Republican voter suppression tactics

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

girlsideeye.jpg

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

votebullies.jpg

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:

New GOP voter suppression tactic: Block voting at schools

votesuppressed.jpg

Making voting harder since 2011:

Lambeth said he is willing to amend the proposed legislation to help attract non-school sites as potential polling places. When asked about whether the legislation could hamper voting in low-income neighborhoods that use schools as precincts, Lambeth said a local school board “should know whether its schools can be made safe or not, with areas secured enough, to allow voting on election days.”

“I focused entirely on the school safety issue, and not the impact on elections. Some schools could have extra on-site security in place on election days” he said.

a) If you were focused entirely on school safety, you would have done something (anything) to limit access to deadly firearms in the wake of all the mass school shootings, and b) There are three (3) separate Amendments to the U.S. Constitution designed to protect the right to vote, so if you completely ignored the potential impact on elections, you are not qualified to be a lawmaker, period. But I think you were well aware of that impact, and are actually counting on it:

Parsing the 9th District's embarrassing election fraud situation

mccraedowless.jpg

And the NC GOP's all-over-the-map efforts to handle it:

The Earth shook and the seas parted as politicos from both parties appeared to join hands, perhaps taking in the gathering evidence that a Republican operative may have hacked our election apparatus, piloting an alleged spider web of a get-out-the-vote campaign or perhaps more appropriately, a get-the-vote-out campaign, accused of illegally handling – or, worst-case scenario, destroying – thousands of absentee ballots.

The accord was over before you could fully appreciate it, shattered Monday when top Republicans in the 9th urged members of the state’s elections board to certify the results of Baptist minister Mark Harris’ supremely suspect victory if they cannot produce evidence of wrongdoing by Congress’ return in January.

Which merely drives home the message the 9th District is incapable of policing itself. There is a *lot* of evidence, including direct testimony, that considerable wrongdoing occurred. Yes, much of that evidence was discovered/compiled by local media outlets, as opposed to the state Board of Elections. But it exists, nonetheless. That fraudulent cat is not going back in the bag, no matter how much local Republicans want it to. As to having another Primary, Rob Schofield has (once again) brought my better angels to the surface:

Hearing on NC09 postponed until after new Congress is seated

Better to have no Representative than a fraudulently-elected one:

An evidentiary hearing on allegations of absentee ballot fraud in a North Carolina congressional district election has been rescheduled. The N.C. State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement announced Friday that the public hearing initially scheduled for Dec. 21 will now be held on Jan. 11, 2019.

In a letter Monday, board chairman Joshua Malcolm had suggested more time may be needed to decide whether a new election would be necessary for the 9th Congressional District. Malcolm said those subpoenaed in the case said they need more time to produce additional records.

I don't like the idea of the 9th District not having a Representative any more than the next person, but keep this in mind: Of the 435 district seats in the US House, there are always a handful that are unfilled. In 2018, 7 Representatives resigned and one died, and in 2017, 9 resigned, several of them to fill positions in the Trump administration. In other words, it's not a Constitutional crisis. But what *is* a Constitutional crisis is the distinct possibility that over 1,000 voters in the 9th District had their ballots destroyed:

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:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Republican voter suppression tactics