October 26, 2012
Nearly 70,000 Alliance Members Join VP Biden on Teleconference Call
Nearly 70,000 members of the Alliance for Retired Americans joined a call this week with Vice President Joe Biden to learn more about the Obama Administration’s commitment to keeping Medicare and Social Security strong for future generations. Members in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin took part in the call. Almost 1,000 of those swing state callers said they would like to volunteer between now and the election for the Obama campaign!
“President Obama and I have a fundamentally different view from Mitt Romney on how to move this country forward – and a fundamentally different value system. There is no place where that is more profound than retirement security,” said Vice President Biden on the call. “I don’t view retirement security based only on how it affects retirees, I view it based on how it affects the entire family.”
“Seniors can trust Barack Obama and Joe Biden with our Social Security and Medicare, but Mitt Romney wants to sell Medicare off to the big insurance companies and give away our Social Security to Wall Street,” said Barbara J. Easterling, the President of the Alliance for Retired Americans.
Voter Intimidation Billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin Taken Down
About 150 billboards warning of the criminal consequences of voter fraud in battleground states like Ohio and Wisconsin are being replaced after the signage’s sponsor would not reveal its identity, according to a Reuters report on Monday. The Clear Channel billboards – reading “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY” and listing criminal penalties – were placed in African-American and Latino neighborhoods in Cleveland and other parts of Ohio, as well as Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Alliance joined numerous organizations last week in signing a letter from the Election Protection coalition concerning the billboards, which threatened to keep specific groups from voting. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., the billboard owner, eventually said it was a violation of their anonymous political ad policy in taking them down.
The billboards were widely criticized as a voter intimidation effort. Jim Cullinan, Clear Channel Outdoor Holding’s vice president, told Reuters that crews will dismantle 30 billboards in Cleveland, 30 in Columbus, and 85 in Milwaukee. Norton Outdoor Advertising, which also had put up the billboards in the Cincinnati area, said that it, too, has reached an agreement to remove them as soon as possible. The nonpartisan Election Protection coalition, formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process, had written a letter that may have been key to the removal, and the Alliance signed on. To see a copy of the letter, go tohttp://bit.ly/P8kWSj.
“I would like to remind Alliance members that if they become aware of any voting intimidation, irregularities or have any problems themselves, they should they should call 1-866-OUR VOTE,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “That is the number for the toll-free nationwide Election Protection Hotline, which is a project of a coalition of groups, including the AFL-CIO and the Alliance, promoting voting rights.” If you have a voting rights problem, you can also ask to speak with the chief election official or a voting rights volunteer at the polls. For more information on voter protection, please visit http://bit.ly/R0DftK.
Voter ID Laws Still Casting a Shadow
Many of the strictest new voting laws — particularly those passed in potential battleground states — have been either struck down, or rulings have been postponed by state and federal courts. Voting rights activists are now focused on clearing up confusion about the rules before Election Day.
After a year in which Republican governors and Republican-led state legislatures passed an unprecedented flurry of voter legislation, opponents of the laws have had a string of successes in court this fall. Courts have delayed rulings on strict photo ID laws in Wisconsin, Texas and South Carolina until after the election, or the laws have been blocked until further notice. After Ohio officials passed a law slashing the number of early voting days in Ohio, a judge restored the three voting days the weekend before they began.
In Pennsylvania, although a judge ruled that voters without a photo ID could still cast a regular ballot, state-sponsored ads have continued to tell residents they must show an ID. Ads have aired on television and radio, been placed on posters at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and were mailed to thousands of seniors via a state prescription drug program. A billboard targeting Spanish speakers also continues to misleadingly promote the ID requirement in Pennsylvania. The voter protection site http://bit.ly/R0DftK can also tell you how and if new voter identification laws apply to you and your state.
Detailing a Second Term Agenda
President Obama consolidated his plans for a second term into a 20-page publication: “The New Economic Patriotism: A PLAN FOR JOBS & MIDDLE-CLASS SECURITY.” To see the “Retirement” and “Moving America Forward” link, go to http://bit.ly/XNQxd0. For all of the sections, go to http://bit.ly/PUM5te.
“In his first term, the President’s heath care reform made the Medicare Trust Fund solvent for eight more years, through 2024,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “However, Medicare and Social Security need to be further strengthened.” President Obama’s plan for the next four years – should he get that chance –includes stopping proposals to turn Medicare into a voucher system. He also promises to stop efforts to privatize Social Security and gamble its funds on the stock market. The President has said that he will fight to extend the life of Medicare and Social Security without ending guaranteed benefits or slashing benefits.
Coyle Joins Teachers in Albany
Mr. Coyle spoke at the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Retiree Meeting in Albany on Wednesday.