BRAWLEY WANTS RECOUNT AFTER RACHEL HUNT'S LEAD INCREASES: Democrat Rachel Hunt declared victory Thursday night after she extended her narrow lead over Republican Rep. Bill Brawley, bringing Mecklenburg County’s last undecided legislative race closer to an apparent end. A count of provisional ballots gave Hunt an unofficial lead of 68 votes in House District 103. While the county elections board will meet Friday to certify the results, Brawley already has asked for a recount, according to Elections Director Michel Dickerson. Hunt gained a net three votes Thursday night after election officials counted provisional ballots and overseas absentee ballots. Brawley led by 52 votes on election night but Hunt jumped to the lead when absentee ballots were counted last week.
NAACP GEARS UP FOR PROTESTS AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY OVER VOTER ID: "We plan to be there in numbers. ... We plan to do what it is we do," Spearman said when asked during a news conference about possible civil disobedience leading to arrests. "We'll take our lead from the General Assembly." In sometimes fiery rhetoric that harkened back to the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment after the Civil War ensuring voting rights for freed slaves and the subsequent efforts by Jim Crow legislation and Ku Klux Klan intimidation to stop blacks for exercising that right, Spearman said the NAACP would not let House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and other lawmakers roll back voting rights. "Senator Berger, Speaker Moore, what is it about that clear guarantee [in the Fifteenth Amendment] that you cannot understand?" he asked. He suggested holding up copies of the Constitution in the Legislative Building "where you scheme your scams" as part of protests during the session.
MCCONNELL WANTS VOTE-SUPPRESSING THOMAS FARR'S CONFIRMATION DONE BY END OF YEAR: Farr has encountered fierce opposition from Democrats and civil rights groups, in part because of his work on the late Sen. Jesse Helms’ 1990 campaign which included voter intimidation as well as for defending Republican lawmakers in redistricting and voter ID cases. His nomination passed out of the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote in January. “It is a slap in the face to communities of color everywhere,” the NAACP said in a statement Thursday on the move to schedule the vote. “Thomas Farr poses a serious threat to civil rights, especially since he would preside over a jurisdiction with a large African-American population. Even among dangerous Trump nominees, Farr stands out for his decades-long crusade to disenfranchise African Americans.”
FLORIDA FLASHBACK: FAULTY MACHINES AND ARBITRARY DEADLINES FORCE HAND RECOUNT OF SENATE RACE: The recount has been fraught with problems. One large Democratic stronghold in South Florida was unable to finish its machine recount by the Thursday deadline due to machines breaking down. A federal judge rejected a request to extend the recount deadline. "We gave a heroic effort," said Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher. If the county had three or four more hours, it would have made the deadline to recount ballots in the Senate race, she said. Meanwhile, election officials in another urban county in the Tampa Bay area decided against turning in the results of their machine recount, which came up with 846 fewer votes than originally counted. And media in South Florida reported that Broward County finished its machine recount but missed the deadline by a few minutes. Counties were ordered this past weekend to conduct a machine recount of three statewide races because the margins were so tight. The next stage is a manual review of ballots that were not counted by machines to see if there is a way to figure out voter intent.
TWO ELDERLY KHMER ROUGE LEADERS FINALLY CONVICTED OF GENOCIDE: One of them, Khieu Samphan, 87, was once an admired, incorruptible schoolteacher and member of Cambodia’s Parliament, who fled arrest for his leftist views in the 1960s and joined the young insurgent movement in the countryside. Suave and multilingual, he later became the international face of the Khmer Rouge as its nominal head of state. The other, Nuon Chea, 92, the movement’s ideologue, was perhaps the truest believer in its attempt to turn Cambodia into an agrarian utopia, killing off its educated people and reorganizing the country into what amounted to a nationwide labor camp. Known as “Brother No. 2” to the late Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, Mr. Nuon Chea had command responsibility over a wave of murderous purges. He later assured an interviewer that “we only killed the bad people, not the good.”