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Posts Tagged ‘voting’

#MediaFail: Convicted Murderer Gets City Council Seat Due to Media Oversight

Wantwaz DavisThere’s something to be said about the role of the media in this world. Sure, the evening news is nothing but a replay about who has been killed, raped, beat up and the frequent drive-by. It gets tiring watching that crap over and over and over again, I know. But they have a job to do. And trust me, when the media does not do that job, everyone knows.

Meet Wantwaz Davis of Flint, Mich.

Kudos are in order for the man because he recently beat incumbent Bernard Lawler by 71 votes to win the Fifth Ward seat for the City Council. Only one small problem: typically, the media is all over potential elected officials’ backgrounds. You know, their infidelity, bebes kids, back taxes and, oh yeah, pleading guilty to murder!

Yes, that’s right citizens of Flint, your newly elected city councilman served 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1991. Much to the chagrin to the usual more than 50 percent that were too lazy to get off their butt and vote, it seems Davis didn’t “hide his murder conviction from voters and openly talked about the conviction with residents,” but it never was publicly reported.

But wait, there’s more after the jump…

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Voters: Don’t Instagram Your Ballot (It’s Probably Illegal)!

If you have an internet connection and a social media account, you’ve already read about quite a few of your friends voting today. “I voted” is not real news (just like 90% of the tweets and status updates we see every day), but we still think it’s a good thing: Voting is the ultimate sign of participation in our fragile democracy; we need to encourage more people to vote because turnout rates are depressingly low; et cetera, et cetera.

Most social media outlets directly encouraged users to somehow document the act: All sorts of related videos will soon flood YouTube, and an election day window hangs atop all personal Facebook pages instructing users to click in order to find their polling places or identify themselves as voters.

But we do hope our readers reviewed their state laws before documenting this proud experience today because…well, you read the headline.

Most voters probably don’t realize that several states expressly prohibit all recording inside polling places–and a clear majority prohibit the act of producing “photos or film of [your] own marked ballot”. A quick Instagram search for the hashtags #vote or #ballot reveals that quite a few voters have, in all likelihood, already broken the law this morning.

Will states crack down on these obscure prohibitions? Probably not. Will the laws prevent voting photos and videos from overwhelming social media today? Definitely not. But all voters should be cautious: While Ohio allows smartphones in polling places and some voting booths, one early North Carolina participant already had his device confiscated–and in Wisconsin the act of tweeting a completed ballot is a felony!

Well then. The more you know!

(Oh, and go vote if you haven’t already. You have no good excuse!)

Americans, Annoyed By Voting, Voice Outrage on Twitter

What, you thought we wouldn’t post any more election stories today? To all our readers who already voted: how annoying/rewarding was the whole process? Was it worth the “voter’s high”? Is that even a thing?

Reminder: We live in a democracy, and just as we have a right to vote we also have a right–nay, an obligation–to bitch about it! Or to celebrate it! We can’t seem to decide! Here, then, is a collection of fun/inspiring/informative/borderline offensive tweets from Americans who just can’t help but express their complex relationship with the act of voting.

How about some light humor?
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Should Journalists Abstain From Voting?

In case you haven’t noticed, professional journalists have a PR problem. The public’s opinion of their craft and “the media” they inhabit hit an all-time low last year. This finding reflects an increasingly polarized electorate filled with fed-up citizens who often retreat to openly partisan news sources because they believe all other media outlets to be tainted by bias in some form.

The fact that a healthy, functioning democracy needs journalists to survive should go without saying–and despite working in public relations, we’re a little disturbed to learn that PR professionals currently outnumber them 4 to 1 in this country. So how can journalists improve the public’s perception of the work they do?

For some, the answer is clear: don’t vote.

This is not a new debate. In fact, the issue arises during nearly every election cycle. Austin Business Journal editor Colin Pope believes that the act of choosing a candidate or privately voting on any given issue affects his ability to inform the public as a reliably objective voice; in his opinion, he essentially forfeited his right to vote when he decided to report on the news for a living.

We think it’s safe to say that most journalists do not agree.

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