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This afternoon, the General Assembly will begin consideration of proposed legislation that would mandate all voters display a government-issued photo ID for in-person voting.  The good government advocates at Democracy NC have produced a fact sheet that spells out several of the enormous problems with such an idea, which we have reproduced below. You can view the original by clicking here.

WHY OPPOSE PHOTO ID FOR VOTERS?

It may seem like common sense to some people, but requiring voters to show a government issued photo ID before voting is a bad idea. Here’s why: Read More

Here’s a chance to increase your voting rights knowledge, as we all try to whittle down these hours before finding out who won and lost in today’s general election.

Nearly everyone over the age of 18 can vote in North Carolina, including those who are jailed and awaiting trials on charges of various crimes.

“Being accused doesn’t affect your right to vote one way or the other,” said Eddie Caldwell, the director of the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association.

Casting a ballot, however, would have taken some forethought on the part of the inmate, with voting done through absentee ballots.

Only those who are convicted of felonies and currently serving out a prison or probation sentences are prevented from voting. That leaves those who are serving out misdemeanors, people who finished serving felony sentences, and those in jail awaiting trials able to exercise their rights to vote.

But, you can’t exactly walk to your regular polling place if you’re locked up in jail on Election Day.

Jailed inmates have to vote by absentee ballot, and that means interested inmates needed to have made a request to their county elections board before last Tuesday for absentee ballots, said Isela Gutierrez of Democracy NC, the good government and voting rights non-profit.

Caldwell, the sheriff’s association director, didn’t know how the state’s 100 sheriffs handle requests to vote, nor how much of the jail population typically votes in an election.

In Wake and Durham counties, Democracy NC and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice held voter registration drives in jails and helped 58 inmates in Wake and 93 in Durham request ballots for this year’s election or register to vote, Gutierrez said.

Durham jail officials allowed the groups to directly help inmates request ballots, but jailers in Wake County handed out information about voting rights themselves there because of jail staff said they didn’t have enough staff to allow for more interaction with inmates, she said.

Losing out on their right to vote today will be inmates arrested since the Oct. 30 deadline and anyone who might have woken up in a jail cell this morning wanting to vote without taking steps beforehand.

“It’s definitely too late if you’re there right now and you haven’t made any other arrangements,” Gutierrez said.

As the following press release explains, the good government people at Democracy NC are asking folks to spread the word about an outstanding nonpartisan organization that can help with voter problems and querstions.  

For Release Thursday, October 18, 2012                                           
Contact: Bob Hall, 919-489-1931

Confusion Over ID Rules, New Districts & Possible Challenges: Fuels Need for “Election Protection” Hotline and Special Website

 As North Carolinabegins its early voting period today, Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, has launched a toll-free hotline to help voters address problems and answer questions: 866-OUR-VOTE.  Read More

A N.C. Supreme Court justice seeking re-election hasn’t yet provided the occupations and employers for most of his donors, disclosures required for most contributions under North Carolina campaign finance

Justice Newby

rules.

A review of campaign finance reports for statewide judicial races shows that N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby neglected to include the information for most of the 742 contributions he took in at the end of 2011.

Campaign finance rules in North Carolina require the disclosure of donors’ professions and employers for contributions of more than $50 as a way to let voters see if a particular industry or special interest supports one candidate over another.

Newby’s missing occupational information sets him apart from his opponent Sam Ervin IV, an appeals court judge, as well at six candidates vying for three bench seats on the N.C. Court of Appeals, the lower of the two appellate courts.

All the other judicial candidates provided that information for more than 90 percent of their donors.

In Newby’s case, the occupational and employer information was included for less than 15 percent of the 742 contributions listed in a March 7 judicialdisclosure form with the N.C State  Board of Elections.

Newby also included information for less than 15 percent of the 335 contributions he took in that were over $50.

(Click here to see Newby’s contributors).

 

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