I got another email from Roy Cooper today. This one came at 11:21 am, a time when most people with real jobs are busy working. The subject line said "An end and a beginning." Here's the text:
September 1st marked the end of an innovative North Carolina program to encourage 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote. It's demise was part of the draconian elections overhaul passed by the legislature and signed by the governor last month that makes it harder for North Carolinians to register and vote.
What's more, the new law opens the door to more corporate money into the elections system, limits disclosures of contributions, prevents people from casting a provisional ballot when they go to the wrong precinct and the list goes on.
Rob Christensen's story about Ken Spaulding's announcement for governor ran in the N&O this morning. If that's your only source of news, you can be forgiven for thinking there are no other candidates already in the race against McCrory. There are.
Cooper responded by noting that his personal opinions have no bearing on him carrying out his legal obligations as attorney general. “It’s the duty of this office to defend state laws in court whether or not I agree with them, and we have an excellent track record,” Cooper said in a statement. “My ultimate duty is to the people of North Carolina, and I’m going to tell them what I think about laws that have an impact on their lives, and that includes trying to stop bad laws and advocating for good ones.”
Roy Cooper has a moral dilemma. If he tries to defend the Voter Suppression Act, he'll be violating his commitment to the people of North Carolina. If he doesn't try to defend it, he'll be shirking one of the formal requirements of his position as Attorney General.
Anticipating that the Democratic AG would refuse to defend their blatant contempt for our Constitution, on July 25th, the Senate managed to parasitically amend the Civil Action section of our General Statutes to give the Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem, joint standing to intervene in cases involving constitutional challenges to state law. This time HB 834, related to health care, served as the hapless host.
DAG McCrory has yet to sign it. But, when the levers move his hand across the signature line, the outlaws on Jones Street will have effectively declared themselves the new Sheriff in town. Their breach of the constitutional separation between the legislative and executive branches not withstanding, Roy Cooper's decision whether or not to defend HB 589 (or any of the tyranny) has pretty much been made for him.
Still empowered to actively defend the parts of our Constitution left unsullied, though, the AG ought to make best use of his good fortune and direct his SBI to launch a thorough investigation into the institutionalized racketeering lying at the very heart of our legislative nightmare. Art Pope's under-the-radar power grabbing, over much of the last two decades, is damning enough. But his appointment to the unelected post of State Budget Director, by a Governor who owes him plenty, absolutely reeks of collusion.
I got another email from Roy Cooper this morning. The subject line said "appalled" and the text was brief.
Yesterday, despite being warned of its consequences, Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB 589 into law. This regressive elections law restricts voting, allows more corporate money into politics and reduces public disclosure for special interests looking to influence elections. Plus it cuts short the time for early voting and stops those who go to the wrong precinct from casting provisional ballots. And on and on.
I urged the Governor to veto and more than 17,000 of you joined me in just four days.
Though I’m appalled that the bill is now law, I am encouraged by your response.
I suppose any successful politician has to have an ego the size of Mount Mitchell, but that doesn't make it any more palatable. Because the truth is, we the people are not joining Roy Cooper in "the effort," he's joining us. And he's already turning our fight for justice into a fundraising appeal for his next campaign.
Roy Cooper advised Pat McCrory not to sign the Voter Suppression Bill (VSB) because of problems with its constitutionality. McCrory signed it anyway. In the next few days, several organizations will be challenging the law in court. As Attorney General, Roy Cooper will be tasked with defending it. He should refuse.
I don't know about you, but I haven't received a lot of emails from Attorney General Roy Cooper over the years, but I got one today. It's a good one.
Welcome to the movement, Roy. And thanks for the email.
We’re proud in North Carolina to have laws that encourage people to register and vote while maintaining the integrity of our elections. But HB 589 goes backward and actually makes it harder for people to register and vote.
Here’s how it would do damage:
1. Cut short early voting, giving us longer lines on Election Day and making it harder for working people to vote.
2. Stop pre-registration for young people who want to vote for the first time.
3. Prohibit people who go to the wrong precinct from casting a provisional ballot there. Precinct confusion happens a lot after redistricting.
4. Enforce a voter ID law so restrictive that a student can't even use a college ID.
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