Many Americans will spend extra time at the polls today, not just choosing candidates but also making law. They will vote on a variety of state ballot initiatives, which Josh Goodman of the Pew Center on the States is tracking.
I've printed out here a list of ballot initiatives in various states. And it's more than a page long. It's a ridiculous number. The Oregon Gillnet Fishing Initiative, the Utah Military Property Tax Exemption Amendment, Constitutional Amendment B 2012. We could go on for quite some time. This is quite a list.
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So many people are so cynical about politicians who give us so many reasons to be cynical, that it's easy to overlook the many Americans who believe. They believe in a candidate, believe in an issue, believe in democracy or at least believe they need to fend off the other guy.
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Eleven years ago, September 11, 2001, was a voting day in New York City, a primary election for mayor. After that day's attacks the vote was postponed. But in the end, New Yorkers held the November general election on time, voting in Michael Bloomberg, who remains in office today.
Now, let's talk next about Colorado, where Republicans edged ahead in early voting, the same early voting that was key to Democratic success back in 2008. Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC has our story.
KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Early voting at polling stations like this one in downtown Denver ended this past Friday, but yesterday there was a steady stream of voters dropping off their mail-in ballots.
PAMELA MALONE: Well, I was just turning in my vote before the final last hours...
Millions of Americans stand in line today to vote. Last night, thousands of Americans lined up to buy one of the most anticipated new video games of the year. "Halo 4" is the latest installment of the popular franchise for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Some younger gamers refer to "Halo" as their "Star Wars," a cultural touchstone. Now, after a five-year hiatus, the game's hero - the Master Chief - returns.
NPR's business news starts with Suzuki pulling out of the U.S.
Japan's Suzuki Motor Corporation has been selling cars in America for almost three decades. But unlike Toyota or Honda, it never managed to win over masses of American consumers. The company has the smallest American market share among the big Asian automakers. And when its current inventory runs out the company will no longer sell cars here at all. It will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection instead.
In Florida, Supreme Court justices are nominated by a commission and appointed by the governor. Every six years, they're up for retention. Voters decide whether to keep them on the bench or let them go.
Since the system was put in place in the 1970s, retention votes have been pro forma affairs, with justices doing little fundraising or campaigning.
Superstorm Sandy got officials in New York and New Jersey talking about how to prevent flooding in a time of global warming and sea level rise.
But the place on the East Coast that's most vulnerable to flooding is several hundred miles south, around Norfolk, Va. — and Norfolk has already spent many years studying how to survive the rising waters.
Scientists say what Norfolk has learned is especially important in light of new research showing that the coastline from North Carolina to Boston will experience even more sea level rise than other areas.
A plea to the Long Island Power Authority for electricity to be restored is posted on a barrier last Wednesday in Mastic Beach, N.Y. The south shore Long Island community was among the hardest hit by the storm that pounded the Northeast.
Credit Steve Henn / NPR
Mastic Beach Mayor Bill Biondi looks over a map of the flooding in his community from Hurricane Sandy. More than 1,000 homes here were inundated with seawater.
A week after Hurricane Sandy hit the region, roughly 1 million people are still without power in the New York area, and more than one-third of those live on Long Island.
In the hierarchy of hurricanes that have hit Mastic Beach, N.Y., over the years, this one ranks near the top, says Mayor Bill Biondi.
"This is the worse we've had in a long time," Biondi says. "I guess the only thing that was worse than this ... was the hurricane of 1938. I haven't seen or heard anything in between those years that was worse than this one."
Now many who will cast presidential ballots in New York have been facing a complicated post-storm challenge - where they should vote. Superstorm Sandy has displaced many residents from their homes and some polling places are out of commission because of storm damage. Late today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order, telling voters they can cast ballots wherever they want.
I asked NPR's Quil Lawrence in New York about just what Governor Cuomo said today.
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:12 pm
Ben Sollee is not only an unconventional cellist, but also an unconventional human being. Recently, he took his cello, walked up the long steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the mall in D.C. (along with the Mason Jar Music film crew) and began to perform. It's not legal to do that, but like I said, Ben Sollee — the guy who bikes his cello across the country — is not a follower. The following video captures the moments in the shadow of Lincoln amid a throng of tourists.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 5:12 pm
With all the really big numbers flying around this campaign season, here's one more: $165,062,250.
That's how much Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS has spent attacking Democrats and helping Republicans this election. Perhaps this number doesn't seem so special, compared with the $1 billion spent by President Obama's campaign and at least $900 million by Gov. Romney's team.
Early voting ended in Florida on Saturday. But on Sunday, some county elections officials opened their offices to allow people to vote using absentee ballots.
In Miami-Dade County, elections officials opened the office for over-the-counter absentee voting, but then inexplicably shut down. A couple of hundred waiting voters began chanting and pounding on the doors. An hour later, the office reopened.
Syrians gather at the site of a car bombing Monday that killed 11 people and wounded dozens in Damascus, according to the SANA news agency, which provided the photo. The violence in the city was described as some of the worst in recent months.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 4:40 pm
The fighting in Syria was both nasty and widespread on Monday. Here's a summary of some of the worst fighting:
-- Two deadly car bombings took place, one in a residential neighborhood in Damascus that killed 11 people, according to Syria's state-run SANA news agency. The other one, near the central city of Hama, generated wildly conflicting claims. An activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the suicide attack killed 50 government soldiers and allied gunmen. But the government put the death toll at two civilians.
Over the past few weeks, we've been checking in regularly with pollster Andrew Kohut, president of Pew Research Center. On the eve of Election Day, he talks to Robert Siegel about the difficulties of polling during this campaign and the center's final poll, in which President Obama regained the lead.
The three seasons of Treme have all found their way to Mardi Gras; appropriately, the day is always depicted with all the spectacle, vice and musical mayhem you might expect. Josh Jackson of WBGO returns to break down the many musical scenes in this year's go-round.
Patrick Jarenwattananon: So many flashes of live music this episode. Let's start at the beginning. Did you recognize the band where Lieut. Colson and his fellow officer are talking, and there are (clothed) women on poles in the French Quarter?
U.S. regulators have found that Hyundai and Kia motor corporations have overstated the fuel economy for many of their vehicles. Melissa Block speaks with Jerry Hirsch of the Los Angeles Times about the issue and what it means for the auto makers that had been on the rise in the U.S market.
If you bought a Hyundai or Kia over the past three years, you could soon be getting some money back from the two automakers.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the South Korean carmakers, owned by the same parent company, overstated the gas mileage on 900,000 vehicles over the past three years. The EPA discovered the bloated figures during an audit of gas mileage tests undertaken by the companies. The agency said last week it was investigating how the carmakers arrived at the numbers.
Schools in New York City opened for the first time since superstorm Sandy hit the city last Monday. Some buildings had to be cleaned up before students arrived and a few had no heat. Still more than 90 schools remained closed due to storm damage or because they are still being used as evacuation shelters.
The two presidential candidates made their final campaign stops ahead of Tuesday's election. Melissa Block talks with Ari Shapiro, who traveled with Mitt Romney, and Scott Horsley, who traveled with President Obama, about their final pitch to voters.
Almost all Americans will use either electronic voting equipment or have their ballots counted by an optical scan machine in Tuesday's election. While there are still concerns about reliability and security of voting equipment, many experts say things have improved greatly since 2000.