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Two nonpartisan good government groups — Common Cause and Demos — are out with a new study today that warns about plans to block ballot access in North Carolina and nine other states. This is from the release accompanying it: 

“Common Cause and Demos have analyzed laws in 10 key states governing voter intimidation and organized efforts to block Americans from voting . The report reviews Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, summarizing each state’s practices, and providing a set of recommendations for improvement. Read More

Former state representative Stephen LaRoque appeared in federal court in Raleigh last week to face charges of theft and money laundering. Pending trial in Greenville at a later date LaRoque was released on an unsecured bond and restricted to travel within the 44 counties of the Eastern District of North Carolina. That has not stopped another case involving LaRoque from making it all the way to the Supreme Court in Washington DC. The spotlight will be on voter suppression, namely the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act, not LaRoque, though LaRoque’s name and statements appear in documents submitted to the court, including statements referring to his status as a state legislator.
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Young voters were a key constituent group in the 2008 presidential election, and they may yet play a key role in not just the presidential race, but also in state and local elections.

To protect the right to vote, students from Shaw University, St. Augustine’s College and N.C. State will speak out at the General Assembly today at 1 pm against voter suppression through stringent Voter ID laws.

Meanwhile, a separate effort by The Student Engagement and Empowerment Network (SEEN), a network of historically Black colleges and universities in North Carolina, aims to draw out young voters during the early voting period leading up to election day on May 8.

For this campaign, SEEN is partnering with N.C. spoken word and hip hop artists to produce videos and performances, engaging the youth in awareness of and participation in the state and local politics.

Check out this video featuring spoken artist Poet.She:

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Click here for more information on SEEN’s efforts.

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The rogue legislative session continues to get more and more absurd.

The latest rumor making the rounds of the Legislative Building and the Tweetosphere is that Republicans are considering the certifiably treacherous step of passing a series of “local bills” to enact mandatory photo ID for voting on a county-by-county basis.

The Governor cannot veto “local bills” — which are supposed to deal with truly local matters and are certainly not supposed to be used as a subterfuge to avoid constitutional requirements for passing statewide legislation. The R’s already employed this trick to evade the Guv’s veto of legislation that would have limited access to federal student loans for community college students.

As Chris Fitzsimon made clear in this morning’s column on the amazingly arrogant House Majority Leader, “This is clearly an ideological crusade now, not a legislative session.”