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February 6, 2016

Posts by Janie Lorber

3 Posts

November 6, 2012

Voters Face Language Barriers in Virginia, New Mexico

After months of courting, some Spanish-speaking voters encountered problems casting a ballot today.

Voters exiting the Bailey’s Community Center in Falls Church, Va., one of Northern Virginia’s more ethnically diverse areas, said the morning was particularly challenging for elderly and Hispanic voters.

Speaking in broken English, Manuel Matamoros, a middle-aged Hispanic man, said a poll worker declined to help him with comprehension questions about the ballot — assistance he had no trouble getting in 2008.

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October 26, 2012

Barack Obama Continues to Win With Text Message Donors

President Barack Obama appears to have raised more than $1 million via text since August. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama appears to have raised upward of $1 million from text message donations this cycle.

Financial reports for the first 17 days of October show that his campaign paid $39,514 in fees to m-Qube Group’s payvia mobile payment service, which manages text-to-donate programs for both presidential campaigns. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney paid the firm nothing in the same time frame.

The fees — a percentage of the total amount raised via text — suggest that the president raised more than $1 million via text since he launched a text-to-donate program in August.

Campaigns & Elections magazine estimated in August that donation aggregators such as payvia would charge 5 percent to 15 percent of the total raised.  It costs “less than $1,000” to launch a text-to-donate program with m-Qube, the company said. Assuming the campaigns paid about $1,000 in startup costs and the fee is 10 percent, the Obama campaign raised about $1.2 million from text donors as of Oct. 17. By the same math, Romney raised about $1,520 from text-message donations.

A Pew Internet & American Life Project study released Thursday found that 10 percent of 2012 presidential campaign donors have contributed using text messages or a cellphone application. The study also found that Democrats were more likely to contribute online or from a mobile phone.

Both candidates launched text-to-donate programs in late August, heralding the newly approved technology as a way to empower small-dollar donors in the post-Citizens United era. Under Federal Election Commission rules approved this summer, text contributions from individuals are limited to $50 per month and $200 total per candidate, but operatives in both parties say the biggest benefit is looping in new partisans and collecting their cellphone numbers.

Even fellow Republicans fear that Romney has missed a crucial opportunity to engage thousands of new donors.

“I wouldn’t disregard a million dollars on any campaign no matter how large or small,” said Peter Pasi, a Republican consultant at the digital strategy firm emotive. “Think about if you’re an insurgent candidate and you have 1,000 people at your rally and you tell them to pull out your phone and give.”

October 15, 2012

Michigan: Facing Stiff Challenge, Strong 3rd Quarter for Benishek Coffers

Rep. Dan Benishek reported raising $510,000 in the third quarter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If freshman Republican Rep. Dan Benishek is losing his grasp on Michigan’s 1st district, his campaign coffers don’t show it.

His campaign announced its best fundraising quarter ever today, raising a total of $510,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30 to close the period with more than $570,000 in cash on hand.

His opponent, former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D), reported raising just $400,000. But heading into the final weeks of the campaign, he is sitting on $600,000.

Recent polls suggest McDowell has gained ground on Benishek, a tea-party-backed physician who rode the 2010 Republican wave to Congress and is one of his party’s most vulnerable lawmakers. The Detroit Free Press endorsed McDowell on Sunday.

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