Tuesday, November 30, 2021

GA New Voting Law Drives Rejections Of Absentee Ballots

Georgia’s Republican Legislature tightened Absentee Ballot access, including by imposing an Earlier Deadline for Requests for Absentee Ballots, after a Record 1.3 million Georgians Voted Remotely, in last year’s Presidential Election.

New Data show Missed Deadline was the No. 1 Cause of Absentee Ballot Denials.

In all, Election Officials Rejected 4% of Absentee Ballot Requests, for this year’s Municipal Elections on Nov. 2nd, according to Public Voting Records, analyzed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

There were 1,362 Rejected Absentee Ballot Applications out of 35,312 Submitted.

That’s an increase from Less than 1% of Absentee Ballot Applications Rejected in Last year’s General Election.

“The 11-day deadline is too far in advance of Election Day to adequately serve voters, particularly when there is no provision for voters with unforeseen circumstances who learn shortly before Election Day that they cannot vote in person,” Heard County Elections Supervisor Tonnie Adams wrote in an affidavit for a lawsuit opposing the voting law.

The Top Reason Georgia Election Officials Rejected Absentee Ballot Applications, this Fall, was that they were Submitted too Close to Election Day, Missing a Deadline imposed by the State’s New voting Law.

Election Data show about 52% of All Absentee Application Rejections, were caused by Voters Requesting Ballots within the last 11 days, before the Election, too Late to meet the Requirements of a Voting Law passed in March.

Few People Voted after their Absentee Requests, were Rejected because of the Deadline. About 26% of those who Submitted their Absentee Ballot Requests after the Deadline went on to Cast Ballots In-Person on Election Day.

The Absentee Ballot Deadline, is part of Senate Bill 202, which also put Limitations on Remote Voting by Restricting Ballot Drop Boxes and requiring Additional Forms of ID.

The Majority-Republican General Assembly, tightened Absentee Ballot Access, after a Record 1.3 Million Georgians Voted Remotely in last year’s Presidential Election, two-Thirds of whom supported Democrat Joe Biden.

Supporters of the Absentee Request Deadline, said it ensures Voters have enough time to Receive and Return their Ballots through the Mail before Election Day. In Past Elections, Voters could Request Absentee Ballots, until the Friday Before an Election.

“The way it was before, you almost were setting voters up to fail,” said Amber McReynolds, the Founding CEO for the National Vote at Home Institute, which Advocates for Voting Access outside Polling Places. “That’s actually a best practice to cut it off so that voters are actually receiving the ballot with enough time to get it back.”

Critics of the Absentee Request Deadline said it’s too Early and Hinders Voters from being able to Cast Ballots. State Election Board Member, Sara Tindall Ghazal, said the Deadline should be Five to Seven days before Election Day, giving Voters more of an Opportunity to Vote Absentee. “Far too many voters end up being disenfranchised,” said Ghazal, the Democratic Party of Georgia’s member on the board. “It leads to many voters getting their applications rejected and not able to access their ballot otherwise.”

In all, Election Officials Rejected 4% of Absentee Ballot Requests, for this year’s Municipal Elections on Nov. 2nd, according to Public Voting Records. There were 1,362 Rejected Absentee Ballot Applications out of 35,312 Submitted.

The Second-Largest cause of Absentee Application Rejections also stemmed from Georgia’s Voting Law. Missing or incorrect ID Information accounted for 15% of Denied Ballot Requests. The Voting Law requires a Driver’s License Number, State ID Number, or a Photocopy of another Form of ID for Absentee Voting. Previously, Election Officials Verified Absentee Voters by a System of Signature Matching, and Registration Information Verification. The Law also Eliminated the Biggest Source of Absentee Application Rejections from Last year’s Election.

Three-quarters of Application Rejections, last year, were Duplicative Requests for Absentee Ballots, often caused because Voting Organizations and Local Governments repeatedly Mailed Voters Request Forms.

The Voting Law now Bans, Governments from Mailing Unsolicited Absentee Request Forms, and Organizations, are Only allowed to Mail Applications to Georgians who haven’t already Requested a Ballot or Voted. As a result, this Fall’s Elections had No Absentee Application Rejections because Voters submitted Forms Twice.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

NYC Climate Change Hub Planned For Historic Governors Island Schoolhouse

A historic Schoolhouse on Governors Island could soon become a linchpin of the City’s effort to combat Climate Change.

Buttermilk Labs, a Partnership of multiple Real Estate and Consulting Companies, will take over Building 301 on the Island and use the 23,000-square-foot Building as a Research and Training Facility focused on Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change, the Trust for Governors Island announced on Monday.

The $15.4 Million project is the result of an RFP Process that sought a Developer to Ground lease, Redevelop, and use the Building as a Hub for Climate Change Solutions.

Buttermilk Labs is set to sign a 55-year Ground Lease for Building 301, which originally served as a School for Children of the U.S. Army and Coast Guard Personnel who were stationed on Governors Island. The Partnership is led by the Real Estate firm North River Company; other Members include: Developer BJH Advisors; Climate Consulting firms Barretto Bay Strategies and Greenwood Strategies.

“This project will support New York City’s leadership in climate policy and green jobs while restoring one of Governors Island’s most treasured historic structures,” Trust for Governors Island CEO Clare Newman said.

Greenwood and Barretto Bay will Anchor the Project with Venture space, to Support and Mentor Startup firms focused on: Researching Renewable Energy, Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy, and Engineering for Climate Change.

It will include 10,000 square feet of Office Space overall, along with Laboratory Space, and 2,000 square feet of Event Space.

Companies that have already expressed interest in using the Building include: the Waterfront Alliance; Rebuild by Design; and Duro UAS, which makes Autonomous Systems to collect Data Underwater.

The Project will also host workforce and training programs focused on creating a pipeline for people in underserved communities to get climate jobs. Work on the development should be finished in early 2024 and should create more than 150 jobs.

The project is receiving $4 million in Funding from New York City, and $2.5 million in Funding from Empire State Development.

Restoring Historic Buildings, is an important part of North River Company’s History, notably when Firm Founder Coleman Burke, purchased the famed Terminal Stores Warehouse in Chelsea, with a Group of Investors for $12 million in 1983, and Renovated the Building, according to the Wall Street Journal and North River Company President Christopher Flagg.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Monday, November 29, 2021

Swedes Elect 1st Female PM Again

Magdalena Andersson, who last week was Sweden’s First Female Prime Minister, for Seven hours, before Resigning because a Budget Defeat, made a Coalition Party, Greens, Quit. Then, was Elected again on Monday, as the Nordic Nation's Head of Government.

In a 101-173 Vote with 75 Abstentions, the 349-seat Riksdag Elected Andersson, Leader of the Social Democrats, as Prime Minister. She will form a One-Party,Mminority Government.

Her Cabinet is expected to be named Tuesday. Formally, she will be installed following an Audience with King Carl XVI Gustav, Sweden's Figurehead Monarch. Andersson’s Predecessor as Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, is still Leading the Swedish Government in a Caretaking Capacity until a New One is formed.

Under the Swedish Constitution, Prime Ministers can be Named and Govern as long as a Parliamentary Majority, a minimum of 175 Lawmakers, is Not against them.

In a Speech to Parliament, Center Party Leader, Annie Loof, said a Female Prime Minister “means a lot to many girls and women, to see this glass roof shattered. I am proud that (the Center Party) is involved and makes this possible.” Her Party Abstain from Voting for or against Andersson, paving the way for her Election.

Andersson’s Appointment as Prime Minister had marked a Milestone for Sweden, viewed for Decades as One of Europe’s most Progressive Countries when it comes to Gender Relations, but which had yet to have a Woman in the Top Political Post.

The Right Wing of the Riksdag is Divided. Ulf Kristersson, Head of the Opposition Moderate Party, Sweden’s Second Largest, repeatedly has said that a Center-Right Government is Not feasible, because No Mainstream Party wants to cooperate with the Third-Largest Party, the Right-Wing Sweden Democrats.

Sweden’s next General Election is scheduled for Sept. 11th, 2022.

My wife is Swedish, a Descendant of Erik the Red's Half-Brother. On her other side, she is a Descentdant of the Mayflower, the English Ship that transported a Group of English Families, known today as the Pilgrims, from England to the New World in 1620.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Sunday, November 28, 2021

European EV Charging Network New Investment


EV Charging Network, IONITY, Powers-Up with €700 Million from: Audi, Bavaria, BlackRock, BMW, Electric Vehicle, EV Charging, Ford, Hyundai, KIA, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and VW.

Bavarian high-power Charging Station Network, IONITY, has announced a Fresh €700 Million Investment Round.

Manufacturer Agnostic, IONITY’s Charging Stations are present in 24 Countries, with the New Juice powering up further European Expansion Plans.

The Company aims to Quadruple the Number of Charging Points to some 7,000 by 2024.

While it remains Unconfirmed, Reuters reported last month, that BlackRock’s Global Renewable Power Platform, the only Non-OEM IONITY Shareholder sunk the lion’s share into the Investment at €500 Million.

While U.S.-based ChargePoint is attempting to make its mark on Europe through a series of Acquisitions, IONITY Investors simply aren’t having it.

“The entry of BlackRock as a shareholder and the commitment of our current shareholders underline IONITY’s attractiveness for investors and confirm the strength of our strategy. The trust and investment of all shareholders will accelerate IONITY’s growth, the expansion of our high-power charging network across Europe, and more broadly, the decarbonisation of the mobility sector,” commented IONITY CEO Dr. Michael Hajesch.

Of the 7,000 New Charging Stations to be built, IONITY reports that the Locations will have a higher average of Six to Twelve Terminals available at any given time, and existing Locations will see more Charging Ports added.

The Company plans to Build not only on Motorways, but also near Major Cities and, supporting the Shipping Industry, along Busy Lorry roads as well.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Russian Diplomats To Be Expelled From U.S.

Twenty-Seven Russian Diplomats and their Families, will be Expelled from the U.S. on January 30, 2022. A similar Number of Russian Diplomatic Staff will leave on June 30th, 2022.

So says, Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov told a Russian Media Outlet on Saturday. During the Interview for the Soloviev Live Youtube Channel that "our diplomats are being expelled. A large group of my comrades, 27 people with families, will leave us on January 30," Antonov added, noting that Officials are "facing a serious staff shortage."

In August, Antonov said that 24 Russian Diplomats had been asked by the U.S. to Leave the U.S. by early September, as their Visas Expired.

"It has gotten to the point where the U.S. authorities cancel valid visas of spouses and children of our staff with no reasons provided. The widespread delays in renewing expired visas are also aimed at squeezing Russian diplomatic workers out of the country," Antonov told The National Interest Magazine at the time.

"As a result, about 60 of my colleagues (130 together with family members) cannot return to their motherland even under urgent humanitarian circumstances," he added.

However, State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price, said in a Statement to Reuters, at the time, that it was "nothing new" to require Russians to Renew their Visas after Three years and claimed the Move was Not Retaliatory.

A Spokesperson for Russia's Foreign Ministry said, that close to 200 Russian Diplomats were still Employed in the U.S. as of Oct. 29th, according to Reuters.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Germany To Phase-Out Sale Of Combustion-Engine Vehicles

Germany plans to Phase-Out the Sale of Combustion-Engine Vehicles, to help meet its ambitious Goal of getting 15 million Electric Vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030.

The Country currently has just 570,000 battery-powered Cars in operation, and will have to ramp up usage by 33% a year.

The timing of the lofty goal puts Germany ahead of a larger European Union effort to Phase-Out Combustion-Engine Cars by 2035.

Germany's pledge to Increase the use of EVs and bolster Climate Protection efforts could ultimately result in a Ban on Combustion-Engine Cars in the Country in the near Future.

According to a Pact published by Germany's Next Government of Social Democrats, Greens, and Free Democrats, the Country has committed to halting the Sale of Combustion-Engine Vehicles, by setting an ambitious Goal to get at least 15 Million Battery-Powered Cars on the road by the end of the Decade.

To meet this number, the Country will be required to rapidly Increase production of EVs, while likely Phasing-Out Cars powered by Petrol and Diesel in the next few years.

"It can only be achieved if new cars with internal combustion engines are no longer registered before 2030," Volker Quaschning, Professor of Renewable Energy Systems at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, said. "It makes sense to stop the registration of gasoline and diesel cars by around 2028."

Germany currentl registered Battery-Powered Cars, comprising just 1% of the Country's Fleet. The Country will need to Increase Production and Sales of EVs by 33% a year through 2030 to reach its Goal, an effort Germany has made progress on over the past year, thanks to Incentives and Funding that helped Double Registrations.

However, the Country has already struggled to meet Early Goals surrounding EVs usage, including Missing, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel's Pledge to get 1 million Battery-Powered Cars on the Roads by 2020. Germany also has hurdles ahead in raising Awareness and Accessibility to Consumers, who some Experts say may be Resistant to such efforts.

"There isn't much substance in the coalition agreement when it comes to reaching such high levels of EV sales in practice," Giulio Mattioli, a Researcher in the Department of Transport Planning at the TU Dortmund University, "Consumers will take some convincing." said.

Still, if Germany's aspirations are achieved, its Timeline would put it ahead of Larger European Union Goals to Phase-Out Combustion-Engine Vehicles by 2035.

"According to the proposals of the European Commission, only CO2-neutral vehicles will be permitted in the transport sector in Europe in 2035 — this will have an earlier effect in Germany," Germany's Coalition Document states. "Outside of the existing system of fleet emission standards, we advocate that only vehicles that can be refueled with e-fuels can be registered."

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Ak Voting Process Changes In State High Court

Thanks to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News for this post.

The Alaska Supreme Court will hear Kohlhaas v State on Jaunuarey 18, 2022. This is the Case over whether to Top-Four Initiative Passed last year, Violates the State Constitution.

On November 15th, Opponents of the System filed their Brief. Also, Two former Alaska Gubernatorial Candidates filed a Amicus Brief against the System.

The Initiative provides that the Only People who can run in November are the Four Candidates who polled the most Votes in the Primary. There are No Party Nominees. Then Ranked-Choice-Voting (RCV) is used the the General Election.

The Three Main Arguments arguments Against Top-Four are:

1) The Alaska Constitution has more Protection for Political Party Freedom-of-Association than the U.S. Constitution, and the Top-Four System, by allowing Party Labels on the Ballot even when the Party does Not Support a Candidate using its Label, Violates the Party's use of its name.

2) The State Constitution says that Governors must be Elected in Plurality Elections, and RCV only Elects People who win a Majority.

3) The State Constitution says the Lieutenant-Governor must be Nominated the same way as All other Partisan Candidates. But Top-Four forces Lieutenant-Governor Candidates in a Primary, to Run-in-Tandem with a Partcular Gubernatorial Candidate.

One of the Individuals who filed an Amicus Brief, is Dick Randolph, who was the First Person ever Elected to a State Legislature, of any State, as a Libertarian.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker