Dark money, dark forces

On Monday a three judge panel convened here in the Triad to decide whether the new gerrymandered redistricting maps drawn by Art Pope are legal under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Republican State Leadership Committee pumped tens of millions of dollars into the RSLC's Redistricting Map Project (REDMAP), with great success. The agressive gerrymandering project allowed the GOP to control the House, while garnering fewer overall votes.

This should be of particular interest to those of us who reside in NC, where millions of dollars in GOP dark money, money funneled from shady non-profits set up by people like Karl Rove, Sheldon Adelson, and the Koch brothers, tobacco giants Altria,Reynolds and into the grubby little hands of Art Pope and his Real Jobs NC.


On Wednesday, the Supreme court of the United States will begin hearing arguments in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, No. 12-96, challenging Sect. 5.

Section 5 prohibits states like ours and Alabama, (Shelby County), from imposing any "qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure... to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color."

Alabama is seeking an exemption, their argument is that society has progressed to the point where race is not a factor in politics and Sect.5 is no longer justified. African Americans comprise 25% of the population of Alabama, no person of color holds an elected position in the state.

This is a shameless attack on the most basic rights of the citizens of NC and the U.S. as a whole, if you deny the rights of one, you are in essence denying the rights of all to the franchise that is one man one vote.

On the national level the Repubs have lost the election, the debate, and the ability to maintain any credibility in regards to good governance. They don't have the numbers. They don't have them in NC, registered Democrats out number Repubs by a wide margin, but dissatisfaction within our own party lead to a 2010 midterm disaster that we will pay for the next decade.

There is good news is that the VRA has been renewed four times, most recently in 2006 and SCOTUS has never rule against the VRA in any of the four challenges that have been argued before it.

If the right wing assault on our most basic civil rights is successful we can expect several things immediately. They will automatically pass laws to limit or end early voting hours. They will enact extremely strict voter ID laws, as well as be free to redraw congressional districts without pre-approval, and the result is that many thousands of voters, the real targets of these kinds of laws, specifically minorities, the elderly, the disabled, and students, people who don't normally vote Republican, will be prevented from exercising the franchise.


In the age of technology

it's time that we make our voting maps with the blind indifference of a computer program that can draw a map with no regard to political registration, race or social status. Just a simple thing that can make democracy real again.

voting maps

I may be biased because I grew up in Iowa, but I've always felt that NC should have the same system Iowa and 11 other states have. Congressional districts are drawn by a non-partisan independent commission based solely on population. Members of the commission are denied by law from having access to the addresses of incumbents.

Politicians and political parties have no business being involved in this process, there is just too much potential for manipulation by either party and it runs contrary to the ideals of democracy.

David Esmay

This may be that the thing Obama's commission on voting

could address. Make the rules for redistricting the same in all states. We have to put a stop to these silly battles that have to be fought over and over in most states. If the model in Iowa works well, what would be wrong with adopting it nation wide?

Ah Gee Whiz,

I sent letters to all the legislators I could in 2001 asking why NC could not use the methods of Iowa and several other states to set up independent commissions. I was immediately scolded by fellow Democrats, who at the time held the keys, and told me that "we'uns don"t do stuff like that, why granddaddy would flip over in hiz grave." I brought up the subject again in several forums statewide in 2008 and said, again, lets get up an independent commission. Well, why actually, NO, since that sounds like a Republican idea.
There is no patent on stupidity, but we sure have been looking for it. And we Democrats also kept the door tightly closed against other parties, again to our detriment, and while we have bled Dems to Unaffiliated. Good move guys. That does not leave you another foot to shoot. We sure should have thought more of that idea 12 years ago, when we controlled the state. It is going to take a hell of a lot of money and time to get back into the contest. Hummm---old saying, What goes around comes around, or something like that.