: an internal investigation by Facebook estimates that millions of users have joined pro-QAnon groups.  Earlier this year, the FBI labeled QAnon adherents and other “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” as possible domestic terrorism threats, likely to justify violence if they sincerely believe the world is run by murderous pedophiles. 

These aren’t just warnings: At the height of the “Pizzagate” conspiracy, an armed man fired into a Washington D.C. restaurant he believed was the center of a sex trafficking ring run by Democrats, endangering staff and patrons. A QAnon supporter was arrested in April for threatening to kill Joe Biden. 

QAnon continues to gather legs as right-wing domestic terrorism is a growing threat. Yet most Americans don’t believe or even know what QAnon is. According to a poll done in March of this year by Pew Research, 76% of Americans have never heard of the conspiracy theory. 

Facebook and Twitter have taken action against the QAnon, either banning accounts and groups that supported the theory, limiting the features that these users can access, and removing content from recommended groups and pages.  

What Do Politicians Say?

Though you might think that political leaders from both parties have vocally opposed this dangerous conspiracy, certain far-right politicians have embraced or expressed support for its adherents. After all, it is 2020 and rationality is about as nonexistent as my social life.

There are still several candidates running for Congress this year who have supported and even advocated for the theory. The most well-known is Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican candidate for the House of Representatives who will surely win her seat. House candidate Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins of Oregon have also been supportive QAnon. 

Donald Trump has refused to denounce QAnon, instead suggesting he is grateful for its support. 

“I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” he said on August 19

The president also regularly retweets QAnon-invented misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. 

Share With Caution 

In the case of the Wayfair selling children story and the vague “Save the Children” “campaign,” you might not know when something you’re retweeting or sending to your friends is part of a QAnon theory. That’s what makes this group so toxic and why it is so important to be aware of what you’re sharing on the Internet. Next time you click “add to story” on a mommy blogger’s plea to help victims of child sex trafficking, make sure you verify the details and vet the source. 



A previous version of this article stated that the pizza shop targeted in Pizzagate was in North Carolina. Comet Ping Pong pizzaria is in Washington, D.C. A man from North Carolina attacked the shop. 

Here Are Links To Register To Vote And Request A Mail Ballot In Every U.S. State

Amid a global pandemic that will see unprecedented levels of mail-in voting, it’s more important than ever that you plan your vote now. Below, you will find direct links to your state’s Board of Elections to register to vote (39 states will let you do so online right now) and/or request your absentee ballot.

The deadlines listed below are deadlines to register to vote. Some states continue to extend deadlines for requesting or returning your absentee ballot, so make sure to check that regularly. In any event, you can absolutely still vote in person on election day or earlier in many states. If you plan to vote by mail, we cannot stress this enough: request your ballot ASAP. Fill it out ASAP.  Return it ASAP. You can return your absentee ballot in the mail or drop it off at a safe location in your area.  And if you never receive your absentee ballot or forget to fill it out, you can still vote on election day in person.



Alabama

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot. 

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Alaska

General Election Deadline: October 4, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Arizona

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Arkansas

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

California

General Election Deadline: October 19; also offers same-day registration 

Every registered voter in California will receive a ballot in the mail — make sure your address is updated.

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Register online now. 

 

Colorado

General Election Deadline: October 26, 2020 but also offers same-day registration for those who want to vote in person on election day. 

Every registered voter in Colorado will be sent a mail ballot — make sure your address is updated.

Register online now and check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Connecticut

General Election Deadline: October 27, 2020 or same-day registration.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Delaware

General Election Deadline: October 10, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Florida

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot.

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Georgia

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Hawaii

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020, also offers same-day registration.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Idaho

General Election Deadline: October 9, 2020

*Can register to vote in person on election day

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Illinois

General Election Deadline:

By Mail: October 6, 2020

Online: October 18, 2020 

Also offers same-day registration to vote in person. 

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Indiana

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Iowa

General Election Deadline: October 24, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Kansas

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Kentucky

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Louisiana

General Election Deadline:

In person/by mail: October 5, 2020

Online: October 13, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Maine

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting.

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Maryland

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Massachusetts

General Election Deadline: October 24, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Michigan

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020, but also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Minnesota

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Mississippi

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Missouri

General Election Deadline: October 7, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Montana

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020, offers same-day registration to vote in-person on election day. 

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Nebraska

General Election Deadline:

By mail or online: October 16, 2020

In person: October 23, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Nevada

General Election Deadline: October 6, 2020 to vote by mail, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day.

Every registered voter in Nevada will be sent a mail ballot — make sure your address is updated.

Register online now and check your absentee ballot deadlines.

New Hampshire

General Election Deadline: October 21, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day. 

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

New Jersey

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Every registered voter in New Jersey will be sent a mail ballot this year.

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

New Mexico

General Election Deadline:

By Mail: October 6, 2020

In person: October 31, 2020

Register now and check your absentee ballot deadlines.

New York

General Election Deadline: October 9, 2020

Register now (online if you have an ID) or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

North Carolina

General Election Deadline:

By Mail: October 9, 2020

In Person: October 31, 2020 

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

North Dakota

To vote in North Dakota, you just need to bring a valid proof of ID and residency to the polls. 

Find your polling location or request an absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Ohio

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Oklahoma

General Election Deadline: October 9, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Oregon

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Every registered voter in Oregon will be sent a ballot in the mail.

Register now and check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Pennsylvania

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Rhode Island

General Election Deadline: October 4, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting, but for the presidential election only.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

South Carolina

General Election Deadline:

In Person: October 2, 2020

Online: October 4, 2020

By Mail: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

South Dakota

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Tennessee

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Texas

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Utah

General Election Deadline: October 23, 2020, also offers same-day registration to vote in-person on election day. 

Every registered voter in Utah will be sent a mail ballot — make sure your address is updated or register online now 

Vermont

General Election Deadline: November 3, 2020, also offers same-day registration to vote in-person on election day. 

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Virginia

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Washington

General Election Deadline: October 26, 2020

Every registered voter in Washington will be sent a mail ballot. Register online now and make sure your address is updated

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Washington, D.C.

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting. 

This year, every registered voter in Washington, D.C. will be sent a mail ballot. Check the deadline to return by mail, or drop off at a dropbox location.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

 

West Virginia

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Wisconsin

General Election Deadline:

By Mail or online: October 14, 2020 

In Person: October 30

also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day. 

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Wyoming

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020 by mail, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day. 

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

U.S. Territories

Voter registration and absentee ballot deadlines here.

We Can’t Afford to Ignore Kamala Harris’ Asian-American Identity

As an Asian-American woman, I was embarrassed that it took me until late into the 2020 presidential election primaries to learn that Senator Kamala Harris is half South Asian.

The mainstream media had been primarily focused on the fact that she was a Black woman running for the highest position of office in the country. However, what has been way too often omitted from the coverage is her Indian heritage. Upon being named Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick on Tuesday, Senator Harris became the first Black woman and the first Indian-American, South Asian, and Asian-American person to be on a major party’s presidential ticket. All these factors contribute to the insurmountable significance of this historic vice-presidential nomination.

Senator Harris is a daughter of Shyamala Gopalan, an Indian-born doctor and activist, and Donald Harris, a Jamaican-born economist and activist. Her parents divorced when she was a child, and she and her sister Maya were raised primarily by Gopalan.

In her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris mentions that her mother was her most significant influence. The family often visited India when she was young—her mother’s family “instilled us with pride in our South Asian roots,” Harris writes. Kamala Devi Harris shares her first name with a beloved Indian flower, a Hindu deity, and a Bihari river. Her middle name Devi means goddess in Hindu.

Yet, there are still some folks who might be surprised to discover Harris’ Indian-American identity.

During her 2010 bid for California attorney general, many in San Francisco’s Indian American community were surprised to learn about her Indian ancestry. Until this week, the media often omitted her South Asian identity and merely identified her as the first Black woman so-and-so. During the presidential primary race, reporters and analyzers seldom referred to Harris as the “Asian American candidate”–such title only went to Andrew Yang. 

When the speakers were announced for next week’s Democratic National Convention, many claimed – incorrectly – that the event included no Asian American speakers. Kamala Harris’ name was clearly listed. (One person to represent an entire minority group is, of course, is far from adequate, and Yang has since been added to the line up as well.) 

Even as a U.S.-born East Asian American, I never fully felt a part of the American culture while growing up. To this day, strangers underestimate my ability to understand and read English, even though I write for a living, and English was the first language I learned as a child. Growing up in a predominately white town, I was one of the few “oriental-looking” students (as teachers phrased it) in school. My childhood best friend was South Asian, and we initially bonded over the fact that we were always “othered” by our peers.

Coming of age during the aftermath of 9/11 and a few years later, the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting, my Asian-American peers and I were seriously confused about our place in America. Bullied and named-called by our peers as a “terrorist” or “shooter,” it was challenging to grapple with our identities or ethnicities. America was the only place that we knew to call home, and so to be told to “go back to your own country” was so confusing and disheartening.

We would never have fathomed to see ourselves in the highest office. I get goosebumps just thinking about what this historic moment means to today’s kids who might be in similar shoes as I was back then.

Although there is no one right way to discuss or portray Harris’ identity, it does a massive disservice to her ancestors and the overall Asian-American community to completely ignore this aspect of her heritage and identity. To give attention to only her Black heritage feeds into the entrenched and outdated “one drop” rule from centuries ago, a practice that identifies and segregates people with the slightest African blood.

Harris herself has explicitly said that she doesn’t want to choose one identity over the other, but wishes to identify as simply American. However, from her childhood, when she was bused to another school district as a part of a desegregation plan, to her whole career as a politician where her Blackness has been a topic of contention, her racial identities have been at the center stage of public discourse. 

We are far from being past Trump’s obscure obsession with birtherism, which has resurfaced again. In a news conference on Thursday, Trump wrongfully said that, “I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” It was a decade ago when he spread another race-based conspiracy theory that sowed mistrust in the background of another politician of color: President Obama.

Unfortunately, in today’s America, the reality is that anti-Blackness and the controversies of a biracial identity will continue to surface during the campaign trail.

The year 2020 has exposed the fact that most of America still doesn’t have the language or knowledge to speak about difficult racial topics, nor admit to the extreme level of white supremacy that still exists. Amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, hate crimes against Asian Americans have been at an ultimate high. Pundits (and our own President) have referred to Covid-19 as the “Wuhan flu,” “Chinese flu,” and “Kung flu.” In the following months, the brutal killing of George Floyd mobilized hundreds and thousands of people to protest against the overt racism and mistreatment against the BIPOC community.

Against this backdrop, we cannot afford not to explore the nuances of Kamala Harris’ identity and what her vice presidency would mean at the time in history we are at right now. Just like Barack Obama’s presidential win in 2008 was an unthinkable achievement, Kamala Harris’ hopeful VP win will illuminate similar sentiments for years to come. Over the next few months and years, the meaning of being an American in the 21st century must fundamentally develop into a new kind of paradigm.

Our democracy needs you. Take the first step now by committing to staying informed. Sign up for the Sup newsletter for a daily breakdown to actually make you laugh (instead of cry) about the news. 

Americans Are Sneaking Into Canada On Their Yachts

The president of BC Marine Parks Forever, George Creek, told NPR that he called America “the biggest petri dish in the world,” and you know what, he was right.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Canada closed its borders to all nonessential American travel. So far, that’s worked out pretty well for them. On August 8th, they reported 320 new cases to the United States’ 55,692. So, it makes sense that Canadians aren’t too thrilled by the idea of letting Americans into their country, which has successfully and safely made it to the final reopening stages in most places. 

But now, because Americans simply cannot take no for an answer, some people have been sneaking into the country the same way high schoolers with strict parents go to parties: by lying about where they’re actually going. Apparently, people have been telling Canadian border patrol that they are passing through Canada to Alaska. This is called the ‘Alaska Loophole’ (which, incidentally, sounds like the name of a movie Reese Witherspoon would star in). 

Americans are also making their way to British Columbia on their yachts by sailing through protected areas. Members of the Council of BC Yacht Clubs are concerned and pissed off, estimating that close to 40 American boats are currently in Canadian waters. According to international maritime law, these boats are supposed to have an automatic ID system that stays on at all times. These systems are put in place to prevent collisions and track ships in real-time. However, it appears that these boats are turning off their tracking systems to avoid being caught by law enforcement. 

And it’s not like these people are just staying on their boats. In the same interview with NPR, George Creek talks about how some of these boats are docking and walking through stores with no social distancing and no masks. It’s obviously pretty understandable that more than 80% of Canadians want to keep the border closed.  

It just seems a little ironic to me that not that long ago, Donald Trump literally invented caravans of migrants from Honduras and denounced those who wanted to leave their home countries. He called them criminals and implied that they may have had ties to terrorist organizations. Unsurprisingly, the president hasn’t expressed any issue with the very real caravan of yachts that is illegally entering Canada and possibly bringing in cases of an incredibly contagious virus that their government just got under control.

As the late, great Robin Williams said in 2013, Canada is “like a really nice apartment over a meth lab.”