What are other countries saying about our presidential candidates?


Most Britons support Clinton over Trump. They feel that she is more predictable than Trump. Although Britain is distracted by its own elections and politics, many feel they are aware enough to be “frightened” by Trump or feel he is a “Court Jester.” Not all Britons agree with Clinton or like her, but overall they like her better than Trump.


In February, Canadians said they thought Trump would be bad for Canada. A poll suggested 18 percent of Canadians thought Trump would be bad for Canada while 49 percent thought he would be very bad for Canada.

According to the same polls, more Canadians reported favoring the Democratic Party. Clinton was thought to be good for Canada by 55 percent of voters. Of the conservative Canadians, about 40 percent thought Clinton would be good for Canada.


Mexicans are unhappy about Trump’s remarks that Mexicans are “rapists” and “are bringing drugs.” They also make fun on the news and in many satirical shows of Trump’s wall that would separate the countries. Mexican-Americans also report sharing the feelings of their country. Mexicans think Hillary is reasonable in comparison.

South Africa:

“Arguably the most successful internet troll in today’s political spectrum” said South Africa’s the New Age while talking about Trump. Some South Africans have made a comparison between Trump and their president, Jacob Zuma. They talk about their similarities when it comes to feelings about women.


Trump claimed he would “get along very well with Putin.” Putin responded by calling Trump “a bright and talented person without any doubt.” The media has found many ways to compare them.


China has called Trump’s comments and supporters “racist and extremist.” Chinese media has doubted the power of our democracy when referring to Trump.


A popular Iran newspaper said “the Trump storm is coming.” Political cartoons in Iran show Trump being portrayed as Lady Liberty and Hitler.

Not many countries have spoken out very much about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Very few have mentioned her and don’t feel threatened by her. Trump has underwhelming support in other countries. Will that matter in the final vote?



The current voting system in the United States follows HAVA. HAVA is the Helping America Vote Act and was passed by congress in 2002. This act was passed to prevent another voting disaster similar to the 2000 general election. Chaos plagued the 2000 election in Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Missouri and Nevada. There were irregularities and poor regulation in the voting processes and the Supreme Court chose to decide the election.

HAVA was created to avoid another chaotic election. In order to implement standards for the new rules, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was created. The EAC ensures that states implement: provisional voting, voting information, updated voting equipment, voter identification procedures and administrative complaint procedures in compliance with to HAVA.

To make the change possible, government funding was given to states to help them comply with the regulations. Money was distributed to replace voting equipment, including paper ballots with barcodes to be detected by optical scanners. This ended the punch card voting system. Without punch cards, voters were able to make changes to their ballots without having to get a new ballot.

Along with new ballots, new rules were introduced to determine how voters cast ballots. All voters are now required to present a driver’s license, the last four digits of their social security number, or a voter ID card.

All 50 states and DC are required to comply with HAVA standards, which are still in effect today, though minor changes have been introduced along the way.

Happy Birthday!

June 25 is a birthday for many: George Orwell, an accomplished author; Ricky Gervais, a successful comedian; and, Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic women on the United States Supreme Court. However, the oldest and arguably the most important birthday on this date is that of Virginia. On this day in 1788, Virginia was the 10th state to join the United States of America.

June 25, 2016 is the 228th birthday of the state of Virginia. All those years ago James Madison was the catalyst in facilitating Virginia’s transition from one of the 13 colonies into a state. Including James Madison, Virginia served as the birthplace of  more presidents than any other state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson.

Virginia started with the English settlers establishing in Jamestown, the former capital, on the bank of the James River in 1607. Richmond, also founded in 1607, is now the capital of Virginia.

Many changes in Virginia have occurred in the last 228 years. Some counties in the original Virginia have been given to Kentucky and West Virginia. Even with the loss of those counties, Virginia is still the home to about eight million people, and encompasses 42,775 square miles.

Virginia is often called the Old Dominion, Mother of Presidents, Mother of states, Mother of Statesmen and the Cavalier State. Among many things, Virginia is a vital part of American history and establishment of the United States. Happy Birthday, Virginia!

Sanders Asks Us to Open Up to Open Primaries

Senator Bernie Sanders wants all states to adopt open party primaries. He feels that many young people that identify as independents are being deprived of their right to vote in the primaries. In 15 out of our 50 states, open primaries are being held. These states are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. In many states, including Virginia, there is no option listed to affiliate with a political party when registering to vote; therefore, these states have nonpartisan registrations.

Partisan primaries began about 100 years ago to help Americans choose party nominees and restrict the power of the parties. However, 40 percent of voters today do not wish to choose to affiliate with either major party. This shift in preference has led many states to adopt other forms of primary elections.

There are four types of primaries in the United States. The first type is a closed primary, which is a partisan vote that restricts voters to voting within their chosen party affiliation. The next is Sanders’ favorite, open primaries; these are open to all voters, but voters are required to choose one party’s ballot to vote on.

Another primary option is a combination of both a closed and open primary. The mixed primary allows political parties to decide how the primary process will be executed. Parties may require voters to declare a party for voting day.

The last type of party is a top two, nonpartisan primary. This last type allows all voters to vote on their favorite top two candidates. The top two candidates move onto the general election, if they succeed in winning their parties’ nominations.

Some who are in opposition to open primaries argue that closed primaries do not restrict anyone from voting. They believe that anyone who wants to vote in a particular party should just register in that party and switch later if they change their mind. Another argument is that voters may try to sabotage the party they are not affiliated with if given the choice between ballots.

Supporters of open primaries are arguing that this type of primary is the most impartial way for voters to have a voice. According to openprimaries.org, “86 percent of Americans believe the government is broken under the closed primary system.” They also state that “75% of elected officials in this country are winning office without having to communicate with voters outside their own party.”

If an open party system would be adopted in the last 35 states, then politicians would be required to work much harder to stay in office. They would need to target all individuals instead of just voters within their party.

Voting in Virginia: Your Vote Counts!

The 2016 presidential election is coming upon us, and Virginia is scheduled to vote in the general election on November 8. Every non-convicted (and recently some convicted) citizen over the age of 18 has the right to vote, but a lot of people choose not to exercise this right.

Virginia has around 6.5 million eligible voters and of those there are 5,354,785 that are registered to vote. Among those registered to vote are 116,445 inactive voters, meaning they haven’t voted in a federal election in two years and have failed to acknowledge postcards mailed to their homes. This means about 80 percent of eligible voters in Virginia are actively registered to vote in November.

If this seems like a lot, then take into consideration that many of those people will not vote. The percentage of the 245,273,438 Americans eligible who actually vote is 57.5, and the state with the highest voter turn-out rate is Minnesota with 75 percent of eligible voters. Voters give a variety of reasons for not voting, but the top four are 17.5 percent too busy; 14.9 percent too ill; 13.4 percent not interested in voting; and 12.9 percent who lack support for any particular candidates. The most active voting age group voting is 65-74, whereas lowest voting age group is 18-24.

Virginia has 13 Electoral College votes, compared to states as large as California (55 Electoral College votes). Virginia has 2.5 percent of the total Electoral College votes, but can make up to 5 percent of the votes needed to win,due to the election being decided by two Electoral College votes (two more votes than the opponent to reach 270), Virginia’s votes count and your participation counts. All of Virginia’s votes go to one party, therefore one Electoral College shift in support could change all 13 votes.

Virginia’s additional votes are more valuable than ever because the state is shifting from a more Republican state to a slightly more Democrat state. From 1996 to 2004, Virginia had a majority of Republican voters. There were roughly the same amount of republicans in 1996 as today, but the undecided people have adopted Democrat views or voting preferences.

If the race is as close as it could be, then eligible voters who, normally don’t vote, could make the difference. If you aren’t registered to vote, you must register before June 14 to be eligible to vote in the general election. The process is not difficult and can be completed online.

Don’t remain unheard!

Upcoming General Election

Virginia is an increasingly important state in the upcoming general election. From 1964 until Obama’s first win in 2008, Virginia had been primarily Republican. Virginia’s population started to become more diverse and now less conservative at the turn of the millennium. These diverse, more moderate populations are mostly voting Democrat.

Along with the diversity shift, are new policies that deal with how or who can vote. One policy change, recently trending in the media, is the new requirement of the photo-ID at the voting polls. The Registrar’s office, to keep up with the new law, is following up with retirement and healthcare facilities to make sure voters have photo IDs for November.

Despite the new requirement, registration to vote in Virginia is rising, especially online. A large influx of people registering to vote came after March. The influx is thought to be from the new online registration form that began in 2013. The registration rates in 2016, as opposed to 2012, rose 35 percent in Virginia. The rates tripled in Williamsburg and increased by 92 percent in James City.

Some believe this year’s increase is due to the media-drumming presidential candidate Donald Trump. He may be causing the race to be interesting enough to engage people in registering to vote. Whether they are registering to vote in support or opposition is unknown. It is too soon to tell.

The last, but potentially most important, policy shift is Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s decision to allow former felons to vote in the upcoming election. This new allowance must be renewed each month by the governor and may be reversed by the next governor, since his decision, 2,000 felons signed up in the first 2 weeks to be eligible for November.

Republicans claim that Gov. McAuliffe is hoping allowing felons to vote will help democratic candidate Hillary Clinton win Virginia.

All of these policy changes are contributing to Virginia’s importance in elections. However, a setback in Virginia voting is convincing its population to vote in non-presidential election years. In these years, 40 percent of voters cast a ballot, whereas in presidential election years 75 percent of voters head to the polls.


Virginia’s Newest Voters

On Friday, Virginia Governor McAuliffe granted the ability to vote to over 200,000 previous inmates. Former convicts that have served their times can now vote in the 2016 election. The newly eligible Virginians will be added to the already established 5.3 million registered voters in the Commonwealth.

However, nothing is done without controversy. Especially in politics. Republicans have already filed motions to force Governor McAuliffe to retract his new law. State republicans are claiming that McAuliffe has overstepped his authority and committed an unlawful act. The governor responded by saying he had checked with his legal team well in advance of the announcement and everything that he did was completely legal.

Governor McAuliffe’s decision to grant former felons the right to vote has raised eyebrows. Many reporters have pointed out McAUliffe’s close relation with both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Studies have shown that most former inmates once released tend to vote Democratic. This decision could have an impact in any state, but especially Virginia since it is a swing state during an election year like no other.

The announcement of this new law has already frustrated Donald Trump. He made statements earlier citing the Governor’s decision as idiotic and biased. Hillary Clinton has thanked her “friend” McAuliffe for his compassionate decision.

A lot of the people who suffered from the jurisdiction of this regulation committed their crimes when they were younger than 25 years old. They are still facing consequences from actions committed when they were a completely different person. Inmates have already served their time, why should they have to continue their sentence after release? This is why Governor McAuliffe agreed to give released prisoners back their rights. Nationally, six million previous offenders are still without voting privileges.

Looking towards the next election, it is hard to predict the effect Virginia’s newest voters could have on the outcome. Out of the 200,000 people given rights, it is expected that over 30,000 will vote. In 2014, one Senator won his election by a slim 17,000 votes. These first time voters have the power to swing the next election by as most as eight percentage points.

Virginia Tech Remembrance Day

Last Saturday was the ninth anniversary of the Virginia Tech school shootings. That day thirty-two innocent people lost their lives when Seung-Hui Cho opened fire shortly before 10 AM that morning. To this day, the Virginia Tech shooting is the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in the United States, and one of the deadliest by a single shooter globally.

Governor McAuliffe declared April 16th a day of remembrance in the state of Virginia. Flags were ordered to be flown at half staff. The day of remembrance honors those who lost their lives, the first responders who saved lives, and those whose lives were forever changed. There was a list of scheduled events that occurred last Saturday.

Beginning at midnight April 16th, a ceremonial lighting of candles was performed. The names of all thirty-two victims were read aloud. At midnight on April 17th at the end of the day of events, the light was extinguished. Aside from being a vigil for those lost, the candle  was meant to symbolize the light that came from the darkness that day.

With every bad thing that happens there must be some good. School security is stronger today than ever. The shooting also brought attention to major issues such as gun violence, the responsibility of college administration, how schools treat mental illness, and journalism ethics. Most important, that day people showed sides of them most never see. There were raw emotions demonstrated and acts of kindness that do not occur on a regular day. On that day no one looked at age, sex, or skin colors; they were all family grieving together.

At 9:43 AM Saturday morning, the time nine years previously the first shot rang out, the Capitol Square Bell Tower rang thirty-two times, one for each of those who died that day. The rings were followed by a moment of silence.

After the moment of silence was performed, it was time to run. There was a free run following the remembrance ceremony. 10,300 people ran 3.2 miles Saturday. The first 6,000 were given t-shirts with the phrase “Ut Prosim” across the chest which translates to “that I may serve.”

Governor McAuliffe suggested that anyone who would like to give back in another way could donate blood. There were several different locations throughout the commonwealth who had donating stations set up throughout the weekend.  

Family and friends of those who were target that day nine years ago feared that their children would be forgotten. The families are truly grateful that Governor McAuliffe made Virginia Tech Remembrance Day and officially recognized holiday. Governor McAuliffe announced that he is dedicated to doing whatever he can in his power to assure events such as this do not happen again.

Following Mary Lee

In 2012, OCEARCH tagged a female great white shark in Cape Cod. Ever since, Mary Lee has been a celebrity all along the East Coast. On Twitter, she has 90,000 followers. All day fans tweet at her asking for her to stop by, or even for advice. She has been titled the “Greatest Great White.”

Mary Lee is 3,456 pounds and is 16 feet long. Mary Lee does not follow any rules. Since being tracked, Mary has baffled scientists by her unique travel patterns. Before following the popular great white, scientists assumed sharks traveled in straight lines, relocating seasonally. Mary Lee turned those theories upside down.

Between 6:15 AM and 1:00 PM Tuesday morning, Mary Lee swam over 300 nautical miles. The path she swam resembled a bowl of spaghetti noodles. She is constantly all over the place. One Twitter follower commented to Mary Lee that if she were allowed on planes, she would have an impressive amount of frequent flier miles. Trackers on Mary Lee ping onto control towers located along the East Coast whenever her dorsal fin pops above water.

Since instillation, OCEARCH has followed Mary for over 25,000 nautical miles. Mary Lee travels the Atlantic Ocean swimming from Florida to Massachusetts making stops along the way. She spent Christmas in North Carolina, and last recorded splashing around 70 miles off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. Scientists are wondering if she is headed North to deliver baby great whites. New Jersey is known as a shark breeding ground.

Researchers are unsure if Mary Lee travels alone or with friends. OCEARCH tracks two other female great white sharks, Lynn and Mesa Jeanne. Lynn and Mesa Jeanne like to dwell around Ocean City, Maryland, but concidently have never interacted with Mary Lee. Most great white sharks travel in groups, or schools.

Last month, Jim Ware, the voice of @MaryLeeShark on Twitter traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience firsthand how experts tag great white sharks. Ware witnessed several great white males be tagged. Sadly, Mary Lee was not in the area. Ware has also used his social media platform to bring awareness to wildlife conservation efforts.  

You can stay up to date too with Mary Lee by following her on Twitter, @MaryLeeShark or watching her trail the East Coast through http://www.ocearch.org/profile/mary_lee.

George Mason University Searches for Law School Dedication

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing has sent Washington D.C. into complete disarray. Issues plaguing the republican party have worsened, strife between democrats and republicans has intensified, and the distrust apparent between republicans and the president has heightened.

This week republican Senator Susan Collins broke the congressional stalemate by sitting down with Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. After their meeting, Senator Collins told reporters that Garland deserves a hearing. Collins explained that immediately following the news of Scalia’s passing, Collins revisited the Constitution, looking for a definitive answer whether a nomination should take place now or in 2017.

After carefully examining the document that dictates the supreme laws adhered by the United States, Collins came to the conclusion that President Obama has the authority to appoint a new Supreme Court justice. That responsibility is given to the president by article two of the Constitution.

Collins told listeners that it is unfair for Congress to refuse to hold hearings for Garland. It is impossible to make  judgement on someone that they know nothing about. Several weeks ago when the Senate went out of session, Susan Collins was only one of two senators willing to meet with Merrick Garland. During her most recent interview, Senator Collins announced now fourteen senators are willing to sit with Judge Garland.

Another large news story this week regarding ramifications of Antonin Scalia’s passing, is George Mason University’s struggle over what to name their law school. Donors suggested that GMU honor the late Supreme Court justice in the school’s name.

First, many voiced their opposition to remembering Antonin Scalia through George Mason’s law school due to his contentious persona. Scalia was known for speaking his mind without worrying about political correctness. Scalia had controversial opinions on gay rights, health care, affirmative action, immigration, and gender equality.

After the news broke that there was a possibility George Mason would name its law school after Scalia, people began to realize it would spell out a rather comedic acronym. The initials A.S. and abbreviation for school of law resulted in some chuckles on the internet. So far, eleven Virginia lawmakers have ruled against naming the law school after Antonin Scalia. In the 24 hours since the announcement, 1,000 signatures have already been collected to not immortalize Scalia.

Alumni and current students have voiced their concerns over if the controversial naming would negatively affect future job opportunities for them. Students are strongly opposed to being  linked to the late conservative Supreme Court justice. Many worry that $30 million donated from the Koch Brothers would influence the school to adopt a more conservative approach to their curriculum, mirroring Scalia’s political approach. Students hope that their school would be stronger than to be swayed by greed.