Our focus is NC, but since Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein's status is unclear, make sure you check the MoveOn Nobody is Above the Law site. Search your zip code and sign up to be notified of events near you if Rosenstein is fired.
Here's a good list of hurricane volunteer & assistance resources from our friends at Stronger NC.
Stamp NC Blue PAC has kicked off a special one-time round of postcards to registered NC voters encouraging them to vote for Anita Earls for NC Supreme Court in November. Find out more, donate, and volunteer for this new effort and share the link! Stamp NC Blue supports the progressive values of NC's Democratic candidates.
Hurricane Florence left a mighty footprint on the state, which is still deep enough to dominate the news cycle this week. Governor Cooper called a special session for Florence relief to originally be convened on October 9th. Legislators appealed to have this session convened sooner, and Cooper has moved it up to October 2nd. Congress is considering a $1.7 billion aid package. WRAL reports:
“The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee says the money would be available as grants to states to help rebuild housing and public works, and assist businesses as they recover from the storm.”
It's unclear exactly how much of this aid will end up helping individuals and families that need it most. Hopefully this effort will be more successful than the Hurricane Matthew relief that never came, or the FEMA aid that doesn't go where it should.
I linked to the Lumbee Tribe's website in the paragraph above because I encourage you to take a look at this by-the-numbers summary of the impact of Hurricane Florence (that we know of so far), noting the fifth and sixth paragraphs. Chances are your resources are stretched thin regardless of Florence's impact on you, but please consider donating to the Lumbee's recovery efforts. Lacking nationally recognized tribal status, they have even fewer resources and aid than other Native American tribes may.
Weather affects politics, as NC Policy Watch notes, but this time, big weather has affected big politics. By big politics I mean, of course, the midterms (early voting starts October 17th by the way), during which North Carolinians will vote on every seat in the NCGA, as well as our 13 seats in the US House. We'll also vote on the 6 constitutional amendments with the murky, confounding language. You know, the ones that the NCGOP put forth to siphon power away from the governor into the legislature (good news; formal opposition to the amendments has begun).
We will vote, but Hurricane Florence has thrown up multiple barriers to the process, which NC Policy Watch outlines in the article linked above. Lest we forget, North Carolina Boards of Elections-- largely in counties worst hit by the storm-- also have the subpoena for voter records from ICE to contend with. Florence's timing was bad on multiple levels, but Florence holds no malice aforethought. ICE and its parent Republican administration does. They seek to purposefully sow discord within our state to bully our ballots away from us. I hope the weather on Election Day is fair.
Even if it is, and even if cleanup progresses apace, we are likely to see a reduction in early voting sites, once again, thanks to Republicans. In June, the NCGA passed a law standardizing operating hours for polling places. This seems like a great idea because it reduces confusion and sets a consistent time upon which voters can depend. But it didn't come with any budget increases, so counties already strapped for resources had to close polling places in order to meet the hour requirements for the new law and stay within their budgets. Want to take a wild guess at which counties this law affected the most? If you guessed some of the same counties that were hardest hit by Florence and the ICE subpoena, you'd be right. Fortunately, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement is working diligently to get absentee ballots mailed and voter registration packages sent to shelters currently in operation. Kudos to PrintElect, the ballot printing company (located in New Bern, another area hit hard by Florence), for meeting their deadline through hell and high water.
As floodwaters recede they expose a range of physical impacts on our people and lands, from the damage to coal ash sites and their leakage into our water supply to the massive toll on the livestock industry in North Carolina (warning for images of animal death). So too has the water exposed an issue with far broader implications than just this storm: how climate change, through dangerously changing weather events such as Florence, hurts some of us less and some of us more.
All of this is disheartening, but a large part of an activist's job is to transmute anger and sorrow into compassionate action. So all the more reason, for me at least, to do what I can to help with flood recovery efforts and balance the need to inform voters of everything that's at stake in this election as they rebuild. Because it's not just some politicians' terms of office on which we vote; it's come down to us using our votes as our way of advocating for our lives and livelihoods. We vote to live.