NC GOP

Absentee ballot fraud in NC09 may do more damage than we thought

We might just win this race, but still lose the war on voters:

At this point, it is easy to take a victory lap and point out the hypocrisy of the voter fraud outrage machine, the members of the fraudulent fraud squad who proclaim voter fraud at every turn but ignore what’s going on in Bladen. Follow-up investigations have revealed many of the unsavory details of a history of potential problems in Bladen, history which Republican Party officials apparently ignored for at least a few elections.

There’s likely going to be a new election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, and Harris might even win again if there’s no way of connecting him directly to the election crimes. But the facts of Bladen will be elided into a general sense that elections can be “stolen” and that “voter fraud” remains a major problem.

Republicans have long since embraced the idea that Crisis = Opportunity (fun fact: The Chinese symbol for weiji does *not* actually translate to that, but the philosophical cat is out of the bag, so just roll with it). The GOP views any new development, even embarrassingly negative ones, as a chance to grab more power for themselves. And usually at the expense of others. It is also no comfort that North Carolina is not alone in these GOP voter suppression efforts:

$34,310 debt owed by Harris campaign for fraudulent ballots

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Buying a Congressional seat can be costly:

In a filing with the Federal Election Commission, Mr. Harris’s campaign listed an obligation of $34,310 for “reimbursement payment for Bladen absentee, early voting poll workers; reimbursement door to door.” The disclosure form said the campaign owed the money to Red Dome Group, the Charlotte-area consulting firm that Mr. Harris hired for his campaign.

Red Dome, in turn, contracted with L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a Bladen County political operative who has been accused of collecting absentee ballots from voters in a potentially illegal effort to tip the election toward the Republican nominee.

Which exposes an exceptionally nasty side to this story: A lot of those small donors, squeezing fifty bucks out of their family's budget in support of an evangelical pastor, only to have their money used to steal or stifle the votes of their fellow citizens. Of course they can't see that side, because there's a bible waving in their face. But I see it. And so does Nancy Pelosi:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Not likely to happen in our lifetimes:

Dallas doesn't know the meaning of the word "inappropriate."

Trump moves forward with seismic testing for offshore oil exploration

Because apparently "harassing" endangered whales is no big deal:

The Trump administration on Friday authorized use of seismic air guns to find oil and gas formations deep underneath the Atlantic Ocean floor, reversing Obama administration policies and drawing outrage from critics who say the practice can disturb or injure whales, sea turtles and other marine life. The surveys are part of President Donald Trump's bid to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic.

Administration officials said that under terms of the law that protects marine life, the permits would allow "harassment" of whales and sea turtles but would not allow companies to kill them.

As horrific as that sounds, it's actually an understatement. The ruling actually allows for "incidental" injury to sea life, as long as it's not "intentional." Think about that. By injecting "intent" into the formula, they could kill as many whales, dolphins, and turtles as it is necessary to get the readings they need, as long as they say, "Oops!" when they do it. And this "protection" is laughable:

Robeson County also under scrutiny in NC-09 race

And a pattern of fraud is emerging dealing with absentee ballots:

Steve Stone, chairman of the Robeson County Board of Elections, said state investigators have requested information the county board kept on an unusual number of absentee ballot requests. Stone said county elections officials began keeping logs of who dropped off large numbers of registration forms and absentee ballot requests, and they later reported their concerns to the state board in August.

Stone said county residents had reported that people were going door-to-door, telling voters that their registrations had been dropped and they needed to re-register. They were also asked to sign an absentee ballot request form, Stone said. At least five affidavits submitted to the state board described various instances of fraud, including multiple occasions when people came to voters’ doors to collect ballots and offered to fill them out for them.

I can't help but make the connection between an evangelical pastor and his devout followers breaking the law to get him elected. We usually associate these things with straight-up corruption, and blame money as the root cause. But I'm not so sure that's the case, here. As we've seen with the Word of Faith cult, breaking the law can be easily justified when religious beliefs are abused. Here are some serious irregularities as described by Gerry Cohen:

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