Daily dose

Thursday News: Affidavit is out


JUDGE RULES VOTERS CANNOT ATTEST TO BALLOT WITNESS, MUST CAST ANOTHER VOTE: Those changes, outlined in a Sept. 22 memo from the state board to county elections directors and confirmed again Monday in an email from the state board's attorney to county boards, were represented as being responsive to changes required by U.S. District Judge William Osteen's ruling in a lawsuit brought by Democracy North Carolina. Osteen pushed back on that representation Wednesday, however, taking sharp exception to the board's changes on witness requirements for absentee ballots. "Nothing about this court’s preliminary injunction order can or should be construed as finding that the failure of a witness to sign the application and certificate as a witness is a deficiency which may be cured with a certification after the ballot has been returned," Osteen wrote in his order Wednesday.

Wednesday News: Unfit to lead

IN DEBATE, TRUMP INTERRUPTS SO MANY TIMES BIDEN TELLS HIM TO "SHUT UP": In the most tumultuous presidential debate in recent memory, Trump refused to condemn white supremacists who have supported him, telling one such group known as Proud Boys to “stand back, stand by.” There were also heated clashes over the president's handling of the pandemic, the integrity of the election results, deeply personal attacks about Biden's family and how the Supreme Court will shape the future of the nation’s health care. But it was the belligerent tone that was persistent, somehow fitting for what has been an extraordinarily ugly campaign. The two men frequently talked over each other with Trump interrupting, nearly shouting, so often that Biden eventually snapped at him, “Will you shut up, man?”

Tuesday News: No-plan Dan


FOREST REFUSES TO ANSWER WRAL'S CAMPAIGN QUESTIONNAIRE: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest refused this week to answer questions for a routine WRAL News online voters guide, with his gubernatorial campaign saying the questions "don't reflect reality." Among the questions: "If elected, what are your top 3 priorities?" Other questions dealt with the state's coronavirus response, school funding, Medicaid expansion and systemic racism. WRAL publishes a voters guide most election seasons, and the question-and-answer portion of this year's guide is set to go live Thursday. Forest's campaign got the same questions as Gov. Roy Cooper's, and those questions also went out to candidates for lieutenant governor and to candidates in General Assembly races. Similar questions went out to candidates in other Council of State races. Forest's campaign was the only one to complain about the questions.

Monday News: Three thousand, four hundred forty one


CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC RAGES ON IN NORTH CAROLINA: At least 207,380 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 3,441 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 1,290 new COVID-19 cases, down from 1,759 the day before. The state began counting antigen test results, which backdate to May 20, last week. Positive results from the tests account for 2% of detected cases in North Carolina. About 5.1% of tests were reported positive on Sunday, nearly in line with health officials’ goal of 5% or lower and up from 4.5% on Saturday. At least 917 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, up from 914 on Saturday, with 92% of hospitals reporting.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


THE TIME FOR POLITE DIALOGUE WITH THE POLITICAL RIGHT IS OVER: North Carolina’s Thom Tillis was typical when he stated, “The campaign is already underway. It is essential to the institution of the Senate and to the very health of our republic to not launch our nation into a partisan, divisive confirmation battle during the very same time the American people are casting their ballots to elect our next president.” Today — surprise! — they’re singing a radically different tune. The same men and women who blocked the Garland nomination are now ready to proceed with an absurdly rapid confirmation process for a Trump nominee — perhaps even in a post-election, lame duck session after Trump has lost the election. Meanwhile, as Tillis, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators pursue their unabashed perfidy in the glare of Washington klieg lights, another branch of the modern conservative movement has been toiling under the radar, pursuing similarly dishonest, if less-well-publicized work. This fact was on display last week with the remarkable revelation that a right-wing operative with ties to the national conservative establishment had tried to infiltrate multiple good government groups in North Carolina. What’s more, the tactic “Fortune” employed — attempting to deceptively ingratiate himself through the offering of financial contributions — is similar to that often used by Project Veritas, a notorious right-wing operation that has long used dishonest tactics in an effort to infiltrate progressive organizations and Democratic campaigns in hopes of catching them in (or prodding them into) some sort of unlawful activity. If there’s any fire left in the belly of the progressive movement, these incidents will serve as a final wake-up call — a last clear signal that the time for polite and civilized dialogue with the right has become all but impossible. Simply put: Now is the time for caring and thinking people to fight like hell to save our country from those who would lie, cheat and steal their way to power.

Saturday News: No surprise, at all


REPUBLICAN ELECTION BOARD MEMBERS WERE PRESSURED INTO RESIGNING: Those resignations, of board members Ken Raymond and David Black, came in the wake of several highly critical press releases from the state’s top Republican politicians. A party spokesman confirmed to The News & Observer that they also came after a phone call with the top lawyer for the state Republican Party to convey that the NC GOP was “very unhappy.” “They called and spoke with our counsel,” said Tim Wigginton, the N.C. Republican Party’s spokesman, referring to Chief Counsel Philip Thomas. “And afterward they put out their resignation letters.” On Facebook, Black’s wife wrote that his resignation was “not voluntary.” Deb Black’s Facebook comment read: “The GOP chairman neglected to mention that these resignations were not voluntary. They were told to resign. Sad times when republicans are firing intelligent and trustworthy republicans.”

Friday News: Daytime Emmy Awards

REPUBLICANS ARE APPARENTLY OUTRAGED OVER ELECTION SETTLEMENT: President Donald Trump's campaign and national Republican groups are trying to intervene in a North Carolina voting lawsuit after state GOP leaders denounced a proposed settlement. Republicans are accusing the Democratic-led State Board of Elections of colluding with national Democratic-affiliated groups to loosen the state's absentee voting rules, threatening election security. "They are suing to move Election Day even further out so they can harvest ballots after the polls close to steal the election for Joe Biden," Trump deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said in a statement. "The judge on this case has a choice to make: Side with collusion and rig this election, or uphold the rule of law and protect every North Carolinian’s right to vote." Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest fired off a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday, asking for a federal investigation into "the collusive attack on the integrity of North Carolina's elections."

Thursday News: Saving face?


REPUBLICAN MEMBERS RESIGN FROM NC BOARD OF ELECTIONS: The two Republican members of the North Carolina State Board of Elections resigned Wednesday night, citing their concerns over a legal settlement that addresses several voting issues. David Black and Ken Raymond’s resignations come 41 days before the Nov. 3 general election. There are five members on the board. The remaining three members are Democrats. All members, including Black and Raymond, had agreed to the proposed settlement. The settlement, if approved by a judge, would create new rules to make it easier for people to fix mistakes on their mail-in ballots. It also would extend the amount of time after the election that absentee ballots could come in and still be counted.

Wednesday News: Debate season


CUNNINGHAM SAYS TILLIS IS WRITING "BLANK CHECK" FOR TRUMP ON COURT SEAT: President Donald Trump has said he plans to nominate a woman to fill the vacancy created by Friday’s death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Tillis, a Republican seeking re-election, said he would support Trump’s nominee and wants to fill the seat before the Nov. 3 election. “There is an important role for a United States senator as a check and balance on the president of the United States,” Cunningham said. “Rather than act as a check and balance, Senator Tillis has written a blank check to the president. He has forfeited his right to independence of judgment here on behalf of the people of our state. And that’s wrong. That’s something I would never do.”

Tuesday News: Outclassed

COOPER SPANKS FOREST OVER VOUCHERS IN ONLINE EDUCATION FORUM: “I think Lt. Gov. Forest really has one goal for our public schools: starve them for funding and then use those tax dollars to help rich people send their kids to private schools using vouchers,” Cooper said. He was referring to Forest’s support for the Republican-led legislature’s opportunity scholarships program, which provides families with vouchers for private school. “School vouchers are wrong. They hurt our public schools. I think he’s satisfied with teacher pay and per pupil funding and he’ll rubber stamp anything that the legislative leadership tells him to do or say,” Cooper said. Cooper also brought up one of the policies he is known for pushing — Medicaid expansion — which, along with the amount of teacher raises, was at the center of the 2019 state budget fight.


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