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News stories tagged with "democracy"

Photo: Thomas Seeley
Photo: Thomas Seeley

Bee expert sees lessons in hive democracy

As the Republican primary marches forward, researcher Thomas Seeley is reminded of his work with honeybees. That might sound odd, but Seeley has spent decades studying the relationships in a hive, and says bees have an even longer history than human beings of making decisions democratically. Dr. Seeley is giving a public talk tonight at St. Lawrence University.

He spoke yesterday with Julie Grant about new research that points to certain pesticides as the major reason for the death of bees around the world. Seeley also explained how honeybees decide where to build a new hive, and how that's similar to our own democratic process.  Go to full article
Tara Liloia in front of Isle La Motte town offices. Photos: Sarah Harris
Tara Liloia in front of Isle La Motte town offices. Photos: Sarah Harris

Town meeting day: VT voters decide issues big and small

Vermont's Champlain Islands are smack in the middle of Lake Champlain's northern end. Isle La Motte is the westernmost of those islands. It's isolated and rural. Living there, you might travel to New York State to see a doctor, or go to the grocery store.

But, Isle La Motte joins other towns across Vermont in town meeting day, when citizens come together to have their say on issues big and small. Sarah Harris spent town meeting day on the island and has our story.  Go to full article
City Hall in Burlington. Photo: TripAdvisor.com
City Hall in Burlington. Photo: TripAdvisor.com

In Burlington, electing a new mayor

Town meeting day in Vermont is one of the few examples of direct democracy in our country. It's a state holiday, and townspeople turn out to elect municipal leaders and approve local budgets.

This year local issues at town meeting reflect national debates. In Franklin, Vermont, voters will determine whether prayer should be allowed at town meeting. And 52 towns will vote on whether to pass a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United.

In Burlington, the state's largest city, Vermonters are headed to the polls to elect a new mayor. Sarah Harris has more.  Go to full article

Inmate count debate opens old wounds

A political battle is simmering in St. Lawrence County over whether prisoners should be counted in legislative districts. St. Lawrence is one of 15 counties statewide that currently includes inmates. That policy was challenged by a bitter petition drive that was finally settled by the State Supreme Court in 2001. As David Sommerstein reports, a shift in the balance of power on the legislature is renewing the debate.  Go to full article
"You can't complain about what's going on in this country if you haven't<br />done anything to try to change it." -Patricia Tuma<br />Waitress, North Creek, NY (Photos courtesy of Face of Democracy)
"You can't complain about what's going on in this country if you haven't
done anything to try to change it." -Patricia Tuma
Waitress, North Creek, NY (Photos courtesy of Face of Democracy)

Putting ballots in the hands of young people

America's political culture has a deep impact on the lives of young people, from the war in Iraq to education policy to health care. But it's tough convincing young Americans that voting and civic involvement really matter. Sue Halpern is a journalist and writer in the North Country who took on that challenge. Her "The Face of Democracy" project is designed to connect students with the ritual of voting. An exhibit from the project is on display this week at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek. A group of her students will gather for a reception tomorrow evening. Halpern spoke about "Face of Democracy" with Brian Mann.  Go to full article
Johnsburg 10th grader practicing her camera skills
Johnsburg 10th grader practicing her camera skills

Tenth graders document the face of democracy

Voting is the most basic activity of democracy, yet in this country half of us don't bother. In young people, between 18 and 25, it's 75 percent. That's not for lack of trying to get out the youth vote. Last election, millions of dollars were spent to get kids to register and vote, but when all was said and done, the percentage stayed the same. Maybe we're waiting too long.

A new project that combines journalism and civics engages kid early - before they're eligible to vote -- and places them in the path of people who take their citizenship seriously. It's called The Face of Democracy, and tenth graders from Johnsburg are one of three pioneering classes in the nation to take it on. Oakland, California, and St. Paul, Minnesota are the other sites. Journalist Sue Halpern is one of the national organizers of The Face of Democracy. She's also training and mentoring the Johnsburg class, along with photographer Woody Widlund. Martha Foley talked with her yesterday, as she was packing up for the big day today.  Go to full article

Taking voters' temperature in Massena

After Wednesday night's debate between John McHugh and Bob Johnson in Massena, David Sommerstein asked some potential voters what was on their mind as election day approached.  Go to full article
ES&S's Judd Ryan shows off the iVotronic LS.
ES&S's Judd Ryan shows off the iVotronic LS.

Kicking the Tires on New Voting Machines

St. Lawrence County officials and pollworkers got to audition a new voting machine Monday. The company ES&S showed off a model designed especially for New York. ES&S has placed thousands of machines in 20 states. All of New York's counties have to replace the old-fashioned mechanical lever units by next Election Day. Each county will choose the model it likes best. As David Sommerstein reports, the options will be limited, and getting new machines in place by next November will be a frantic undertaking.  Go to full article

Voting Machine Vendors Spend Big Bucks in NY

2005 will be the year the controversial debate over electronic voting machines comes to New York. Under the federal Help America Vote Act, New York has to replace its old lever-action voting machines in time for the 2006 elections. New York is expected to receive $100 million to help buy the new machines. Companies that make them are spending lots of money to get noticed in Albany. According to a report released yesterday by Common Cause New York, voting machine vendors spent more than $850,000 lobbying on bills pending in the state legislature. David Sommerstein spoke with Rachel Leon, Common Cause New York's executive director. She says among the top spenders are nationally-known companies.  Go to full article

Democracy Matters

As students return to college campuses, a nationwide group called Democracy Matters is trying to get students charged up about campaign finance reform. David Sommerstein talks with the group's director about how to hook students on reforming money in politics.  Go to full article

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