This is Our Selma: Why I March for Voting Rights

Two years ago, I became one of more than 1,000 people arrested for civil disobedience as part of the Moral Monday Movement.

I was protesting the extremist conservative majority in the NC General Assembly that was attacking everything that I love about North Carolina. They restricted access to abortion and contraception, attacked public education and the environment, raised taxes on low income people to give tax cuts to the wealthy, refused to expand Medicaid, reduced unemployment benefits, and passed the country’s worst-ever voter suppression bill (HB 589).

This month the legal case against the voter suppression bill finally went to court. And when the call went out to join the Mass Moral March for Voting Rights in Winston-Salem on July 13th to support the challenge to the bill, I knew I would go. Here’s why.

ALEC Whistles; NC Officials Show Up

You, too, can scroll through the agenda ALEC has set for its annual meeting late this week in San Diego.

At this web site you can wonder about such things as:

Who is 'exhibiting' and what are they showing??

Is ALEC really interested in 'consumer protection?' Or is the discussion on how to get rid of it?

VIVA trial resumes with a look at early voting

Peppered with more duplicitous arguments from the right:

Gronke said reducing early voting days would create long lines at the polls. He cited his research on early voting in the state of Florida. Florida cut six days of early voting before the 2012 election. The reduction left voters facing long lines and waiting up to 45 minutes to cast a ballot. The final 2012 ballot was cast in Florida at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, after the polls had officially closed.

In his cross-examination, Defense attorney Thomas Farr questioned Gronke's comparison of North Carolina and Florida. He asked Gronke if he had studied the size and parking facilities of North Carolina early voting centers.

A lame attempt to make the researcher appear to have overlooked something. If this were a moot court at a marginal law school, somebody would have been embarrassed by the instructor's scorn, and it wouldn't be the witness.

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:

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