The DC: Trying to track police use-of-force data, and... 📮 Should ballots received after Election Day still count?
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by Countable | 6.15.20
Welcome to Monday, June 15th, heads, shoulders, knees, and toes...
How should we track police use of force?
The killing of George Floyd has created an opportunity for bipartisan policing reforms, including reexamining efforts to prevent police brutality.
However, the debate is constrained by a lack of up to date, standardized data from all parts of the country and all levels of government as our friends at USAFacts note:
“One of the most striking things about data on excessive police force is what is lacking. Federal data on excessive force and police shootings is often too dated and inadequate to inform current discussions. Old, incomplete information is an ongoing trend across government data that needs addressing. Some, but not all, local governments provide policing statistics; however, what’s reported is incomplete and nonuniform, making national comparisons all but impossible.”
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) provides two excessive force data sets but the most recent report, known as the Arrest-Related Deaths Program (ARD), was last updated in 2016.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) gathers data on the underlying cause of death documented on death certificates, which logged 614 people killed in encounters with police in 2018. CDC also maintains the National Violent Death Reporting System which logs violent deaths reported in 34 participating states and the District of Columbia, which logged 515 deaths due to police officers in 2016.
Read about the patchwork of use-of-force data, then tell your reps:
For a politics-free guide to how to protect you and your loved ones from corona, click on over to our Coronavirus Info Center.
On the Radar
Seattle's "Autonomous Zone"
Anti-police brutality protesters in Seattle, Washington, have established a self-declared autonomous zone encompassing roughly six square city blocks in the Capitol Hill district. Protesters declared the autonomous zone on June 8th.
Protesters erected barricades to block off traffic entering into what they have named the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ or Free Capitol Hill), with armed members of a self-described “anti-fascist, anti-racist, pro-worker community defense organization” providing security and reportedly requiring people entering the autonomous zone to show identification.
The protesters gained control after the Seattle Police Department withdrew from the area and abandoned its East Precinct. Protesters have demanded the abolition of the Seattle Police Department and the court system, plus the mayor’s resignation. It’s unclear whether they will be successful.
A similar saga played out in the Pacific Northwest for 41 days back in 2016 at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural southeastern Oregon, when limited government militia members occupied the refuge in protest of federal land management policies.
Under the Radar
Counting Post-Election Day Ballots
California is planning to send vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots to all active registered voters in the state for this November’s general election, but a provision in the state legislature’s plan has raised concerns that it could lead to even longer delays in the state announcing final election results.
A new assembly bill would allow vote-by-mail ballots to be counted if they’re received 17 days after Election Day as long as they’re postmarked on or before Election Day. Current law requires vote-by-mail ballots to be received within 3 days of Election Day.
Historically, California is one of the slowest states to count votes and finalize election results. For example, results in some of the November 6, 2018, midterm elections weren’t finalized until mid-December, and the March 3, 2020, primaries weren’t certified until May 1, 2020.
November 2020 could be even worse when considering increased turnout for a general election and a higher proportion of votes cast by VBM ballot. If California broadens the window for vote-by-mail ballots received from 3 days to 17 days after Election Day, and the bulk of California voters return their ballots on Election Day as they did on Super Tuesday, it could be late December or later before results are finalized.
Also Worth a Click
- Senate to Consider Bipartisan Bill Addressing Nat’l Park Maintenance Backlog, Circuit Court Nomination
- Should Chinese Communist Party Officials Who Concealed Information About the Coronavirus Pandemic Be Sanctioned?
And, in the End…
It's National Electricity Day.
It's the (supposed) anniversary of the date in 1752 when Benjamin Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm in the hopes of proving that lightning was caused from electricity.
Go fly a kite,
Talk to us via email at contact [at] countable.us. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.
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