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In case you missed it over the weekend, one of the nation’s sharpest experts on voting and voter suppression efforts, Prof. Richard Hasen of the University of California, Irvine, (click here to see Hasen interviewed on “News and Views”) had an excellent editorial in the New York Times entitled: “Voter Suppression’s New Pretext.”

He cites North Carolina’s now banished GOP official Don Yelton in the article:

“Unlike with race-based discrimination, which, if proved, could violate both the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution, the Supreme Court has refused to recognize a standard for policing even nakedly partisan gerrymandering.

But now, supporters of strict voter-ID, registration and other voting laws are trying to use the same defense they have used to defend gerrymandering. 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 rightsIt’s only August, but this is still a busy time when it comes to North Carolina elections. In accordance with state law, county boards of elections across the state are meeting today to appoint precinct judges for the upcoming local elections.

But what else will they do?

Will some counties look to close early voting sites located on college campuses? Indeed that is already happening is some parts of the state. 

Within a week of Governor Pat McCrory signing the new monster elections bill into law, several counties started taking unprecedented steps to make voting harder for all college students.

Last Monday, the Watauga County board of elections voted to eliminate the early voting site that had been located at Appalachian State University’s student center.

The following day, on the other end of the state, the board of elections in Pasquotank County went a step further in ruling Elizabeth City State University students may not run for local office and possibly will be barred from voting in future local elections.

And last Friday, the chair of the Forsyth County board of elections indicated his desire to have the board shut down the early voting polling site located at Winston Salem State University. 

So, who’s next?   Read More

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!

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