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Lunch sandwichHere’s something to spur a little dyspepsia on the first day of a short work week: The General Assembly is back in Raleigh!  Yes, just six weeks or so after blowing town, the honorables are back for what will apparently be a two-day veto session. In case you’ve forgotten, the state Constitution (Article II, Section 22) requires an affirmative vote of three-fifths of those present and voting to override a gubernatorial veto and, at this point, it looks very much as if both the House and Senate will produce margins of this amount or greater on both bills at issue. In other words, it would appear that Governor McCrory’s September is about to get off to a start very much consistent with his extremely lousy August – a month so bad that it prompted his hometown newspaper to question his truthfulness.  

And speaking of important official events in Raleigh today, the State Board of Elections will convene at 1:00 to take up an appeal of a candidate challenge to Montravias King from Pasquotank County. Click here to watch the live feed from WRAL. The Board will also consider the appeals for one-stop alternate plans for 2013 municipal elections in Watauga and Pitt counties. Students and civic groups including NCPIRG, Common Cause, Ignite NC, NCSU Student Power Union, Democracy NC and Rock the Vote will be on hand to call on the Board to reverse recent decisions by local county boards of elections that make it harder for young people to vote.

And speaking of “must see” video, Read More

From the good people at Common Cause NC:

North Carolina kills pre-registration law as Colorado enacts its own.

As North Carolina repeals the law allowing 16 & 17 year olds to pre-register to vote, Colorado becomes the 9th state in the nation to adopt such a law.

Earlier this month, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law the bill (H589) to end the pre-registration program, five days after Colorado’s new law went into effect.

“It’s a real mystery why the legislature and the Governor feel a program that enhanced high school civics education and allowed 16 & 17 year olds to pre-register to vote has to end,” said Bob Phillips, Common Cause North Carolina executive director.  

“The program was virtually cost free and helped young people understand the importance of voting. How can that possibly be a bad thing?”   Read More

Voting rightsMaybe MSBNC personality Joe Scarborough was just trying to play dumb on his “Morning Joe” show this morning in order to spur controversy and debate. Let’s hope so. Because if the man really is as uninformed as he appeared while making a series of stunningly off-the-mark comments about North Carolina’s new monster voter suppression law, he needs to think seriously about finding another line of work.

The comments came during a mind-numbing, seven-minute exchange between Scarborough, his co-host Mika Brzezinski and Politico’s Mike Allen.  During the segment, Scarborough kept repeating the right-wing prevarication that critics are wrongfully calling Pay McCrory a “racist” because North Carolina’s new voting law is really just a modest little measure that simply requires voters to show a photo ID to vote – a requirement that should be no problem for everyone to comply with.

As has been documented repeatedly, however, the new voter ID requirement is a hell of a lot more than just a modest little change in the law. It is, in fact, a potentially huge barrier to hundreds of thousands of people — people who unlike Scarborough — don’t hop on planes or rent videos at stores at which they are unknown on a regular basis.

But more to the point, of course, is the fact that North Carolina’s new law does much, much more that simply require a photo ID to vote. As Scarborough’s MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow explained in great detail just last week, North Carolina’s new election laws are about suppressing voters who are thought likely to vote Democratic (i.e. people of color, poor  people and young people) in lots of new ways. Indeed, they’re about changing the electoral dynamics in this narrowly-divided state so that it will remain safely conservative for years to come. 

And if Scarborough thinks that’s an exaggeration, he ought to check out this post on The Maddow Blog from earlier today in which Steve Benen quotes far-right grande dame Phyllis Schlafly from an article she authored for the certifiably nuts World Net Daily in which she freely admits the true goal of the new law in North Carolina: Read More

Rev. barber 2Invoking the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech to “go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana,” North Carolina NAACP President William Barber urged civil rights advocates around the country to “go back to North Carolina” at press event today in Durham. Speaking as the nation prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Barber told the assembled audience that “North Carolina is our Selma of today” in the nation’s centuries-old battle for civil rights.

In a wide-ranging talk that focused mostly on the activities of local boards of elections to restrict college student voting in the aftermath of the passage of the so-called “Monster” voter suppression bill, Barber announced that the NAACP would be sponsoring 13 separate Forward Together Movement rallies next Wednesday August 28 (the actual 50th anniversary of the ’63 march) in each of the state’s 13 congressional districts – see below for details.

He also announced along with NAACP attorney Jamie Phillips that the NAACP had established a new toll-free hotline that North Carolinians can call with concerns about voting and voting rights. The number is Read More

Powell was in Raleigh today as the keynote speaker for the North Carolina CEO Forum.

From the News & Observer’s Under the Dome:

With Gov. Pat McCrory in the audience, former Secretary of State Colin Powell took aim at North Carolina’s new voting law Thursday, saying it hurts the Republican Party, punishes minority voters and makes it more difficult for everyone to vote.

“I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote,” said Powell, a Republican, at the CEO Forum in Raleigh.

“It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs,” Powell continued. “These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away.”

The retired general served as the keynote speaker at the event and made his remarks moments after McCrory left the stage. His comments represent the most high-profile criticism of the Republican-crafted law that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls, cuts early voting days and makes it harder for students to vote.

Read more here.