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New from the good people at Democracy NC:

For Release: Wednesday, May 2, 2012  – Contact: Bob Hall, 919-489-1931

“Voter Confusion Index” Ranks NC Counties, Hotline & Website Set Up to Help Voters

A new analysis of voting precincts shows that Cumberland, Wayne, Durham, Pitt, and Pasquotank are the five counties with the most complex changes to their state legislative and Congressional districts lines – changes that can create confusion for voters and possibly lead to people receiving the wrong ballot at the polls.

[See data for 100 counties at: http://www.democracy-nc.org/downloads/CountyPrecinctConfusion.xls] Read More

One of the more interesting developments in state political world last week was the news that right-wing groups behind the big media buy that attacked Governor Perdue and misleadingly defended the reactionary, teacher-slashing 2012 state budget need to disclose who paid for the ad campaign. Good government watchdog Bob Hall of Democracy NC has called the matter to the attention of the State Board of Elections. A review of the law makes it clear that Hall is right.

The dispute centers on whether Governor Perdue — a target of the ads — meets the definition of “candidate.” Here is the relevant statutory provision: Read More

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New and sobering analysis from the nonpartisan experts at Democracy NC:

“Democracy North Carolina

For Release Wednesday, January 11, 2012 – Contact:Bob Hall, 919-489-1931

Election Officials say say New Districy Plans Threaten Secrecy of the Ballot and Integrity of NC Elections:  19 Counties Face Special Hardship

Statements from election officials across the state provide new reasons for concern about the controversial district lines that zigzag through and split up hundreds of precincts to create the new district boundaries for state legislators andNorth Carolina’s 13 members of Congress. 

 The election professionals are not taking sides on whether or not the new district maps discriminate against African Americans or give one political party an unfair advantage over the other. However, in affidavits filed with the Wake County Superior Court, they say the maps will confuse voters and poll workers, make elections harder and more expensive to administer, and even jeopardize the secrecy of the ballot for thousands of voters. Read More

Last night, the Greenville City Council voted to ask the North Carolina General Assembly for the right to explore voter-owned elections at the local level. The city joins Wilmington (February) and Raleigh (January) in adopting such a measure.

Voter-owned elections are a proven method of dislodging special interest money from the political process, and empowering citizen participation in democracy. The idea is that candidates should get their campaign money from small donors in their constituency, as well as a public fund, rather than soliciting big money contributions that often come with strings attached.

In 2009, the Town of Chapel Hill became the first community east of the Mississippi to conduct a voter-owned election; the top 2 vote-getters were both voter-owned.

Currently, cities must ask the state for special permission even to consider campaign reform. But with more and more communities joining the chorus for change, the legislature has every reason to grant them reform authority in the upcoming short session.