Going Mobile Could Get More Americans to Vote

The Return of Convict Leasing ; Hammering on a Summer Day Sparked CA's Largest Wildfire ; and More Picks

US voter turnout, mobile phones, technology
The author writes, “Mobile voting, the mission of a Boston-based startup called Voatz, could be the answer to a problem in US politics: Many Americans don't vote. Driving the news: Even in the hotly contested 2016 presidential race, only 58% of eligible voters showed up. Some of that may be apathy, but some is certainly the inconvenience of asking working adults to visit polling places on weekdays. … Where it stands: On Thursday, Voatz raised $7 million in Series A funding co-led by Medici Ventures and Techstars. It ran pilot tests last year in West Virginia, whereby overseas military could vote in real elections via smartphone rather than via paper mail. It also opened itself up to a 'citizen's audit' for the Denver elections — an important step given widespread security concerns about such a system.” Photo credit: Pxhere
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How Anti-Immigration Policies Are Leading Prisons to Lease Convicts as Field Laborers (Chris)

The author writes, “Prison inmates are picking fruits and vegetables at a rate not seen since Jim Crow. Convict leasing for agriculture — a system that allows states to sell prison labor to private farms — became infamous in the late 1800s for the brutal conditions it imposed on captive, mostly black workers. Federal and state laws prohibited convict leasing for most of the 20th century, but the once-notorious practice is making a comeback.”

Alabama, North Carolina, and Other States Move Billions in Weapons to Saudi, UAE (Chris)

From Bellingcat: “Can goods manufactured in specific U.S. states actually be tied to civilian deaths or even potential war crimes in Yemen? The answer is yes.”

Vietnamese Men Denied Visas for Life-Saving Transplant for Brother (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Two Vietnamese brothers who petitioned to travel to the United States to donate bone marrow to their dying brother in San Jose were denied temporary visas by the U.S. government, according to the family.”

Criminal Charges Against PG&E Could Send Message (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Pacific Gas and Electric Co., already a convicted felon for safety violations in the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, could face another criminal prosecution for its role in the deaths and destruction caused by Northern California wildfires.”

Hammering on a Summer Day Sparked California’s Largest Wildfire, Report Says (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “It was a hot, dry July day in a small Mendocino County town when a man with a clawhammer decided he would try to install a shade cloth over two water tanks near his house. He picked up the hammer and a 2-foot-long stake. What happened next changed California forever.”

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