Daily dose

Friday News: Culpability

AFTER BEING WARNED ABOUT FRAUD, MARK HARRIS HIRED DOWLESS ANYWAY: North Carolina congressional candidate Mark Harris, a Republican from Charlotte, directed the hiring of a campaign aide now at the center of an election-fraud investigation, according to three individuals familiar with the campaign, despite warnings that the operative may have used questionable tactics to deliver votes. Harris sought out the operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, after losing a 2016 election in which Dowless had helped one of Harris’s opponents win an overwhelming share of the mail-in vote in a key county. State and local investigators say that whether Harris knew that his campaign may have engaged in improper tactics has become a focus of the expanding probes into whether election irregularities affected the 9th District election, in which Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article223088305.html

Thursday News: Strike?

LETTERS TO PARENTS DETAIL REFUSAL TO GRADE PAPERS OVER SILENT SAM PLAN: More than 200 UNC-Chapel Hill faculty members have signed an open letter to students’ parents and guardians, asking them to support striking graduate student instructors and the permanent removal of the Silent Sam Confederate statue from campus. “Please contact university leaders, including Chancellor Carol Folt, Provost Bob Blouin, and Chairman of the Board Haywood Cochrane Jr. to make your views known and request that Silent Sam and other Confederate statues not be allowed on our campus,” said the letter, issued just days before the UNC system Board of Governors could decide the statue’s fate. As far as the proposed strike, the university so far has not “received any specific reports of grades not being submitted or observed any irregular activity,” UNC spokeswoman Joanne Peters Denny said Wednesday.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article222954565.html

Wednesday News: Swing and a miss

LEWIS EFFORT TO HAVE NEW PRIMARY IN NC09 FINDS LITTLE SUPPORT: A proposal for a new primary in the 9th Congressional District was stripped from an elections bill Tuesday after the sponsor said he could not get enough legislators to go along. Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican, wanted a new primary if the State Board of Elections orders a new election in the 9th District. “All indications are that the same activity that is alleged to have occurred concerning absentee ballots appeared to have also occurred in the primary,” Lewis said Tuesday afternoon. “Voters will have the opportunity to start over by selecting a new candidate if they so choose.” The primary was not in the proposal the House will vote on Wednesday. Lewis said he couldn’t get enough legislators negotiating the bill to sign off on the idea. The state elections board has been been investigating allegations of fraud over the mail-in absentee ballots in the November general election.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article222929380.html

Tuesday News: A big, stinking mess

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BLADEN COUNTY COUNTED EARLY VOTES BEFORE ELECTION DAY, LEAKED RESULTS: Bladen County election workers tallied the results of early voting before Election Day in violation of state rules and are accused of allowing outsiders to view them, a precinct worker wrote in an affidavit released by state Democrats. The allegations raise new questions about missteps in an election fraud case in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District race that has garnered national attention and held up certification of the U.S. House contest. The report showing totals from Bladen County’s only early voting location was run on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 from 1:44 p.m. to 1:46 p.m., according to a copy released by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, which is investigating voting irregularities among mail-in absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties. Under North Carolina election law, “if one-stop ballots ... are counted electronically, that count shall commence at the time the polls close.” Polls closed in North Carolina on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article222898975.html

Monday News: Snowmageddon

WINTER STORM LEAVES NC ROADS TREACHEROUS FOR DAYS TO COME: "There could be an additional inch of snow, and this is toward [Monday] morning as an upper-level system that is to our north and west moves in, " Maze said. "There could be some light icing." The Triangle has a 55 percent chance of getting more than an inch, he said, and the probability drops to about 25 percent in Fayetteville. The system should clear out of the Triangle by Monday afternoon, but precipitation could linger to the southeast into the evening, Maze said. The greater threat for black ice comes Tuesday, Wednesday and even Thursday morning, when temperatures are forecast to be in the 20s, he said. "We're concerned about that hard freeze come Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, because you know there will still be a lot of moisture left on the roads," he said.
https://www.wral.com/temps-rise-above-freezing-but-refreezing-on-roads-remains-a-concern/18053181/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC SHOWS TRUMP GETS IT ALL WRONG ON VOTER FRAUD: Midterm election update from the Department of Irony: Republicans have been warning us about the danger of voter fraud for ages. And now it does appear that a major congressional race was impacted by that very type of evil-doing. Feel free to chortle/snort/howl at the moon when I tell you the accused fraudsters are Republicans. The fictional version of voter fraud involves sinister characters — possibly illegal immigrants! — showing up at the polls repeatedly, perhaps disguising their nefarious intent by wearing different hats or an occasional false mustache. “In many places, like California, the same person votes many times ... Millions and millions of people,” said Donald Trump. He’s been running on this theme since he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. We will not even bother to envision what Election Day would look like if millions and millions of extra voters were standing in line.
https://www.wral.com/trump-gets-it-all-wrong/18043132/

Saturday News: No Sam is also an option

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STUDENTS INTERRUPT MEETING ON DISPOSITION OF CONFEDERATE STATUE: During Friday's meeting, student protesters briefly interrupted and members of the faculty council stood in solidarity. Their message was straightforward - Silent Sam should not be resurrected on campus. "Our safety means this statue does not belong on campus. We don't want it anywhere on campus," said Angum Check, a senior at UNC. Check said the physical and mental health of students is at stake if the statue stays. "I'm tired of her (Folt) trying to please everyone," said Check. "She can't please everyone. She needs to pick a side and she needs to stand firm in that side that she picks." Students in opposition of Silent Sam have also encouraged teaching assistants to join a strike, in which TAs and instructors have threatened not to grade some assignments and withhold grades. The UNC Board of Governors is expected to review the Silent Sam proposal at its Dec. 14 meeting. It's unclear whether they would have the final word, or whether the North Carolina Historical Commission would have to sign off as well.
https://www.wral.com/-we-don-t-want-it-silent-sam-discussion-briefly-interrupted-by-student-proteste...

Friday News: Pocketful of excuses

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PITTENGER COMPLAINED OF "BALLOT STUFFING," WOODHOUSE IGNORED HIM: The executive director of North Carolina’s Republican Party on Thursday defended GOP candidate Mark Harris as an “innocent victim” and downplayed a report that incumbent Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger’s campaign alerted the party to voting irregularities in Harris’ primary upset in May. Pittenger recognized something right away as results came in on Election Night, mentioning a “ballot stuffer,” according to one person in the room that night. The Washington Post reported Thursday that several Pittenger aides contacted NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse and someone from the National Republican Congressional Committee. ‘It’s likely that they said something. What could we have done?” Woodhouse told The News & Observer. “It’s not an excuse, but the reality is we hear from a lot of people during primary election campaigns. But we can’t take a role in them.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article222751275.html

Thursday News: Another non-solution

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REPUBLICAN ANSWER TO ABSENTEE BALLOT CRISIS: MORE VOTER IDS: Embarrassed by the election fraud investigation making national news, the state House added to its voter ID bill a goal for people who request absentee ballots to include some form of identification. “This situation we’re all reading about is an embarrassment and an impediment to the integrity of our entire election system,” said Rep. David Lewis, the Harnett County Republican shepherding the voter ID bill through the House. The State Board of Elections would be responsible for writing the rule for absentee ballot IDs under the provision added to the bill Wednesday. An investigation into election fraud in Bladen and Robeson counties that centered on absentee mail-in ballots has delayed the certification of Republican Mark Harris’ election in the 9th Congressional District. House Republicans, as recently as this summer, had rejected proposals to require IDs from people who vote by mail.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article222656870.html

Wednesday News: Rebel without a clue

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UNC BOG MEMBER THOM GOOLSBY CALLS TRUSTEES "COWARDS" OVER SILENT SAM DECISION: The proposal to return the Silent Sam Confederate monument to a new $5.3 million building at UNC-Chapel Hill is “sheer cowardice,” a member of the UNC system’s governing board said. Thom Goolsby, a lawyer from Wilmington and former Republican legislator, released a video on YouTube on Tuesday, sharply critical of the Chapel Hill campus Board of Trustees’ proposal to construct a university history and education center to house the controversial statue. “Neither the right nor the left is happy,” Goolsby said in the video. “If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to anyone.” The 2015 state law on the protection of historic monuments requires that the statue should have been put back in its original position, Goolsby said, within 90 days of “the outside radicals tearing it down.” He asked viewers of the video to call their state legislators to demand that they contact the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees to insist that the law be followed.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article222628220.html

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