voter suppression tactics

Why is the BOE holding out on documents?

Apparently the truth won't set you free:

Attorneys in a trio of lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s voter identification law say that as of the middle of last week, the State Board of Elections had not turned over a single electronic document, despite a plan agreed to by both sides earlier this month to produce that material.

In a motion filed last week, lawyers who object to the voting law say the other side is stalling. Defense attorneys contend that the plaintiffs are to blame for any delay by asking for copious amounts of documents, including some that pertain to a portion of the law that doesn’t take effect until 2016.

Not sure what is worse, failing to turn over documents or waiting until 5 p.m. on a Friday and then crashing your system, which is what DENR did last week.

NC GOP establishes pattern of suppressing college voters

Moving the goal posts to another field entirely:

“When we see polling places that have traditionally been on college campuses moved away and seemingly for not any good reason, it’s very concerning," said Bob Phillips, state director of voting rights group Common Cause. "It makes one think there are other reasons for this that have to do more with politics than, again, the goal of making voting easy and accessible for everybody.”

Phillips said he has heard Republican-led elections boards in Cumberland, Guilford and Forsyth counties also are targeting polling sites on the campuses of Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T State University and Winston-Salem State University, respectively. Votes cast on all three campuses have historically favored Democratic candidates.

This attack on college voters is doubly frustrating because, in addition to being a blatantly partisan move to cut down on votes for Democrats, it also serves to suppress the votes of the youngest demographic, a group that we should be encouraging to get involved.

The Voter Integrity Project is at it again

Challenging voters in Buncombe County:

Tea party volunteers in Buncombe County went door-to-door to find out whether inactive voters lived at the addresses they have filed with the elections office. Volunteers also mailed a letter to each of the voters, which was returned undeliverable. The letters became the evidence in the challenge.

Election officials must wait two presidential election cycles, or eight years, before removing an inactive voter from the roll under federal law, Parker said. DeLancy said his group disagrees with this characterization of the rules. He said the group believes the two election cycles include midterms, which would shorten the time frame to four years.

Proving once again the Tea Party is a bunch of hypocrites. Harping about defending freedoms from an overzealous government and waving the US Constitution around, but they're more than happy to take away your right to vote if given half a chance. Mind-numbing contradiction.

NC Republicans seen as "culture warriors"

The Economist takes a look at NC's new ruling class:

A bigger problem for him is that he has come to be seen as a figurehead for an increasingly unpopular state legislature. The 2010 election gave the Republicans enough seats to control the redistricting process, and in 2012 they took full charge of North Carolina’s state government for the first time in a century. The party now enjoys a veto-proof “super-majority” in the General Assembly, which means they can basically pass whatever laws they want.

Unlike the pragmatic conservatives who have long dominated state politics, the Republicans now in charge are culture warriors. Their priorities ensured that Mr McCrory’s first year in office was contentious. The governor found himself passing laws to ban sharia (Islamic law), restrict abortion and introduce strict voter-identification rules, which are being challenged by the federal government.

The Economist makes the same (big) mistake that others have in evaluating the behavior of the Republican-led NCGA: they label the obvious (anti-abortion, VoterID) as a cultural attack, while implying that other acts like flattening the tax rate and cutting various programs are different, and maybe even admirable. But make no mistake, those actions are also part of the culture war, and arguably more devastating. There is no "moderate" side to the GOP machine in this state.

W/S Journal unloads on NC GOP's "immunity" claim

The people have a right to know:

This isn’t a question of legislative immunity. It’s a matter of open government.

These 13 legislators assume a dangerous power for themselves. In effect, they contend that they can change laws that go to our most cherished constitutional rights – in this case, the right to vote – and yet they can’t be questioned about it during a judicial hearing.

Such a system isn’t democratic. To the contrary, it smacks of a conceit and arrogance more associated with totalitarian states. The federal court must open those records so North Carolinians can see what the legislators are trying to hide.

I suspect closely behind that arrogance lurks fear, the fear their "intent" will be revealed. Republicans have been able to float the "showing an ID is only common sense" balloon successfully for quite some time. But when that balloon pops, and people realize this was all just another political move, and an unconstitutional move at that, no amount of gerrymandering will protect them from the wrath of voters.

A future history lesson on NC's voting rights struggle

It began with several generations of trickery:

Starting at the end of Reconstruction following the Civil War, North Carolina and other states used official and unofficial means to stop poor and black citizens from voting. North Carolina’s 1900 constitution required that voters pay a poll tax and be judged as literate by the local voter registrar, who could choose tough questions for some voters and easy questions – or none – for others. The constitution also included a grandfather clause that exempted from the poll tax those entitled to vote as of January 1, 1867. Between 1896 and 1904, nearly all black voters, including many thousands who had voted before, were removed from the voting rolls, and nearly all black officials were driven from office.

While this first assault on minority voting rights was eventually turned back in the 1960's, similar yet not so blatantly obvious methods were adopted shortly after the turn of the 21st Century, by the now moribund Republican Party (see footnotes) which rose to power under questionable circumstances, likely due in part to the Great Recession which plagued much of the world during this era:

DAG McCrory's spin machine latches onto a new word

"Compacting" is no longer synonymous with "shortening":

After dismissing criticisms of a new voter-ID law – he described the policy as “common sense,” despite the fact that it undermines voting and solves a problem that doesn’t exist – the Republican governor bristled in response to a question about early voting.

“We didn’t shorten early voting, we compacted the calendar,” McCrory said. He added, “It’s just the schedule has changed.”

Spoken like a true double-speaking bureaucrat. Once again, McCrory's PR team is trying to be clever, but they're just making their figurehead Governor seem even more of a lying sack of fertilizer.

Republican attack on Montravias King explodes in their face

That's "Councilman" Montravias King, I should say:

Montravias King, who overcame a challenge to his right to be on the ballot, has handily won election to the Elizabeth City Council.

Unofficial results from Pasquotank County show King winning the 4th Ward councilman’s race with 585 votes. He was the top vote getter in a field of seven.

While it's possible that without the controversy of trying to strong-arm Montravias out of the election, he might still have won, GOP efforts to silence his voice garnered the young man a lot of exposure and sympathy. And it also revealed the darker side of some local Republicans, and that revelation may be hard to shake going down the road. Congratulations, Councilman!

NC Vote Defenders stand against suppression and intimidation

Via e-mail from Director Bryan Perlmutter:

Enthusiastic students from Elizabeth City State University held a march from campus to the early voting site last Thursday, September 19 – the first of early voting. Eager to take advantage of Same Day Registration, the students brought documents and identification. However, the all-white poll workers
(Elizabeth City is less than 40% white) immediately acted hostile towards the students. Outside, campaigners for the white mayoral candidate proceeded to tell students that they should not be allowed to vote.

It's looking more and more like the (US) Justice Department is going to need to intervene in certain areas of North Carolina, just like they had to do a half-century ago. Until then, responsible citizens need to look out for those on the sharp end of the discriminatory stick. Here's the release in its entirety:

The anatomy of a voter suppression omnibus

Gives new meaning to the phrase "battleground state":

There are going to be a lot more poll-watchers in North Carolina next election. Under earlier laws, Election Day poll monitors had to be residents of the precincts they were observing. Section 11.1 of the bill allows each party to appoint an additional 10 poll watchers who live in the same county as the precinct they’re observing.

Similarly, any challenges to a voter or a ballot can now be made by a wider segment of the population. Previously, voters could only challenge other votes cast within their own precinct. Section 20.2 allows a registered voter to challenge a ballot cast within his or her home county, not just his or her own precinct. And any citizen registered to vote in North Carolina can challenge another voter’s registration, regardless of which county either voter lives in, under Section 20.1.

I've seen many on the left put forward the idea that we should all vote absentee, but I believe that would be a mistake. Those polling places belong to all of us, and I'm not about to surrender any ground to right-wing vigilantes who believe they have the justification for challenging another's right to vote. If I see it happening, if I witness a neo-brownshirt going after someone who had the audacity to exercise their Constitutional right and took the time to take part in the Democratic process, it's gonna get ugly.

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