Art Pope and the disenfranchisement of young black voters

Another historically black college loses its voting site:

We’re disappointed in the poor reasoning behind eliminating Anderson Center at Winston-Salem State University as an early voting site. We hope the state elections board will overturn the heavy-handed decision to eliminate it.

The Forsyth County Board of Elections was split over including the site for the March 15 primary election during its meeting last week, the Journal’s Wesley Young reported. The two Republicans on the board, Chairman Ken Raymond and Stuart Russell, were against the inclusion, while Fleming El-Amin, the Democrat on the board, pushed for its inclusion.

Don't hold your breath. The state board doesn't make a habit of overturning these decisions, no matter how nonsensical or nakedly partisan they are. Especially considering the Pope of Discount Village is likely watching closely to make sure his wishes are fulfilled:

On Tuesday night, the Forsyth County Board of Elections voted along partisan lines to request that Board of Elections Director, Rob Coffman, be dismissed. A letter requesting the same was sent to the State Board of Elections, signed by the two GOP members of Forsyth County Board of Elections, Secretary Stuart Russell and Chairman Ken Raymond. These men, acting on behalf of Republican sugar-daddy Art Pope’s Civitas Institute and the Forsyth County Republican Party, are calling for the removal of Coffman due to what they claim is dismissive behavior and a disrespectful, sarcastic attitude toward them and their nakedly partisan agenda.

So just why is it that Art Pope’s Civitas Institute and a local partisan hack want to see Coffman removed? Coffman is not exactly a “liberal” partisan. He doesn’t fit the profile. He lives in the burbs, he is a father of four children who are home-schooled, and he attends church regularly. Perhaps it is because they are trying to re-institute Jim Crow-era voter suppression tactics such as having law enforcement inside of polling places, or their other efforts to make it logistically harder for African Americans, the elderly, people with disabilities, and the poor to vote. Maybe it is because they keep getting blocked by reality and that very same Director of the Board of Elections. Unable to adjust reality, Raymond, Russell and Civitas have targeted Coffman, attempting to create a tempest in a teapot over a single vote in a tiny village election and outlining a cherry-picked list of complaints in an effort to fire the County employee keeping them in check. In a nutshell, Raymond and Russell, the Forsyth County Republican Party, and Art Pope’s Civitas Institute feel personally slighted by Coffman, and now they are going after him.

Civitas is clearly a partisan political operation funded primarily by one very rich man and tasked with promoting his far right-wing agenda. The idea that somehow this is a non-partisan organization without the interest of the Republican Party front and center is ridiculous. In fact, this is not the first time that Civitas has recently become involved in Winston-Salem- particularly as it applies to WSSU. Civitas seems to have an issue with WSSU and other historically black colleges. In July of 2013, Art Pope and his pals in Raleigh tried to inject themselves into WSSU and Winston-Salem’s business by attempting to help block the sale of Bowman Gray Stadium to WSSU. Now they are going after Coffman because he has pushed back against Ken Raymond’s incompetence and drive to remove WSSU’s polling site as well as place uniformed officers at polling places. In the Forsyth County Board of Elections meeting minutes for November 27th, 2013, Raymond presented the board with a photocopy of an article from the Civitas website entitled “Game Playing at the Forsyth Elections Board” – then requested that the board go into closed session to discuss Coffman’s status. Apparently what Civitas says is what Ken Raymond acts upon.

Bolding mine. This took place almost two years ago, and it appears Pope and his puppets are seeing the fruits of their labor "ripen" in this target area. And it also looks like the Winston-Salem Journal is still afraid to mention any connections between the actions of this board and Art Pope or Civitas, so the meddling will likely continue going forward.

Just a side observation: Prior to Art Pope's stint as a budget director for McCrory, JLF and Civitas operated mostly as an analysis (propaganda) machine, collecting and promoting policy positions based on (at best) cherry-picked statistics and subsidized research. But they have morphed into something much more aggressive these days, from filing lawsuits to stop wind projects to actively suppressing voters through their meddling in boards of elections. But you know what? There's one sure way to fix this boards of elections problem. Replace McCrory with a Democratic Governor, and Civitas can go wipe their butts with whatever strained logic they've scribbled onto those position papers.



Art Pope

Not the man who would be king. The man who is king.
Too bad we're not back in 18th century France.

Oh wait.