Republican voter suppression tactics

Wake County still battling with Legislature over electoral districts

At stake are Commissioner and School Board seats:

Election officials are asking a judge for permission to use old district lines for next year’s election of Wake County school board members and commissioners as a lawsuit continues to make its way through the court system.

In 2011, the school board and commissioners adopted new election districts that they expected would be used through 2020. But the General Assembly redrew the maps in 2013 to turn two Wake school board seats into regional districts, with each covering about half the county. In 2015, state lawmakers changed the Wake commissioner lines to match the school board districts.

This should really be a no-brainer; nothing of substance has changed since they were allowed to use the old maps in the 2016 Election. And something doesn't become "Constitutional" just because it's aged a couple years:

Debunking yet another right-wing conspiracy theory

There are no such thing as ghost voters:

Los Angeles County’s registrar of voters, Dean Logan, explained to the Bee that the names on the inactive voter list are kept as a “fail-safe” so as to not disenfranchise or discourage voters. Combining “inactive voter” and “active voter” lists could result in a higher total number of registered voters that Judicial Watch says raises suspicions.

Logan and Gail Pellerin, the Santa Cruz County registrar of voters, told the Los Angeles Times that very few people on the “inactive voter” list actually show up to vote. As few as 12 people, out of 44,172 people on Santa Cruz County’s inactive list, showed up to vote in November, Pellerin said.

Deeply embedded in North Carolina's voter database are three (3) registration files for yours truly. I have seen them pulled up on a screen during an early voting session. One is from when I was stationed at Ft. Bragg back in the 1980's, another when I was still a (confused) Republican, and my current registration as a Democrat. The two older ones are "inactive" files, and mean absolutely nothing in the scheme of things. It's not a conspiracy to subvert democracy, and it's not even a "weakness that could be exploited" in the system. But efforts to purge voter rolls very likely is a conspiracy:

2018 elections: The only thing certain is uncertainty

And the NC GOP has certainly screwed up the electoral landscape:

This week, Democrat Anita Earls announced she would run for the seat on the state Supreme Court held by Republican Justice Barbara Jackson. But will there be an election in 2018 at all?

There's a different question surrounding legislative elections in 2018: which incumbents will be forced to share districts? New proposed district lines are out, drawn by an independent mapmaker, but that's not the final word.

Even though the court has spoken (clearly), and even though Percily only redrew a handful of districts, Republicans are still trying to bully their way in to scribble on the damn maps. They need to be called out by the press for their efforts to undermine democracy and the voters who rely on it, and they need to be spanked a lot harder by the courts for constantly muddying the waters. The people need to reclaim their time.

Exploring the mind of the Special Master

Nathan Persily has been a staunch advocate for democracy for years:

Republicans don’t necessarily have a problem with Persily’s credentials, which are many, or his map-drawing chops, which are considerable. They worry about what GOP lawyer Phil Strach called “possible bias.” They’re right about that, but maybe not for the reason they think.

He has characterized gerrymandering as “partisan greed” – which happens to be true, regardless of which party is engaging in it. He has frowned at the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision in Citizens United because of the power it gave to the few – Democrat or Republican – who have a lot of money. He has argued against a Texas effort to draw districts based on eligible voters instead of total population, because it would dilute the voting power of a growing Latino population.

In summary, Persily has been laser-focused on defending the rights and Constitutionally-granted powers of individual voters, matters the NC GOP has worked against relentlessly since they were granted a majority by those same voters. Why would you do that? Why would you punish those who had entrusted you? The logical answer is: Because you knew from the start you were going to exceed your mandate, take steps that are clearly in violation of (at least) the spirit of the NC Constitution and your previously stated principles, and you wanted to make sure those voters would not be able to correct their mistake. Here's more on Persily:

Court appoints Special Master to review gerrymandered Legislative maps

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And this isn't the Professor's first rodeo either:

Judge Catherine Eagles informed the attorneys in the order that Nathaniel Persily, who has helped draw districts for New York, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut, would review North Carolina’s new legislative maps and possibly help the judges draw new lines for 2018. Persily will be paid $500 an hour, which the judges described as half his typical hourly rate. The filing period for state legislative races is set to begin in February.

“If any party has grounds to believe that Professor Persily has a conflict of interest which would disqualify him from serving as Special Master or is otherwise objectionable,” the judges said, the attorneys should file an objection within two business days. Any objectors may suggest a different mapmaker, the judges added.

This article corrects something I've been getting wrong for several weeks: Candidate filing for Legislative races is in February, not December, so we've got more breathing room on that. Also something to keep in mind: Persily's involvement in evaluating and potentially redrawing district lines may be limited to just a handful of races:

Gerrymandering update: Court explains why it didn't order Special Election

There is much truth in this:

The court initially ordered a remedial special election but on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed its ruling and ordered that the panel make further considerations about the remedy. At the end of July, the panel denied the request for a special election and issued a timeline for lawmakers to redraw the gerrymandered maps. The 48-page unanimous opinion released Tuesday explains why the judges denied the plaintiffs request.

“Notwithstanding these weighty considerations favoring a special election, we nonetheless conclude such an election would not be in the interest of Plaintiffs and the people of North Carolina,” it states. “The compressed and overlapping schedule such an election would entail is likely to confuse voters, raise barriers to participation, and depress turnout, and therefore would not offer the vigorously contested election needed to return to the people of North Carolina their sovereignty.”

Late last year I knew we were in a race against time, and if the issue wasn't dealt with quickly enough by the courts, those same courts would be hard-pressed to require a Special Election. It's tempting to be angry about the delaying tactics used by the GOP to stretch this thing out, but that won't accomplish much. I don't want to step on any toes, but something else that won't accomplish much are creating our own maps to counter the Republican ones:

Theatre of the absurd: Make all voters pass a Federal gun background check

Kris Kobach's voter suppression train is going off the rails:

A gun researcher who says the federal gun background check system doesn't work has a new idea for preventing voter fraud at polling places: Make every voter pass a federal gun background check.

John Lott, an independent researcher and Fox News commentator, is best known for his book “More Guns, Less Crime,” which argues that increases in gun ownership are associated with drops in crime (most mainstream criminologists reject this view).

Dude is certifiable, and yet he has been invited to the next Commission meeting to put forward this foolish and very likely unconstitutional proposal. It's another in a growing list of cases where the Congress would normally feel compelled to step in and reign back Executive overreach, if it was anybody other than Donald Trump engaging in it. While this gun-check thing is an absurd idea, and wouldn't make it past the first judge tasked to evaluate it, the ramifications of the Commission's willingness to even entertain the idea are the real danger:

A new wave of voter suppression tactics brewing in Trump administration

And propaganda will ride the crest of that wave:

A member of President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was pushing fake news before its second meeting was even able to kick off on Tuesday afternoon.

In an op-ed published by Breitbart just ahead of the meeting, Kris Kobach, the commission’s vice chairman, again asserted a debunked claim that more than 5,000 people in New Hampshire cast illegal votes during last year’s election. His suggestion that there was rampant voter fraud in the region was swiftly rebuked by the state’s secretary of state, Bill Gardner, who said New Hampshire’s election results were “real and valid.”

Mark my words, this is going to lead to another Constitutional crisis, and we can't expect Congress to lift a finger to intervene on this one. The GOP leadership has too much of a conflict of interest going on to protect the voting rights of minorities, even if (and it's a big "if") they were so inclined to do so. It also makes the current lawsuit by Cooper to reclaim majority control over election boards even more important, because whatever policy is produced at the Federal level will need to be interpreted and applied at the state and local level. Eyes open, folks.

Carl Ford stakes claim to newly-created Senate District

Republicans are not waiting around to see what the courts decide:

If the new maps hold up in federal court, which found that existing maps include racial gerrymanders, Ford would not have to face an incumbent in the 2018 election or a special election, if the court orders one. There is no incumbent legislator in the newly drawn 33rd District. Sen. Cathy Dunn, a Republican from Davidson County, currently represents the 33rd District, but she was placed in a different district in the new maps, which were approved last week by the N.C. General Assembly.

“I am excited to see what the future will bring for Rowan and Stanly counties, and I look forward to being a part of that,” Ford said in his news release. “I take the opportunity to represent more people very serious and bathed this decision with lots of thought and prayer.”

Might not be politically astute for me to say it, but I don't care what the damn demographics are in this new District: Anybody who "bathes" a decision in prayer needs to be challenged for that seat. That's some serious Theocratical BS right there, more like something that would have come out of Cotton Mathers' mouth in 1692 than a lawmaker in the 21st Century. Sheesh.

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