NC REPUBLICAN ELECTION OFFICIAL RESIGNS AFTER LOONY FACEBOOK RANT: Cornelia Cree, a Republican member of the Haywood County Board of Elections, submitted her resignation late Tuesday at the urging of GOP party leaders. A vote to remove her from office was on the Wednesday agenda for the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, but the item was removed shortly before the meeting. In Cree's Facebook post, dated Sept. 18 but deleted Wednesday, she asserted that Democrats are seeking "the legalization of pedophilia" to protect the Catholic Church and that "Democrats push open borders because the largest group of illegals are Catholic which statistically vote Democrat." In addition to being offensive to several groups of people, the post is also illegal under state law, which governs elections officials' public conduct.
DEMOCRATS LEAD IN ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUESTS: Democrats in North Carolina have asked for absentee ballots far more often than registered Republicans, a change from the last midterm elections in 2014. Registered Democrats made 45 percent of absentee ballot requests as of Tuesday, according to data gathered by Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer. He has been keeping a running daily total of absentee ballot requests, and has been posting the information on Twitter. The burst of absentee ballot requests from Democrats marks a change from past elections, where Republicans have traditionally held an edge in mail-in voting. Absentee ballot requests from Republicans have accounted for 24 percent of the total so far. Republican voters are being outpaced by unaffiliated voters, who account for 31 percent of the requests.
BIG SURPRISE, VOTERS ARE CONFUSED BY INTENTIONALLY CONFUSING AMENDMENTS: Among the state lawmakers, county commissioners and sheriffs on this fall's ballot, North Carolina voters will be asked whether to amend the state constitution up to six times. The six proposed amendments are the most on a single ballot since the 1970s, according to elections officials. "A lot of people," said Diana Powell, a community activist working the polls Wednesday on the first day of early voting, "they don't even understand what these amendments are about." Powell's sense is correct, according to a recent poll by Meredith College. "Most North Carolinians are unfamiliar with the content of all six amendments," said David McLennan, a political science professor at Meredith and director of the poll. McLennan said some will likely pass because they deal with popular issues, such as voter ID, victims' rights and limiting taxes. But he said he's not sure voters really understand how each one would work or what consequences they might have.
TRUMP'S HATRED OF JOURNALISTS ON DISPLAY AS HE PRAISES POLITICIAN WHO "BODY SLAMMED" REPORTER: At a campaign rally in Missoula Thursday, Trump lauded Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for an attack on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. The attack came a day before Gianforte won a 2017 special election to serve the remaining 18 months in the House term vacated by now-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. "Any guy that can do a body slam — he's my kind of guy," Trump said to cheers and laughter from the crowd. "He's a great guy, tough cookie." His remarks praising Gianforte come amid an international furor over the apparent assassination of a Washington Post columnist, who, according to an account in Turkey's Yeni Safak newspaper, allegedly had his fingers cut off and was decapitated inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.
BREXIT STILL HASN'T BEEN CONCLUDED, THERESA MAY CATCHING HEAT FROM BOTH SIDES: British Prime Minister Theresa May will head home from an inconclusive European Union summit on Brexit to a barrage of criticism that her 27 EU counterparts spared her during the two-day event that ended Thursday. In Brussels, May said she would consider a longer transition period, one that could keep Britain aligned to EU rules and obligations for over two years after its March departure. Pro-Brexit politicians in the U.K. saw it as an attempt to bind the country to the bloc indefinitely. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis and other from May’s party warned the prime minister not to “engage in a show of resistance and a choreographed argument followed by surrender” to the EU. Pro-EU politicians, meanwhile, said the transition period proposal was another sign of May’s weak bargaining hand and an attempt to stall for time. Another former Conservative minister, Nick Boles, warned that May was “losing the confidence now of colleagues of all shades of opinion”.