The structural dynamics of voter suppression


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:

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.

McCrory off on another RGA excursion

Adding to his collection of fancy little hotel soap bars:

Three Republican governors will break out their crystal balls Tuesday at The Aspen Institute as part of the McCloskey Speaker Series.

The governors will be discussing “their forward-looking solutions to the issues of health care, the economy, immigration and other areas that are pressing in their states,” says an event description.

If McCrory were forced to take sodium pentothal before going up on stage, he would probably say, "Well, in North Carolina we're hovering on a government shutdown, because instead of hashing out the annual Budget, Republicans in the Legislature have spent their time worrying about possums, protecting Confederate statues and disenfranchising thousands of voters that live in cities which prefer Democrats. Also, I'm pretty sure I shit my pants a little bit approximately twenty minutes ago, but I don't know if it's a stomach bug or that all-you-can-eat breakfast bar the hotel very graciously provides to hungry travelers like myself."

Another Step Towards School Privatization

Thanks to Lindsay Wagner at NC Policy Watch, I can call your attention to this news in education. Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) has gutted SB 95 and replaced it with language that will take low performing NC elementary schools, put them into a special Achievement School District (ASD) and turn them over to for-profit charter management companies. The plan is to start with the 5 lowest performing elementary schools, but if this is enacted, I fully expect to see it regularly expanded until all of North Carolina’s traditional public schools have been privatized.

Day 4: Stifling the youth and college vote

Long live the Intervenors:

The six plaintiffs, referred to in court documents as "the Duke Plaintiffs," are students attending various colleges in North Carolina. In November 2013 they filed a motion asking to join the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, The NAACP, the U.S. Department of Justice and other plaintiffs in their bid to overturn the law.

Go and read the whole thing, and Kelly's previous entries if you haven't already. The testimony so far has been very compelling, and regardless how the judge eventually rules, these narratives deserve to be chronicled.

Foley resigns from State Board of Elections

Apparently he can take a hint:

Paul J. Foley resigned early Thursday, less than a week after the Associated Press reported that for more than a year he regularly pressed staff at the agency for updates and details about the probe targeting his firm's longtime client. He eventually recused himself, but only after elections staff learned of nearly $1.3 million in payments from Chase Burns to the law firm where Foley is a partner.

Not only was Foley caught with his meddling hand in the investigation cookie jar, he very well may be playing a role in the current lawsuit in Winston-Salem, due to his involvement in suppressing the college vote in Watauga County. All that being said, I can't help but have some suspicions over the timing of his fall from grace. We were kept in the dark about this investigation into Foley until less than a week ago, and a few days after that the BoE presents its findings that nobody did anything wrong in the whole Chase Burns fiasco. The term "convenient" comes to mind, with the word "distraction" closely following on its heels.

Day 3: Poverty is already a big challenge to voting

More courtroom observations from Kelly Fetty:

The study, called the Family Life Project, had looked at the challenges facing poor families in three rural counties. In her previous testimony Dr. Vernon-Feagans outlined a number of problems faced by poor rural families, including lack of access to reliable transportation, telephone or Internet service.

Strach asked her if the problems she outlined could be the result of poor decisions made by the families studied. "We don't make judgements like that," she replied.

Keeping it classy, eh Phil? It's their own fault that they're not in an economic position to take the day off from work and cruise to the polling site in their Audi.

GOP rewrites local bill to defend Confederate statues

Your crossover dates and other rules mean nothing to us:

AN ACT to amend the procedures for Protecting Monuments, Memorials, plaques, and works of art on public property.

(b) Except as provided by subsection (c) of this section, no monument, memorial, plaque, or work of art commemorating events, veterans, or persons of North Carolina history on public property of the State or any of its political subdivisions, may be relocated, disturbed, altered, or defaced.
(d) A person who lives, owns property, or operates a business in the vicinity of any monument, memorial, plaque, or work of art as set forth in subsection (a) of this section shall be considered a person aggrieved by a violation of the provisions of this section for the purposes of G.S. 150B‑4.
(e) A person who willfully violates the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall be guilty of a Class l misdemeanor."

That's the earliest version of the Bill listed on the NCGA's website, supposedly "as filed," but they haven't fixed this later version (Edition 2) yet, which shows you what the Bill that survived Crossover was actually about:


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