Some Interesting Knowledge From My Campaign Travels

Here are some interesting things that I have learned over years of campaigning and by working with people from around the country on shared political concerns.

North Dakota abolished voter registration in 1951. Establishing relatively small precincts is intended to ensure that election boards know the voters who come to the polls to vote on Election Day and can easily detect those who should not be voting in the precincts. Every resident is automatically a voter.

I am a son of immigration. My mother was born in Modena, Italy and her family moved her here as a child. The United States had unrestricted immigration for the first century of it's existence. The founding documents gave the federal government no authority to limit immigration. Until the late 19th century, there was very little federal regulation of immigration—there were virtually no laws to break. The concept of "legal immigration" has never been something that has been agreed upon by a consensus of people. We only seem to agree across the board that "legal immigration" is good.

Many people assume that their family immigrated to the United States legally, or did it “the right way.” In most cases, this statement does not reflect the fact that the U.S. immigration system was very different in the past and that their families might not have been allowed to enter had today’s laws been in effect. When many families arrived in the United States, there were no numerical limitations on immigration, no requirements to have an existing family or employment relationship with someone in the country, and no requirement to obtain a visa prior to arriving.

The definition of who is “legal”—and who is not—changes with the evolution of immigration laws. In some cases, claiming that a family came “legally” is simply inaccurate—unauthorized immigration has been a reality for generations. Every additional restriction to date has generated more unauthorized immigration. Today’s laws would have effectively restricted many of our families from coming legally to the United States.

It was not until 1937: that The United States passed the Marijuana Tax Act, effectively prohibiting all use of cannabis on a federal level. It was not until 1915 that nearly all states had passed laws that banned brothels or regulated the profits of prostitution. Many law-enforcement agencies became more concerned with regulating the crimes associated with the practice, especially acts of abuse, theft and robbery committed against workers or clients. Authorities also intervened to prevent girls from being coerced into prostitution. (Human Trafficking).

Julia C. Addington, born in 1829, was the first woman elected to public office in Iowa and may have been the first woman in the United States as well as in the modern world to be elected to office when, in 1869, she was elected Superintendent of Schools in Mitchell County. She was 40 years old when she was elected on the “Bolters” ticket, a renegade faction of the Republican Party. Because of her gender, the legality of Addington assuming the position came into question. The Iowa Attorney General ruled that there was no reason she could not hold the position.

In 1870, Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for President of the United States. She stood for the freedom for people to marry, divorce, and bear children without government interference. Woodhull’s campaign was also revolutionary in its nomination for vice president, electing former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass to its ticket.

Theodora (Tonie) Nathan in 1972 became the first woman and the first Jewish person in American history to receive an electoral vote. Also receiving an electoral vote on the ticket was John Hospers from Pella, Iowa.

George Edwin Taylor ran for president in 1904 as the candidate of the National Liberty Party. He was the first black person to run for president of the USA. A journalist by trade, Taylor — who lived in Iowa — gained distinction, according to the Tacoma, Wash., Times on Aug. 17, 1904, as a leader in the Republican national convention of 1892, "to which he was an alternate delegate-at-large from his state. The next campaign he was delegate-at-large to the Democratic convention." Taylor had spent many years in Iowa, which was the first state [outside of New England] after the Civil War to give black men the right to vote and where they had never lost that right.

Russell Means, political activist and actor who appeared in numerous films including The Last of the Mohicans, ran for the nomination of president as a Libertarian in 1987, finishing second with 31% of the vote. He lost the nomination to Congressman Ron Paul.

Means was a leader in the American Indian Movement and he defended the rights of indigenous peoples in Central and South America.

Means published his autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread in 1995. He said that he felt his most important accomplishment was the founding of the Republic of Lakotah to be a sovereign nation inside the borders of the United States. Lakota freedom activists declared that the treaties signed with the United States, some of them more than 150 years old, are worthless and have been “repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life.”

The League of Women Voters has withdrew its sponsorship of the presidential debates since 1988 "because the demands of the two larger campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter". Perhaps the most significant of the obstacles facing independent and additional party candidates is the winner-take-all system. In most states, the presidential candidate with the highest percentage of votes has taken all the state’s electoral votes. candidates also are at a disadvantage because of federal campaign finance laws, rules that dictate who can enter presidential debates, unscientific polling, and a lack of balanced media attention. In addition, a significant amount of paperwork is required in a short amount of time to become a viable candidate. The U.S. Constitution was written long before parties came into being. The framers distrusted parties.

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