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Voter IDIf you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Courts and Law Reporter Sharon McCloskey’s lead story over on the main Policy Watch site – “Lawmakers: What we talked about when we talked about Voter ID.” As McCloskey reports, GOP lawmakers may be forced, sooner or later, to disclose what they were really up to when they passed the controversial “Monster” voting law in 2013:

“What were state GOP lawmakers’ intentions when they enacted House Bill 589, one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation?

That’s the question the groups challenging the law want answered by the handful of legislators they served with subpoenas in December, asking those lawmakers to produce emails, letters, reports and other records used when pushing for voting law changes last session.

The lawmakers responded last week with an opening salvo in what might become an extended battle, claiming to be completely insulated from any obligation to produce those communications.

But if the court in Greensboro follows decisions from others across the country resolving voting cases, those lawmakers may have to start digging through their files and come up with some answers. Read More

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#1 comes from the Charlotte Observer which, in response to the recent decision upholding GOP-drawn legislative districts, makes another strong case for passing nonpartisan redistricting legislation now:

“Legal doesn’t necessarily mean fair, however, and our opinion on redistricting remains the same. The process in North Carolina is flawed and time consuming. It allows the party in power to protect incumbents by drawing districts in a way that dilutes the opposition’s strength. It takes choices away from voters. Read More

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The Winston-Salem Journal pulls no punches in this editorial this morning that criticizes legislative plans to dramatically expand Governor McCrory’s ability to use Chicago-style patronage hiring:

A governor, when taking office, deserves the right to put his or her own people in jobs when those jobs are assigned policy-making duties. To deny the governor that power would deny the governor the ability to govern.

But only a small number of state workers make policy. Most state workers don’t; for sure, there aren’t 1,500 state employees who make policy decisions. With the exception of a few hundred policymakers, state employees carry out the policies designed by their superiors. So McCrory only needs 1,500 political patronage jobs if he’s planning to fill state employee ranks with his political cronies.

What makes all this the more offensive and ironic, of course, Read More

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President Obama 4No, the above headline is not a typo or even a logical stretch. There is actually a close relationship between the two subjects. Here’s why:

Although all the facts have yet to come to light, the recent scandal in Washington related to the wrongful targeting of conservative groups by Internal Revenue Service officials appears to be just that: a scandal. Every American should be outraged anytime the people in power abuse the system to target any group or individual because of their beliefs. It is an offensive assault on core constitutional rights anytime such an event occurs. President Obama needs to get to the bottom of this ASAP and punish all who are responsible.

Unfortunately, such occurrences are not new in the United States. They occurred when the George W. Bush administration wrongfully targeted liberal groups (click here and here to read about some examples) AND they occur every time politicians in power draw absurdly gerrymandered political maps to punish their opponents and deny voters the opportunity to participate in real elections. Read More

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In addition to gerrymandering, there appears to have been another built-in advantage for conservative candidates in Tuesday’s election: It’s easier to vote in conservative, Republican areas.

This from Talking Points Memo:

“Voters across the country complained about long waits in states around the country, as long as seven hours in quadrenially troubled Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott dramatically reduced early voting days despite similar issues in 2008.

If Democrats think measures like Scott’s in Republican-controlled states depress their vote specifically, they may be onto something. A Hart Research study sponsored by the AFL-CIO found wait times were disproportionately longer for Democrats and Democratic-leaning demographics by huge margins in 2012. For example, 16 percent of Obama voters reporter lines longer than 30 minutes, versus just 9 percent of Romney voters.”

And obviously, this was all a great big, unintentional coincidence.