Free Rides to the Polls

New Yorkers, you have no excuse:

Harpreet Singh Toor, a neighborhood activist who is running to become the first Sikh in the city council, has come up with an innovative way to get his voters to the polls next Tuesday.

Toor has arranged for Sikh cab drivers to use their cars to ferry voters to and from the polls on election day.

“It is important that the voters in Southeast Queens make their voices heard,” Toor said. “Of course I hope that they vote for me, but what is most important is that they vote. For too long the needs of this district have been ignored by those in office. The only way we will change things for the better is to come out and vote in large numbers.”

Toor noted that Sikh cab drivers also offered free rides in the wake of 9/11, and said the gesture then and next week is related to the Sikh concept of Seva, which he defined as doing service without any expectation of return. [Link]

I think we should do this in every district in the country but make it a more collaborative all-around effort! I am imagining that a local sweets store would provide gulab jamuns and samosas in the cab and a local dhol player could get people psyched up by playing their instrument just outside the sphere of the polling place. Then some kulfi on the way out. This is my vision.

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Vote “American” Today

For months we have been highlighting the campaigns of South Asian American candidates. Now it’s “go” time. Get out there today and please encourage others you know to vote as well. It is precisely elections like these where the things you voted for in presidential elections are rolled back. If you felt voting in 2008 was important than this election is no different.

This past August, the Republican nominee for Kansas’ Fourth Congressional District Mike Pompeo — who owes much of his personal wealth and political career to the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers — tweeted out an article referring to his Indian-American Democratic opponent Raj Goyle (a former Center for American Progress staffer) as an “evil” “turban topper,” calling it a “good read.” Shortly after the tweet, the campaign released a full apology, calling it an “honest mistake.”

Now, the campaign has once again returned to racial waters. Pompeo supporter John Eck, who runs an insurance agency in the district, placed two digital billboards above the building that houses his company. The first features an image of Pompeo along with the phrase, “True Americans Vote For Pompeo.” The second billboard says, “Vote American. Vote Pompeo.” [link]

If you have any stories from the polling places today please email or tweet us.
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Who’s That … Brown?

The San Fransisco Bay Guardian has an easy to read voting slate that you can take to the polls when voting today! But as I looked through it, I did a double take. It looked like a slate of all white faces. But wait a second, is that Kamala Harris in the middle? The Kamala Harris running for Attorney General with a Jamaican father and Indian mother? Kamala Slate.jpg

What is up with the white washing? She looks whiter than the other folks on the slate. Who actually are white. Do they really think people in San Francisco have that much of an implicit racial bias that they had to make her this washed out to get their vote? I’ve seen this Kamala photo used several times on the materials here and find it disturbing. This campaign photo reminds me of the campaign photos of Bobby Jindal and President Obama where their skin color was messed with.

After working a candidate campaign this election cycle and understanding how much of a person’s image is sieved before public exposure, I find it hard to believe these pictures were not touched up deliberately by a consultant or two. But…why? Don’t they know brown is beautiful? Don’t they know we have a black President?? Kamala with Obamas.jpg See? Here’s a picture of Kamala Harris with the Obamas. A photo where she actually is brown! What was that? Who’s That? Brooown!

Today is Election Day. GO VOTE. Whether for a white guy named Brown or a brown girl washed white. Go to for your polling location, you have the right to ask for a provisional ballot, you can contact 1-866-OUR-VOTE if you have polling issues and you can read my 2008 Election Day post if you need more voting rights info. Continue reading