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America’s widening gap between the rich and poor — and this country’s fast-disappearing sense of security and progress and economic stability — is so far the top pick among the 20 subjects I presented as part of a new project called Change the List.

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Who cares about the economy? You

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17,768

That’s how many votes CNN’s Change the List tallied as of 7:20 a.m. Voting continues through Sunday, and you can vote once per day. Pick your top five from this list of 20 stories — the country where malaria is deadliest; the place where leprosy is still a scourge; the state with the highest dropout rate; the most dangerous roads on Earth — and CNN columnist John D. Sutter will report on the five winners. 

Help us spread the word - and thanks!

VOTE HERE: http://cnn.com/changethelist

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Journalism as democracy

Vote on the issues CNN columnist John D. Sutter will cover this year as part of his Change the List project. Pick five from this list of 20. He’ll start reporting on the five winners after voting closes Sunday night.

Don’t like the topics presented? Send a tweet to @jdsutter or an e-mail to ctl[at]cnn[dot]com and we’ll add it to the list of write-in candidates. CNN editors will choose the sixth Change the List topic, and that story could come from your ideas. Check out the spreadsheet with write-in topics here

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You pick it, CNN will cover it

Pick your top five from this list and VOTE HERE! I’ll cover the winning five as part of CNN’s Change the List project. Voting closes next Monday.

Here are the topics to choose from: 

  1. No toilets: In one country, 90% don’t have basic sanitation.
  2. Rivers: Some U.S. rivers are dry or overrun with pollution. 
  3. Malaria: The country with the highest death rate. 
  4. Free speech: One nation ranks BELOW North Korea.
  5. Happiness: The saddest rich country could use cheering up.
  6. Internet: Some U.S. towns have little to no access.
  7. Rape: Some communities suffer disproportionately. 
  8. Dropouts: One state has a 60% graduation rate. 
  9. Extreme poverty: Children are hit hardest. 
  10. Moms: In one country, 1 in 100 births kills mom.
  11. Roads: They kill 1.3M/year. Smarter laws could help.
  12. Polio: Three countries stand in the way of eradication. 
  13. Women: Five countries have no women in the legislature. 
  14. Animals: Illegal trades empty ecosystems and line pockets.
  15. Leprosy: +200K cases are detected each year. Still.
  16. Conflict: The deadliest wars aren’t always in the news.
  17. Prison: Which U.S. state is most likely to lock you up?
  18. Land mines: They still kill thousands per year.
  19. Inequality: One U.S. state is the most unequal of all.
  20. Drugs: U.S. demand fuels cartel violence. 

After we have the winners, we’ll work together to push for change in places that need it most. Each story focuses on the extreme case — and the goal is to start a conversation that, over time, could bump these places off the bottom of the list. Thanks for your vote and support! —John

 

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War, malaria, prisons. You pick it, CNN will cover it. VOTE HERE!

War, malaria, prisons. You pick it, CNN will cover it. VOTE HERE!

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Hawaii ties for last in voting

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(CNN) — Hawaii tied West Virginia for 49th place in voter turnout in the November election — and I’m pretty pumped about it. That may seem like a strange thing to be excited about, or even to know about, but hear me out on this: Since September, I’ve been writing about Hawaii’s lowest-of-the-low voter turnout rate for a new CNN project called Change the List. The goal, as the project name spells out in even-Ke$ha-can-understand terms (sorry, Ke$ha, I’m sure you’re smart, but that dollar sign …), was to bump Hawaii off the bottom of that list. And I wanted to do that with your help.

Read the full story on CNN.com.

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Petition aims to combine Election Day with Veterans’ Day (Sign it!)

After I wrote a recent article for CNN’s Change the List about why Election Day should be a federal holiday, someone created a petititon to that effet on WhiteHouse.gov. I didn’t realize the White House’s website allowed for user-created petitions, but apparently it does, and a couple of you sent me this link on Twitter. It now has more than 7,500 signatures. Several similar petitions can be found on Change.org, but I’m highlighting the White House version because it seems to have the most support, at least at the moment. Take a look, and if you agree Election Day should be combined with Veterans Day, as The Atlantic first suggested, then take a second to sign it. I think it could go a long way toward making it logistically easier for people to vote, and symbolically reminding all of us of the sacrifices veterans made for that right.

Thanks! — John, CNN’s Change the List

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No English ballots? Try Japanese

That’s basically what happened to voters at one precinct in Hawaii after a series of unfortunate events. First, the polling place at Hokulani Elementary School on the island of Oahu ran out of ballots. A two-hour line formed as polling workers tried to shuffle hundreds of people through a single electronic voting machine.

Next, according to Mike Kratzke, who was working the election, officials delivered more ballots — but they were the wrong ones, featuring the wrong local races. “Everyone stop! The ballots are wrong!” Kratzke recalls yelling over an angry mob.

Finally: A sorta-solution. Kratzke said he passed out Japanese-language ballots to some of the English-speaking voters. By comparing the Japanese ballots with those that included the wrong candidates, he said, the people of Hawaii finally were able to vote.

Read the full story on CNN.com.

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Why Election Day should be a federal holiday

As The Atlantic has suggested, Election Day could be combined with Veterans’ Day to create “Veterans’ Democracy Day.” Smart idea. Sends a strong message about the importance of voting, and the sacrifices that have made American democracy possible.

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It’s now the morning after Election Day. And while it’s still unclear whether Hawaii will finish last place for voting, preliminary estimates do offer a ray of hope. According to Michael McDonald, an election results guru at George Mason University, Hawaii likely will slip past West Virginia, handing over the title of the “state that doesn’t vote.” It feels too early and too odd to celebrate, though, especially given the calamity that ensued in Hawaii on Tuesday.
Read the full CNN.com story to find out why I’m not ready to celebrate the fact that Hawaii may have bumped itself out of last place for voting. Main reasons: Not all of the numbers are in; and Election Day, according to reports, was a mess in parts of Hawaii.

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Woo-hoo! Thanks for sending in “I voted” images, Hawaii. Click on the image to see the interactive map and to send in an image of your own. Here’s another pic, from the news site Honolulu Civil Beat. The polls are still open in Hawaii. Get out there and vote!

Woo-hoo! Thanks for sending in “I voted” images, Hawaii. Click on the image to see the interactive map and to send in an image of your own. Here’s another pic, from the news site Honolulu Civil Beat. The polls are still open in Hawaii. Get out there and vote!

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The majority of the (Hawaii’s) 233 precincts opened on time this morning at 7 a.m. … The only exception was in Leeward Oahu where a precinct at Mililani High School opened 10 minutes late because of “a misunderstanding” during the initial setting up process, said Rex Quidilla, state elections office spokesman.
Gregg K. Kakesako, Honolulu Star Advertiser. That’s good news, especially considering the trouble the Big Island of Hawaii had during the primary, with several polling places opening late. The bad news: Surf is high today. (Good news: You can surf AND vote).