Maintain and expand access to early voting in Orange County

I've been a strong advocate for early voting locations and hours in Orange County that provide adequate access for all Orange County residents in my time as a student and council member in Chapel Hill. I'm sharing below my open letter to the Board of Elections as they make decisions this week about early voting locations for this fall. Interested in making your voice heard about early voting? They'll be meeting tomorrow (July 21st) at the Board of Elections in Hillsborough at noon to determine early voting hours and locations for this fall.

McCrory wants Medicaid expansion to require job search

Which (of course) is in violation of Federal regulations:

“[Federal officials] have been giving a lot of flexibility around a lot of aspects of Medicaid expansion waivers, but requiring job search is not allowed,” Silberman said. “The position is that Medicaid is a health insurance program, not a work program.”

Even so, the stipulation may be largely beside the point, according to recent numbers crunched by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. The report found that almost two-thirds of the people who fall into the gap work already.

Once again, the facts run counter to the GOP's rhetoric and preconceived notions of how people become and stay poor. In the mind of somebody like McCrory, who hasn't done an honest day's work since he climbed down from the utility pole, a little bit of effort and voilà! You're safely ensconced in the middle class where people get all the shots they need to keep them healthy. He probably views forcing someone to search for a job as preventative medicine, approved by 4 out of 5 doctors.

Daily dose: We won't be stifled

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Black votes matter: N.C. electors who say new law is unfair (The Guardian) -- When Sandra Beatty goes somewhere and does something, it’s because she really wants to – five years after losing her vision and both her feet to diabetes, any errand is an ordeal. So when on 31 October, with the help of her 31-year-old daughter, she got out of her first-floor apartment, and climbed into the passenger seat of her friend’s Chevrolet Tahoe, it was because she planned to do one of what she considers her most important tasks: going to vote. It was not until weeks later that she learned her ballot had been thrown out. Beatty ‘s statement in May was one of several testimonies included in a lawsuit with national voting rights implications, brought by several voting rights groups and the federal Justice Department against North Carolina’s governor and electoral officials.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/19/black-votes-matter-north-carolina-voting-law

Rich people explaining why wages aren't rising

An interesting story in The Asheville Citizen-Times about why wages in the NC Mountains aren't increasing.

The main quotes come from the chief economist at an Asheville consulting company, the chief economist at an Asheville wealth management advising firm, and the CFO of a local development firm. Basically, they say that the goods and services that mountain workers produce just aren't very valuable.

Chalk another one up for We the People

Hi, James.

Thanks for your reporting on voter suppression efforts all across the state and for your help here on our battles in Watauga!

_______________________________

‘Twas the night before local elections board appointments all over the state, and the State Board of Elections had no intention whatsoever of appointing Voting Rights Advocate Stella Anderson to the Watauga County Board of Elections.

The structural dynamics of voter suppression

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Costs come in many forms:

The likely effects of SL 2013-381 may be understood using the “calculus of voting.” The “calculus of voting” is the dominant theoretical framework used by scholars to study voter turnout. Dating back at least to Anthony Downs’s seminal 1957 book, An Economic Theory of Democracy, researchers typically view the likelihood of voting as a formula. A person votes if the probability of one’s vote determining the outcome multiplied by the net psychological benefit of seeing one’s preferred candidate win is greater than the “costs” of voting. These costs include the effort needed to become informed about the candidates and issues. But they also include the time, resources, and activity needed to overcome the administrative requirements and other barriers to registering to vote and successfully casting a ballot.3 These are costs controlled by the state administering the vote.

These are extracts from a study presented by the plaintiffs in the voting rights case currently being adjudicated, which provides an eye-opening foray into human behavior patterns. And it shows that Republicans seeking to entrench their political control over North Carolina may be more adept in the social sciences than we previously thought:

Ellmers exposes her ignorance of Iran nuclear deal

Spouting the fear-mongering party line:

It sounds like this is a deal that Iran ran away with,” Ellmers said. “It looks like we will be funding Iran’s nuclear arsenal. This is not a deal at all.”

“We just have to stay on top of this,” she said. “There is too much to lose. We have to be strong. This is weak. … I am not sure what America gets out of this deal. It is not good for America. We need to go back to the drawing board.”

Bolding mine. With other folks, these word choices might be written off to "turn of phrase" or what have you. But in Ellmers' case, it's a good bet they're accurate. It "sounds like" the deal is bad because she's only going by what she's heard, whether from Boehner/Netanyahu or Faux news, or both. In reality, "what we get" is, among other things, the holy grail in the Iran Nuke problem, control over the enrichment of uranium and a severe reduction of Iran's stockpiles:

Daily dose: NC Klan invades SC edition

N.C. KKK and New Black Panther Party Protest at S.C. Capitol (New York Times) -- Members of the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party appeared at dueling rallies, eight days after officials removed the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/us/ku-klux-klanprotests-at-south-carolina-capitol.html

N.C. KKK-led rally at S.C. Statehouse met by counter-protesters (LA Times) -- A rally led by the Ku Klux Klan to protest the removal of the Confederate battle flag was staged Saturday outside the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, where it was met with a counter-protest by African American activists.
http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-south-carolina-protest-20150718-story.html

NC Business Really Likes Sustainable Energy

Another NC business weighs in, warning NCGA not to make changes in sustainable energy standards.

SAS Institute Inc. has become the latest high-profile company to weigh in on the ongoing debate in the General Assembly over whether to change the state’s renewable energy policies.
In a letter sent to all state lawmakers Wednesday, the Cary-based business analytics software company warned lawmakers that changing the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard could hurt the development of clean energy in North Carolina.

“Technology companies value North Carolina’s existing energy policies, which enable us to operate and grow our businesses in a sustainable manner,” the company says.

http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2015/07/16/sas-nc-renewable-energy-portfolio-standard-reps....

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