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In case you missed them, two items over on the main NCPW site deserve your attention today.

In todays’ edition of the Fitzsimon File, Chris calls on the governor to do something radical — to actually carefully read the voter suppression bill

Item # 2 is Education Reporter Lindsay Wagner’s new story “Common Core comes uner fire in North Carolina.” Here’s the intro:  Read More

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From Democracy NC’s August 5 link of the day:

“Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to sign the monster anti-voting bill any day now. H-589 began in the state House as a photo ID bill but in the final days of the session, the state Senate rolled out a harsher version of the ID requirement, plus 40+ new provisions, including dozens that had never been discussed in a legislative committee. The new bill raises contribution limits, kills the Stand By Your Ad law, allows secret electioneering spending by outside groups, ends the pre-registration program for teenagers and much more. Democracy North Carolina has a front-and-back handout that describes the provisions of the soon-to-be new law. Most of the provisions become effective on January 1, 2014, except the photo ID requirement takes effect with the 2016 elections. Everyone expects the state NAACP and others to challenge the law in court, and so it shall be.”

Click here to read a two-page summary entitled: “Monster Law: More money, Less Voting.” 

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If you’re looking for a quick read capturing the lay-of-the-land of the state’s new voting law changes, see this morning’s Atlantic Wire:

. . . No state’s action has been more dramatic than North Carolina’s, whose legislature last week passed what election-law experts have characterized as the most draconian and restrictive registration and voting law in the country.

“It’s just an audacious attempt on the part of Republicans to suppress the vote, it’s just about as blatant as you can imagine,” says Rep. David Price, a Democrat who represents the state’s Research Triangle area, which includes Duke and the University of North Carolina. “You do wonder how they felt they could get away with it.”

The North Carolina law is a grab bag of bad ideas. It not only institutes a government-issued photo-ID requirement for voting, similar to the Texas law, but also eliminates same-day voter registration and requires voters to register or update their address at least 25 days ahead of the election; reduces the early voting period by a week; abolishes a program to register high-school students in advance of their 18th birthdays; empowers partisan poll watchers with greater authority to challenge voters; and eliminates out-of-precinct voting. The law also weakens candidate disclosure and fundraising rules, thereby allowing unlimited corporate donations and abolishing the requirement that candidates endorse their own television ads.

“I’ve never seen a bill like North Carolina that makes it harder to register and vote – it’s very brazen,” says Richard Hasen, an election-law specialist and professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine. Hasen believes the law is so bad there will be a judicial and public backlash to overturn it and possibly the GOP legislature which passed it. “This will be seen as an overreach .… It’s going to be challenged and some of its provisions will be struck down,” he predicted.

Even the state’s Libertarian Party is outraged, aptly summing up what’s been done in this statement:

“Republicans claim to be the party of limited government. Now we see what that term really means: when Republicans say limited government, they apparently mean government limited to them and their supporters.”

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mcblog2In a lengthy and, at times, awkward and disjointed press conference, Gov. Pat McCrory said today that he would sign House Bill 589 — the controversial bill to alter state voting and elections laws. The bill, which was originally about imposing new voter ID requirements but morphed this week into an omnibus 57 page proposal to restrict voting in numerous ways, was passed by the House late last night  and will be presented to the Governor on Monday.

What was perhaps the saddest and most illuminating moment of the press conference, however, came when a reporter asked the Governor about some of the less-thoroughly-publicized portions of the bill. After testily dismissing a question about a provision on lobbyist “bundling” of campaign contributions because the reporter noted that it had been spurred by allegations against the Governor’s former law firm and erroneously saying that North Carolinians can register to vote “online,” McCrory addressed a question about the bill’s language to do away with the current successful program to pre-register 16 and 17 year olds. Here’s what the Guv said:

“I don’t know enough…I’m sorry, I haven’t seen that part of the bill.”

Got that? Governor McCrory has already decided to sign a bill — one of the most important and dangerous bills to come down the pike in years — and he is not even aware of one of the more controversial provisions — a provision that was debated at length this week multiple times!

C’mon Guv: We know you’re still relatively new to this job, but the least you could do is spend a little time with staff preparing for these press events and maybe even reading the bills you’re defending to the media and the public!

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In case you missed it, the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, a middle-of -the-road group known for conducting painstaking, in-depth research has issued a scathing analysis of the legislation pending in the state Senate to restrict voting.

Here is the special report the group emailed out last night:

Last Minute Changes to HB 589 Would Undermine Gains Made To N.C. Voter Turnout

Summary: Tonight, the N.C. Senate passed a Committee Substitute on 2nd reading for House Bill 589 that adds at least 7 new election law provisions to the bill, which originally was solely a voter photo ID bill.  The changes will reduce the number of days in the early voting period and end same-day voter registration.  The Center does not take a position on requiring a photo ID in order to vote because we have not done research on the issue.  However, the Center opposes the additional election law provisions because, as we found in our research in 1991 and 2003, early voting and same-day registration have worked to increase voter turnout and civic participation, because there is public support for these measures, and because the legislative process used to tack these provisions onto a moving bill is bad process and one we have criticized in additional reports over a 20-year period. Read More