Republican voter suppression tactics

Day 4: Stifling the youth and college vote

Long live the Intervenors:

The six plaintiffs, referred to in court documents as "the Duke Plaintiffs," are students attending various colleges in North Carolina. In November 2013 they filed a motion asking to join the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, The NAACP, the U.S. Department of Justice and other plaintiffs in their bid to overturn the law.

Go and read the whole thing, and Kelly's previous entries if you haven't already. The testimony so far has been very compelling, and regardless how the judge eventually rules, these narratives deserve to be chronicled.

Foley resigns from State Board of Elections

Apparently he can take a hint:

Paul J. Foley resigned early Thursday, less than a week after the Associated Press reported that for more than a year he regularly pressed staff at the agency for updates and details about the probe targeting his firm's longtime client. He eventually recused himself, but only after elections staff learned of nearly $1.3 million in payments from Chase Burns to the law firm where Foley is a partner.

Not only was Foley caught with his meddling hand in the investigation cookie jar, he very well may be playing a role in the current lawsuit in Winston-Salem, due to his involvement in suppressing the college vote in Watauga County. All that being said, I can't help but have some suspicions over the timing of his fall from grace. We were kept in the dark about this investigation into Foley until less than a week ago, and a few days after that the BoE presents its findings that nobody did anything wrong in the whole Chase Burns fiasco. The term "convenient" comes to mind, with the word "distraction" closely following on its heels.

Day 3: Poverty is already a big challenge to voting

More courtroom observations from Kelly Fetty:

The study, called the Family Life Project, had looked at the challenges facing poor families in three rural counties. In her previous testimony Dr. Vernon-Feagans outlined a number of problems faced by poor rural families, including lack of access to reliable transportation, telephone or Internet service.

Strach asked her if the problems she outlined could be the result of poor decisions made by the families studied. "We don't make judgements like that," she replied.

Keeping it classy, eh Phil? It's their own fault that they're not in an economic position to take the day off from work and cruise to the polling site in their Audi.

Some details on NC voter rights case

In bench trials, there's only one opinion that matters:

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder has given lawyers arguing against and for the changes between two and three weeks to make their case in a bench trial that could test the constitutionality and sweep of new voting rules adopted in Republican-led states.

The trial begins almost a month before the 50th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act, which knocked down state and local efforts to keep African-Americans from voting.

I tried to find a stream or a live-blog to follow, but no luck so far. If anybody reading this finds something like that, please drop it in the comments or send me a message and I'll do it. Here are the three main issues being adjudicated:

NC's non-compliance with NVRA is no accident

It's part of a pattern of voter suppression to keep the GOP in office:

Congress requires biennial reports on the Act’s implementation from the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The latest report, released this week, contains evidence of poor compliance with the law, especially with those provisions designed to register citizens with lower incomes.

In the same report issued four years earlier, North Carolina and Virginia reported 72,128 and 32,368 registration applications. In the new report, these states’ agency registration applications dropped to 33,332 and 14,497.

That 54% reduction in registrations does not represent "business as usual," it reflects a systemic change in operational procedures. Somebody (or bodies) brought this change about, and the only way to determine how that happened is to look at e-mails and (paper) memoranda. Breaking the law by mistake is one thing, but purposely undermining it is quite another.

Survived a civil war, denied the right to vote

A heart-wrenching story of callous injustice:

According to Jerome and Diana, their voting experience went downhill from there. A poll worker told them to wait while precinct officials "called downtown" to address Diana's citizenship status. They waited more than two hours, to no avail. In the meantime, Jerome — unfamiliar with the voting process — asked the same poll worker for help understanding his ballot; according to Jerome, she became impatient and dismissive, saying, "We can't help you."

While cautious about saying so, Jerome wondered if his family's race and immigrant background were factors in how they were treated by the poll worker, a white woman. "It was a very bad experience," Jerome remembered. "It made me think she didn't like us, because of who we are."

Hat-tip to Facing South for exposing this predictable result of the rabid anti-immigrant movement in our state (and country). Both the state and local election boards owe these two brave US citizens an apology, and a few hugs wouldn't be out of order.

GOP voter suppression tactics in action

See if you can spot the obvious injustice in the following:

Ernestine Perry planned to cast her ballot at a polling place across the street from her Durham home, where she had voted before.

But after elections officials said her precinct changed to another one miles away, she filled out a provisional ballot. That ballot wasn't tallied.

A closer look at NC DHHS' systemic voter suppression

This level of incompetence and non-compliance doesn't occur without some driving force:

North Carolina’s violations of Section 7 of the NVRA are demonstrated by multiple sources of information, including data reported by the NCSBE as well as the state Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS program forms, interviews conducted at North Carolina Department of Social Services (“DSS”) and Public Health (“WIC”) offices (collectively “DHHS offices”); and review of third-party contractor processes. Together, the sources of information reveal that DHHS is systematically failing to provide the voter registration services mandated by Section 7 the NVRA.

GOP moves to delay Supreme Court review of redistricting

That's one way to preserve the supermajority you cleverly created:

The United States Supreme Court’s recent procedural action in these cases does not justify the schedule proposed by plaintiffs. While defendants agree that this Court’s further consideration of this case should proceed reasonably expeditiously, plaintiffs’ motion suggests a schedule that might apply if the United States Supreme Court had reversed this Court’s judgment on the merits and remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with its opinion. The United States Supreme Court took no such action and the schedule on remand should reflect that reality. This Court should set a reasonable timetable for further
briefing and oral argument. In setting such a timetable, defendants request that this Court take into account scheduling conflicts that impact counsel for all the parties as more fully explained below.

Wait a minute, I thought this was just a totally-anticipated procedural issue, with no substantive impact on NC's redistricting law:

Job #1 between now and 2016: Young voters

As important as this election was, look at these turnout numbers:

Ballots Cast:
43.99% (2,915,757 out of 6,627,862)

43.99%

Still waiting for turnout by age-range, but I don't expect any surprises. I crunched the numbers after the Primary earlier this year, and the entire block of voters from 18-25 (that's eight separate categories) only beat 72 year-olds (one category) by one vote, 881-880. You can only rationalize that so much, and still be forced to conclude that the bulk of our efforts need to be directed at this (for all practical purposes) inactive voting demographic. More money (lots) needs to be directed to campus organizations, but that still leaves a vast number of 18-25's out of the net. And getting those potential voters activated is going to be a huge challenge, but I have a feeling it may be the only way out of this Republican nightmare we find ourselves in.

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