On March 26th, Common Cause will go before the US Supreme Court and argue that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. Stand with them in Raleigh! Details here. The NC Board of Elections is seeking public comment on 2 proposed rules regarding the implementation of the voter ID law until March 15th. Links and suggestions for input from Democracy NC are here. For other upcoming events, check the top of last Monday's post.
The NC-09 circus shows no sign of packing up anytime soon. The total arrests made in conjunction with the NC-09 fraud investigation is up to five now. Meanwhile, the field of Republican candidates for the new election is nebulous and noticeably missing some of the high-profile folks that either ran last time or showed interest in running. I can't imagine why...
Federal investigators from the Department of Justice have opened a grand jury investigation into the absentee ballot fraud in NC-09. The State Board of Elections, McCrae Dowless' attorney, and the Mark Harris campaign have all recieved subpoenas for documents related to the investigation. It's about time!
As much as I'd rather North Carolina be in the national spotlight for good reasons, I'm honestly glad the whole country is learning and thinking about what's going on in NC-09, because it generates pieces like this one, written by a nationally known and accoladed Public Official of the Year, Amber McReynolds. She lists 5 things NC officials could do to make sure absentee ballot fraud doesn't happen again. The NCGA should take her advice.
Until they do, we must be mindful of the lesson this whole mess has taught us: the integrity of our electoral system "must be guarded and valued not just by elections officials and the criminal justice system but by all citizens" because it's clear that all too often, those legislators and officials do not guard or value the system beyond what gain it's capable of giving to them personally.
To that end, I recommend you read this valuable report on election security compiled by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and start a conversation in your community and with your legislators about how we can protect our right to vote, which is our chiefest right as citizens and still the greatest tool we have.
But wait, there's more in the contested districts bingo! The situation in NC-03 is not the result of election fraud, thank goodness, but rather the death of Rep. Walter Jones. A total of 26 candidates have thrown their hats into the ring so far: 16 Republicans, 6 Democrats, 2 Libertarians, and one Constitutional Party candidate. Thank you to Longleaf Politics for the candidate roundup, complete with pictures.
The newly-minted North Carolina Board of Elections is plenty busy with the NC-09 and NC-03 elections, but it also has a few other loose ends to tie up, including a sheriff's race and an offshoot of McCrae Dowless' operations in Robeson County (most of his work was concentrated in Bladen County this time).
Governor Cooper named Justice Mark Davis to the NC Supreme Court to fill the seat justice Cheri Beasley vacated when she assumed the Chief Justice position. This gives Democrats a 6-1 majority in the highest court in the state. Congratulations, Mark!
Last week I noted that Governor Cooper released his budget. Among the things to look out for– and contact your legislators about, are Medicaid expansion, a 9% pay raise for teachers, and several million dollars' worth of infrastructure improvement. NC Policy Watch gives us some good talking points to use when discussing these issues with friends and asking your legislators to advocate on behalf of your community.
Doubtless you've heard about the bill--SB192-- that would give pay raises to teachers who carry guns in schools. You might have heard that it has passed its first hearing. But what does that actually mean, and what are that bill's, and others', actual chances of being passed, and the paths they take through the General Assembly? Par for the course, everything is complicated so it might not be easy to parse, but thankfully, we have a guide. And a bit of hope.
Rep. Graig Meyer is trying a style of campaign fundraising that's right at home in the digital age: a membership model similar to many online media businesses. To me, this isn't all that different from how other politicians treat their wealthier donors, but if the sin is one of scale, Rep. Meyer is on the lower end.
If you know of anyone who wants to run against Sen. Thom Tillis next year, light a fire under them! So far, there doesn't seem to be much clarity or commitment from either party about challenging Tillis. He should be a vulnerable incumbent in 2020; we need to have him shaking in his boots!
HB218 would require all sessions of the NC House to be broadcast to the public, including posting video of all sessions on the internet and televising sessions "that are of particular public importance". This is a great one to contact your reps about, and let them know how necessary this step toward transparency is. Who wouldn't want to watch "the true story of 120 strangers, picked to live in a house, to work together and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real"?