Republican voter suppression tactics

Monday Numbers: Voter purges reflect a Jim Crow shift

Stifling the voices that need to be heard the most:

17 million – the number of voters removed from rolls nationwide between 2016 and 2018

40 percent – how much higher the median purge rate was over the 2016 to 2018 period in jurisdictions previously subject to preclearance versus jurisdictions that were not covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

1.1 million – the number of voters who wouldn’t have been removed from voter rolls between 2016 and 2018 if purge rates in the counties that were covered by Section 5 were the same as the rates in non-Section 5 counties.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Rumors of a "post-racial" society, especially when it comes to voting access, are greatly exaggerated. Understand, the Voting Rights Act was not some sort of overreaction by the Federal government to a few isolated incidents; Southern Congressmen and Senators worked hand-in-hand with their state-level counterparts to actively deny Constitutional rights to tens of thousands of African-Americans, and that oppression thrived in the ambiguity of the times:

Republicans try to defend the indefensible on gerrymandering

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Denial is a river in Egypt:

Bell's testimony came Wednesday morning in the eighth day of a trial over the legislative voting district maps the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved two years ago. Common Cause North Carolina alleges that the maps are were drawn illegally into gerrymandered districts that favor GOP candidates.

Trying to maximize GOP seats in the House would dilute Republican strength in many districts and would wind up costing the party seats, he said. That, would cause a revolt in the House Republican caucus, which on the best of days is like trying to manage a wheelbarrow full of frogs, he said.

That little theory comes apart when you look at what actually happened: Republicans gained majorities in both houses after the 2010 (national) GOP Legislative wave, but they didn't achieve their Supermajority until after the maps were gerrymandered. And the Blue Wave of 2018, which flipped control of the U.S. House to a strong Democratic majority, still could not overcome those gerrymandered NC Legislative districts. So you can stick that "it wouldn't make sense for us to do it" argument where the sun don't shine, because we know you did it. And this makes even less sense:

Holmes v. Moore challenge to Voter ID Amendment being argued today

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Currently in front of a 3-judge panel, but destined for the NC Supreme Court:

Specifically, the lawsuit argues that the law violates multiple provisions of the state constitution by: 1) purposefully discriminating against and disproportionately impacting African American and American Indian voters; 2) unduly burdening the fundamental right to vote; 3) creating separate classes of voters, treated differently with respect to their access to the fundamental right to vote; 4) imposing a cost on voting; 5) imposing a property requirement for voting; and 6) impeding voters’ ability to engage in political expression and speech by casting a ballot.

Here's the full complaint (sorry, can't copy & paste), and a few Tweets from NC Policy Watch's intrepid court reporter Melissa Boughton:

Once again, SCOTUS rules against democracy

This ^ right here. It takes power to fix problems, power we don't have. The 2020 Legislative races just became critical, even moreso than the Presidential race.

NC Republicans lied in court to delay fixing their Gerrymandered maps

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Their skeletons are busting out of the closet:

The Republicans told the federal court hearing the map case that they would not be able to draw new legislative districts and hold public hearings on them in time for a proposed special election in late 2017 or early 2018. In fact, Common Cause said, Mr. Hofeller’s files show that almost all the work was already done: proposed new boundaries had been drawn for more than 97 percent of the state’s proposed Senate districts and 90 percent of House districts.

A senior Republican legislator who was involved in the redistricting, Representative David R. Lewis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yeah, I bet he didn't. This also partly explains why the NC GOP has been pushing so hard to get those hard drives out of circulation:

Big Brother is watching: Election observer bill goes too far

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When conspiracy theorists are allowed all up in your bidness:

Election observers shall have the explicit right to:(1) Begin observation duties from the time the judge enters the polling location until all ballot containers are officially sealed and the voting enclosure is secured for the day.1

(2) Hear the name and address of each voter when the voter first announces the voter's name at the initial check-in table and ask any election official to repeat the name or address of the voter if the observer was unable to hear the voter's name or address when it was initially announced.

This is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start:

Allison Riggs makes strong showing at Supreme Court

And she didn't take any crap from Brett Kavanaugh:

Justice Neil Gorsuch seemed to agree that the problem of partisan gerrymandering is one that should be left for the political branches of government to deal with. Justice Brett Kavanaugh echoed this concern. He told Allison Riggs, who argued for a second group of challengers in the North Carolina case, that he understood “some of your argument to be that extreme partisan gerrymandering is a problem for democracy.” Referring to activity in the states and in Congress to combat partisan gerrymandering, Kavanaugh asked whether we have reached a moment when the other actors can do it.

Riggs responded that North Carolina, at least, is not at that moment. When Kavanaugh responded, “I’m thinking more nationally,” Riggs shot back that “other options don’t relieve this Court of its duty to vindicate constitutional rights.”

And of course she's right. What Kavanaugh doesn't grasp (or is ignoring) is the fact that some of those states allow popular movements to amend their constitutions without prior approval by the Legislative body. Like they did in Michigan, where proponents had to collect enough signatures to get independent redistricting on the November ballot. North Carolina doesn't allow for that, making Kavanaugh's argument both inappropriate and irrelevant. Also inappropriate:

NC A&T a case study in partisan gerrymandering

Divided and conquered without an opportunity to protest:

In adopting the electoral map, the legislature partitioned the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, the nation's largest historically black public college, into two separate districts.

"We had one person representing us who shared our beliefs. Now we have two people who don't really represent us," said Smith, 24, a 2017 graduate who works with voting-rights group Common Cause, which is among the plaintiffs challenging the new districts.

This particular move may be the partisan straw that broke the mapmaker's back. It should be, anyway. Not even the worst justices (Thomas and Kavanaugh) on our conservative Supreme Court could swallow the idea splitting NC A&T in half was merely a coincidence, or that students are better off with two Representatives instead of one. Their votes were "cracked," to use the parlance of the mapmakers themselves, and there is no viable defense of that. And this argument might be even worse:

Bladen County still has no Elections Board

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Making a crazy situation even crazier:

Right now, Bladen County has no board of elections. Earlier this month, the new state board declined to appoint a new county board of elections until the investigation was over. NCSBE spokesperson Patrick Gannon said the board will appoint a new county board at a future meeting but a date for that meeting has not been set.

NCSBE members agreed at the hearing in Raleigh that in light of the information revealed during the testimony, additional oversight is needed of the upcoming special elections in Bladen County. “State board members agreed at the evidentiary hearing that the agency should look closely at the operations and oversight of the Bladen County Board of Elections, given the recent developments,” Gannon said.

Unfortunately, this article is over 3 weeks old, but a teaser of a story buried behind a paywall (that I refuse to pay because I'm already paying that company) reveals the Board is still not empaneled, and the NC GOP has refused to put any (replacement) Republican names forward to fill those seats. Absentee ballots for the Primary will (very soon) have to be sent out, and there's more than just a Congressional special election to be considered:

As deadline approaches for college IDs, UNC system stuck in neutral

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Jerry Wayne Williamson at WataugaWatch has been all over this:

As part of its new Voter ID Bill, the state legislature determined that university IDs would qualify as valid proof of identity at the polls as long as the universities complied with certain criteria (Senate Bill 824). The State Board of Elections created both rules and a form for certifying compliance with this criteria. The "attestation form" must be signed by university officials no later than March 15th to qualify a university’s student IDs as valid proof of identity. If the attestation form is not signed by March 15th, that university’s student IDs will not count as valid proof of identity for elections through 2020.

Turns out the universities have now banded together under the interpretations offered by Thomas C. Shanahan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the UNC system, to refuse to sign the attestation, regardless of whether an individual university can comply or not. If none comply, then individual university leadership is insulated. If one or more do comply, the others are exposed for harsh criticism.

I know what you're going to say before you say it, but if the recent ruling voiding the Voter ID Amendment gets overturned, that original deadline (March 15) will still be in effect. The fault for this conundrum lies solely on the shoulders of Republicans in the General Assembly, who (as usual) pushed too far with their legislation on requirements for college ID's to "comply" with their unnecessary restrictions on voting:

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