We’ve noticed in the News21 newsroom how certain stories in our search fields stay hot. Part of this is probably the naturally viral nature of Internet news, but we’ve enjoyed seeing which stories pop up and keep buzzing.
Today, that story is a minor item from the Roanoke, Va., NBC affilate, WSLS. It’s a story about voter registration and dead dogs. Or, more specifically, one particular dead dog whose owner received forms inviting the pet to register to vote.
The story went viral for a variety of reasons, and it was picked up by such diverse sources as conservative blog RedAlert Politics and political news site, Politico. It also is a story about supposed voter fraud — even though this actually is an example of registration fraud, and not voter fraud — which gets a wide segment of the conservative Twittersphere riled.
It is also a story about a cute dog with a cute name, and nothing goes viral like stories about small animals, especially when those animals are given anthropomorphic qualities and get all mixed up in human activities like voting.
A coalition of civil rights organizations also filed a lawsuit against Florida this afternoon, alleging that the state’s removing voters from rolls violates section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but wouldn’t you rather read about the cute dog who would have been eligible to vote in Virginia if he was a human and hadn’t died two years ago?
What We’ve Been Reading
“Citizenship mandate challenged,” (Lyle Denniston, 06/19, SCOTUSBlog)
“Voter Purges,” (Myrna Pérez, 09/30/08, Brennan Center for Justice)
“Civil Rights Groups Sue Florida Over Voter Purging Lists,” (Brentin Mock, 06/19, The Nation / Colorlines)
“E-Voting: Trust but Verify,” (Steve Schneider and Alan Woodward, 06/19, Scientific American)
“St. Paul jumps in to VoterID fray,” (Patrick Thornton, 06/19, MinnLawyerBlog)
“JW Sues Obama Justice Department for Records Regarding South Carolina’s Voter ID Law,” (Tom Fitton, 06/19, Breitbart.com / BigGovernment)
“Punch-Card Voting in Idaho,” (Pew Center on the States, 06/19)
“Joe Walsh, GOP Congressman, Introduces New Federal Voter ID Bill,” (Nick Wing, 06/19, The Huffington Post)
As mentioned above, that story about the voting-age eligible dog in Virginia bounced around Twitter this morning, particularly after Politico picked it up. At that point, several journalists released a collective Twitter yell complaining about the item’s lack of news value.
(While we wrote this post, North Carolina’s conservative Civitas Institute wrote a blog post warning about the dangers of pet voting. The story has legs, apparently.)
There are still some latecomers to the Mitt Romney/#VotingRights party, as users continue to ask the GOP presidential candidate what he thinks about the Florida voter roll removal.
The #voterID hashtag also has spiked on social media search engine Topsy.com, as users mention a recently introduced federal voter ID bill by U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., and the aforementioned voting-eligble dog.
We’ll be sure to tell you if Mitt Romney replies to all these tweets, and if the dog is ever enfranchised. Follow us at @WhoCanVote.