Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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WHAT IF EVERYONE VOTED? As a result, voters’ experiences in the same national election will vary significantly by state, to a greater degree than has been true in decades. Underlying that reality is an increasingly partisan split over whether it should be a goal at all in the United States to get more people to vote. Many political scientists say that policies that make voting easier would also make American democracy more representative and less likely to favor the interests of wealthier, older and white voters who typically turn out at higher rates. Broader participation, proponents say, could ease polarization, lift faith in government and dampen criticism that politicians representing the views of a minority of Americans wield the majority of power in Washington. “Equalizing turnout across the population would be the single best thing we could do for our democracy and probably for our country in the near term,” said Adam Bonica, a political scientist at Stanford.
https://www.wral.com/what-if-everyone-voted-/17953734/

Open thread: 2018 early voting blows the doors off previous mid-terms

Saturday News: The party of fearmongering

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NC REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES PLAY THE CARAVAN CARD AGAINST DEMOCRATS: The ads feature darkened, threatening images of immigrant caravans, dark-skinned people throwing rocks, crowds rioting. Some are federal ads, broadcast and tweeted by everyone from President Donald Trump to congressional candidates. But others are Republican ads in state races, from the North Carolina Supreme Court to the state Senate and House – offices that have no control over federal immigration policy. Steven Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University, said the candidates and outside groups airing the ads are betting voters don't know the difference. Other ads for state candidates label opponents as "dangerous" and "extremist." One by a national political action committee claims a vote for any Democrat is a vote for socialism and chaos.
https://www.wral.com/immigration-not-part-of-official-duties-that-s-not-stopping-candidates-from-run...

GOP darling Gerry Mander gets another kick in the pants

3-judge panel rules 4 Wake County House districts unconstitutional:

The ruling won't change the lines for Tuesday's legislative elections, but the panel said the General Assembly must redraw the districts no later than the end of its next regular session or July 1 of next year, whichever comes first. The districts involved are House District 36, currently held by Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake; House District 37, held by Rep. John Adcock, R-Wake; House District 40, held by Rep. Joe John, D-Wake; and House District 41, held by Rep. Gale Adcock.

N.C. House Elections and Ethics Law Chairman David Lewis, R-Harnett, said leadership will review the ruling over the next few weeks and decide its next step. "Obviously I disagree with the Decision and believe it will create voter uncertainty and confusion," Lewis said in a statement.

Oh, that's rich. Drawing unconstitutional districts is not the danger, it's fixing the problem we should be afraid of. If you look the word "Hubris" up in the dictionary, there a picture of David Lewis over in the margin.

Former GOP County Chair accuses Senator Michael Lee of "influence peddling"

Sometimes swinging your weight around makes you fall over:

The complaint was filed by William R. Shell and Terry Reilly, both of whom spoke during public hearings for The Avenue development on Military Cutoff Road. Sent to the North Carolina State Ethics Commission, the complaint alleges, in short, that Lee uses his position as a state senator to implicitly pressure New Hanover County and Wilmington boards when he appears before them in his private role an attorney for developers.

“There is nothing illegal about lawyers who are members of the General Assembly representing private clients,” the complaint reads. “However, the problem here is that Lee is representing those clients before local governmental boards and commissions which are dependent upon the North Carolina General Assembly for things they wish to have done and funding and frankly, for even their existence … the members of the governing boards of counties and cities cannot afford to cross a local senator.”

If you don't think local government officials worry about getting on the "wrong side" of General Assembly members, especially those in the NC Senate, think again. Not only because of grants and earmarks that municipalities are desperate for, but there's always the aura of the stick, as well. And with our weird "local bill" rules that preclude a Gubernatorial Veto, if you piss off the wrong person, all of a sudden your zoning and taxing authority evaporates. This is most definitely a conflict of interest, and I am not (one tiny bit) surprised that Tom Fetzer is right up in the middle of it:

Friday News: The stench of desperation

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NC GOP'S "VOTER SHAMING" MAILERS GET UNDER THE SKIN OF SOME OF THEIR BASE: "In North Carolina, your personal voting history is a public record anyone can look up on the internet," the mailer says. "The chart below shows your voting record and the voting record of some of your neighbors." This did not sit well with Kelly Ducker, who got a mailer listing her husband and four neighbors, plus whether they voted in elections going back the last six years. Zachary Ducker wasn't even registered to vote in North Carolina during the years the card said he didn't vote. He was registered in Washington state. He voted there by absentee ballot because he was assigned to Fort Bragg and pulling three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Now, I don't even want to vote for my party," said Kelly Ducker who, like her husband, is a registered Republican living in Harnett County.
https://www.wral.com/nc-gop-sends-voter-shaming-cards/17962859/

Libertarian candidate drops out, endorses Republican opponent

And his state party is not very pleased with this decision:

Members of the Libertarian Party expressed disappointment after Ethan Bickley, a Libertarian candidate running for the District 9 seat in the North Carolina Senate, announced Wednesday he has decided to endorse the incumbent in the race, Sen. Michael Lee, a Republican seeking re-election to a third term representing most of New Hanover County.

Brent DeRidder, the vice chairman for North Carolina’s Libertarian Party, expressed his disappointment at Bickley’s decision. “We fight hard against the idea that we’re Republican-light or Conservative Democrats,” DeRidder said in an emailed news release. “Libertarians have a distinct ideology. It’s disappointing when any Libertarian endorses big government, but it’s particularly painful when it comes from a Libertarian candidate.”

Yeah, I'm not so sure about that "distinct" ideology. Every Libertarian I talk to seems to have a different idea of what the party stands for. They used to talk about open borders, but I haven't heard that in a while, probably because they know it won't play with Trumpites. They also used to talk about marijuana reform, but now that everybody else seems to be talking about it, it's not fun anymore because they're supposed to be "different." Back to Bickley, and a comment that got my conflict-of-interest antennae waving:

Thursday News: Voter suppression, by any other name

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REPUBLICAN LAW LEADS TO 17% FEWER EARLY VOTING SITES: When a last-minute measure to standardize the hours for early voting wound its way through the legislature during the final days of session earlier this year, opponents worried aloud that the move would be a heavier burden for cash-strapped counties. They were right, according to a detailed analysis of early voting locations conducted by WRAL News. As a result of the new law, the number of hours available statewide to vote early at one-stop locations nearly doubled from 2014. Total early voting hours increased in all but six counties: Henderson, Bladen, Stanly, Polk, McDowell and Halifax. But the total number of early locations dropped by about 17 percent statewide. In all, 43 counties lost at least one voting location. Two counties – Henderson and Buncombe – lost four. That matters, because political scientists say distance from a voting location can have at least a small effect on turnout.
https://www.wral.com/early-voting-changes-hit-nc-rural-voters-hardest-but-will-it-matter-in-2018-/17...

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