The Myth of Widespread Voter Fraud Leads to Voter Suppression

For weeks, members of the Trump administration have made claims that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election, in turn, costing President Donald Trump the popular vote to former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Despite these continuously made statements, no white paper, research study, or factual evidence have been released supporting the claims of widespread voter fraud in the United States.

Unfounded claims of voter fraud fuel voter suppression by tactics such as voter ID laws. The efforts to sign voter ID bills into laws have increased in recent years. With this increase in efforts, research has been conducted in an attempt to understand what effect voter ID laws have on the public opinion of voter fraud.

In 2008, the Harvard Law Review found that 13% of survey respondents nationwide believed that voter fraud was a common practice. However, living in states with strict voter ID laws did nothing to ease the concerns about election votes being casted illegally. Of those respondents living in one of four states with voter ID laws, 14% still believed that voter fraud was a common practice. Voter ID laws do not dispel the myth of voter fraud. Despite this finding, supporters have continued in their labors of turning these bills into law.

Voter ID laws are specific to each state. North Carolina has one of the most restrictive voter ID laws. Signed into law in 2013, North Carolina’s voter law requires all voters to have a NC drivers license or learner permit, a NC special identification card for non-drivers, a U.S. passport, a U.S. military ID or Veterans ID card, or an enrollment card from a federally or NC recognized tribe. Student IDs are not accepted. In addition to these ID requirements, same-day registration and teenage pre-registration have been banned.

Although those supporting voter ID laws similar to North Carolina’s law argue that it decreases voter fraud, research shows that the more stricter voter ID laws have a negative impact on the voter turnout of racial and ethnic minorities. These laws disproportionately affect college students and transgender people.

Voter ID laws are supposedly put into place to address issues of voter fraudulence and solve the problem of voter fraud. However, if widespread voter fraud is not only a myth, but a concept that has been disproven, then what problem have voter ID laws been put into place to solve? To protect the rights of voters, it is imperative to accurately identify concerns and proven fraudulences of voting and election processes in order to find a solution that protects all citizens’ democracy.

Social Media and its Densensitization of Serious Issues

To say that Kehlani has had a difficult past 72 hours would be an understatement.

Image via Kehlani's Instagra,

Image via Kehlani’s Instagra,

On Monday, March 28, PartyNextDoor, a Canadian rapper and ex-boyfriend of Grammy nominated R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani, 20, posted a photo of the two apparently holding hands in his bed. Neither of their faces were shown. However, the tattoo on one the hands mirrors tattoos of Kehlani. The photo has since been deleted off of PartyNextDoor’s Instagram account.

The caption for the photo read:

After all her shenanigans, still got the r&b singer back in my bed

The Internet completely went wild. Up until this moment the assumption was that Kehlani was still dating Cleveland Cavaliers player Kyrie Irving. Since this was the assumption, Kehlani was immediately and aggressively judged and sentenced in the court of public opinion. Her sentence? She was slut-shamed and even threatened with physical violence.

Kehlani announced Tuesday with a post on Instagram that she had attempted to commit suicide. In the post, which has since been deleted, Kehlani shared a photo from her hospital bed with the caption that read:

today I wanted to leave this earth. Being completely selfish for once. Never thought I’d get to such a low point. But.. Don’t believe the blogs you read .. No one was cheated on and I’m not a bad person… Everyone is hurt and everyone is in a place of misunderstanding.. But as of today, i had no single wish to see tomorrow.. But God saved me for a reason, and for that… I must be grateful.. Cuz I’m not in heaven right now for a reason.. On that note.. Bye Instagram.

This did not stop The Internet from continuing to harass and slut-shame the singer on social media. In an attempt to clear up something that is absolutely none of our business, Kehlani posted a photo to Instagram with a caption explaining that she did not cheat on Kyrie Irving because the two are currently broken up.

Many people, including some celebrities, took to the internet to show support for Kehlani. The hashtag #StayStrongKehlani emerged and trended on Twitter. However, despite the positive energy flowing from fans and supporters, many others were still critical of Kehlani and even a suicide attempt couldn’t soften their blows.

Singer Chris Brown even used his ‘expertise’ to criticize Kehlani’s suicide attempt.

The truth is that now we live during a time where many of us share almost every aspect about our lives on social media. I have seen photos of pregnancy tests shared on Instagram from people that I have not seen in the last 10 years. I see screenshots of business emails sent from professionals that people post on a weekly basis. This has become social media’s norm. I am shocked that people are still surprised and find it unbelievable that individuals share things as serious as suicide on their social media networks. Even research from Ohio State University indicates that “adolescents commonly use social media to reach out when they are depressed.”

Suicide continues to be a serious problem across the United States and the rest of the world. It was the second leading cause of death for 10 – 34-year-olds in the United States in 2014. The number of people attempting suicide each year is staggering. U.S. emergency departments treat approximately 500,000 people a year for self-inflicted wounds. Globally, more than 800,000 people die from suicide every year.

Has social media desensitized us so much to the issues of suicide, mental illness, and rape that we laugh and condemn people dealing with these issues or for not reaching out for help like we assume we would do in a similar situation? Would Kehlani have had to succeed at her suicide attempt for it to be widely taken serious? Unfortunately, what happened to Kehlani is not out of the ordinary. Mocking those who have attempted suicide, are dealing with depression, or are rape victims is not just limited to celebrities or adults. Audrey Pott, a 15-year-old high school student committed suicide in 2012 after photos of her sexual assault were circulated and ridiculed on social media. In 2014, the photos of an unconscious 16-year-old that were taken after she was allegedly drugged and raped at a party with fellow high school students went viral. The Internet used the hashtag #jadapose to mock the unconscious body of the teen, who has since been asked to be identified as Jada.

Has our everyday activity on social media desensitized us to serious and dangerous issues? Things that are posted on social media do not automatically receive a dismissal of its serious issues just because of the channel in which it’s being discussed. Times have changed, and with it has also come a change in how we choose to communicate and express ourselves. It’s time to accept it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-1800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the Lifeline Crisis Chat to talk with someone online. Both are available 24/7.

3 Reasons Why Those Who Lead Should Lead on Social Media

This post originally appeared on Online Careers Tips and was written by Tiffany Young, Public Relations Manager for American Public University System.

From CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to presidents of nonprofit associations to youth soccer team coaches, those who lead have found that a social media presence can be beneficial. Despite the documented successes found by leaders who engage on social media platforms, there are still some leaders who do not participate.

I recently took note of this at a conference I attended for PR and communication professionals. Attendees were encouraged to use social media during the conference to connect with others and to get highlights from sessions. A good majority of them were senior-level executives and many others were sole proprietors of their own agencies, but yet few were using some form of social networking. This shouldn’t have been a surprise; according to a report from Domo and CEO.com, 68 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs lacked a social presence – they weren’t on any of the major social networks.

I decided to try to get more of the leaders at the conference to turn to social media. After a quick 30 minute pep-talk about the benefits of engaging on social media, I sat down with a few and showed them how to tweet from their phones, create a list of speakers and sponsors, and even post a photo on their Facebook pages using a hashtag! They all enjoyed the lesson and said they planned to re-engage with their followers to hopefully increase their network.

Here are three tips to share with your leaders on why social media is relevant:

  1. The Ability to Build a Personal Brand – Social Media allows a leader to continually provide content to stakeholders in a way that adds significant value to the brand.  In addition, leaders can identify and engage online colleagues by reading and commenting on their blogs, following them on Twitter, and connecting with them on Facebook.

Read the entire article at Online Career Tips

3 Ways to Get More Out of Social Media in 2014

By now we’ve all heard how important social media is to both our personal and professional lives. However, what hasn’t been widely accepted yet is that there is a method to the madness. I recently wrote a post on Miller Littlejohn Media of three ways you can get more out of social media in 2014.

3 ways to get more out of social media

We often hear how important it is for communication professionals to be on social media. The benefits are endless: networking, personal branding, generating new business, increasing your audience reach and the list goes on and on. While it’s important to be on social media, it’s even more important to be engaged.

Next time you log onto one of your social networks, be sure to keep three things in mind.

Increase the frequency of your posts. You are competing against millions of people to be noticed on social media. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd or to be forgotten. Posting frequently on all of your social networks not only makes you stand out, but people will begin to look for what you have to say.

Set a goal of how many posts you want to post a day or week for each social network. Keep mind how quickly each network’s timeline moves when determining your goal. For example, try to tweet at least 10 or more times per week. Post on Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn at least 3-5 times per week. Also, depending on your specific industry, don’t forget to include Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram a few times as well.

Tip: Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow you to schedule your posts in advance. TweetDeck only schedules tweets in advance. However, Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and WordPress.

Read more of “3 Ways to Get More Out of Social Media in 2014” at Miller Littlejohn Media.

3 Tips for Success That Most People Ignore

3 Tips for Success That Most People IgnoreI love professional and career building events. I have to admit though, some of the tips given at these events can be pretty repetitive. But, can you guess why? Because they’re important!

Ironically, as important as these tips are, most people don’t actually follow them, including myself sometimes. Here are three tips that are given at professional and career growth events that most people ignore. Hopefully after this you won’t be one of them.

1.      Actually Follow Up With Contacts

Business cards are amazing. They’re the keys that can open almost any door that exists. However, if you don’t use them, they’re pointless.

As soon as you get a new contact, reach out to them through email. Even if you don’t want something now, you may need something later. By the time later comes around, they’ll remember you.

Read more at Elite DC Magazine. 

Be Sure to Check Your Domain Name!

Every now and then I come across someone’s website that shows me no content whatsoever about themselves because their domain name has expired. I am disappointed to announce that after numerous alerts about my upcoming domain name expiration date, my domain name (www.ericahilton.com) expired. Domain ExpiredHow did I find out about my domain name expiration? I clicked my website link on Twitter and was completely redirected to an ugly blank page that said, “This domain name has expired.” Luckily I was able to catch it and renew it the same date it expired, so I’m officially back up and running.

But let’s play what if. What if I didn’t catch it when I did? What if I was still applying for jobs with my website plastered all over my resume, cover letter and business cards? I would have been crap out of luck. People would have taken the time to check me out for nothing. Not to mention it can also look unprofessional, especially when you’re trying to brand yourself.

The moral of this story? Don’t be like me. Frequently check the domain name to your website. You always want to be aware whether it’s working properly or not. Catch it before you even have a problem.