From our friends at Neighbors on Call: Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook

Date and time: Tuesday, June 25 2019 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Location: Durham Southwest Library, 3605 Shannon Rd., Durham, NC 27707

Narrated by Emmy and Tony award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright, and shot during the chaotic 2016 election, the documentary film identifies and unpacks a shrewd ten-part strategy developed by political partisans to suppress votes that would be cast against them. North Carolina features centrally in the 80-minute film. We’ll have time for discussion afterwards. RSVP here.

Mark your calendars! The special elections for NC-03 (Walter Jones seat) and NC-09 (you remember that one) are on September 10th. Confirm your voter registration information is correct and current here.

Republicans in the House couldn't manage to scrape together enough votes to override Governor Cooper's veto of the Born-Alive abortion bill. Hooray! This may pave the way for a more contentious budget approval process down the line, some political analysts think, now that the GOP supermajority is broken and Democrats can force NCGA leadership to work with Gov. Cooper. John Dinan, an expert on state legislatures, believes "that the legislature will pass a state compromise budget without Medicaid expansion and Cooper will veto it." If so, let's hope that Democrats do like they did with the Born-Alive bill, uphold the Governor's veto, and force Republicans and Phil Berger to address the budget with an option to expand Medicaid, which has gained bipartisan support.

To hear Sen. Joyce Krawiec tell it, this is a non-issue, because “The GOP has always been willing to compromise with the governor."

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I hope someone writes that down and quotes her next time there's a contentious round of negotiations at the NCGA...

...along with this piece by Thomas Mills of Politics NC, which captures perfectly what we already know: that the Republicans don't actually care about governing; they only care about amassing power, and they know the easiest way to do that is divide and conquer. They were successful when they gained a supermajority in 2010, and have been moderately successful since. We must always keep this in mind.

During the 2016 election, Durham County voter check-in software was disrupted. This wasn't actually the polls themselves; the software they used to check in voters and record their information (including whether they had voted), failed. Whether this actually resulted in lost or uncounted votes isn't known. Fortunately-- finally-- the federal government is stepping in to try to find that out, among other things. Specifically, if this was in fact a result of pollworker error, as chief operating officer of the software company VR systems, Ben Martin, says, or if it was an effort by Russian hackers to influence the election. It's difficult to say how productive this investigation will be, since the trail is, at this point, 3 years cold. But one thing is crystal clear: none of the sweating, arguing, debating, polling, and fighting over the Democratic nominee we do now will matter in 2020 if we do not have secure elections. This means using paper ballots that can't be hacked and poll book software that hasn't been the subject of the Mueller report.

Back in May, we discovered new documents proving that the late Mark Hofeller had masterminded the North Carolina GOP's worst gerrymanders. Now, we learn that he helped the Trump administration develop the citizenship question to place on the 2020 census. Documents released by his daughter after his death

“ that Hofeller concluded in an unpublished 2015 study that the citizenship question would significantly harm the political power of Latino communities and be 'advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.'”

If you held any more doubt that the Republicans' primary motivation was to gain and keep power, lay ye that to rest.

And now, attorneys on behalf of Common Cause are suing Rep. David Lewis and other Republicans in the NCGA, using some of the Hofeller files as proof of the lies they assert Lewis and his colleagues had told since 2017 about some of the districts redrawn that year, including the use of racial data in redrawing the districts.

A citizenship question won't just hurt people of color and the poor; it will also impact our queer and LGBTQ+ friends negatively. The census doesn't directly ask for one's sexual orientation or gender identity, but there are LGBTQ+/queer folks in every group that the citizenship question targets (and will harm). These people are doubly at risk. It's time to Queer the Census and fight for the representation and resources we all deserve.

The NC GOP has elected a new chairman to replace Robin Hayes: Michael Whatley, an energy consultant. I can't tell if that's scraping the bottom of the barrel or not.

Politics is like weather in North Carolina. If you don't like it, wait an hour; it'll change. The ban on wind energy is back around again. Contact your legislators via the NCLCV petition or the NCGA lookup tool and tell them to oppose SB377.

Every week we find new reasons to hate coal and the companies that use it. Contaminants from Duke's coal ash are showing up in Chatham County wellwater now, likely due to Hurricane Florence. UNC and Virginia Tech students in a capstone program collected data from wells across the state this past spring and are hoping to raise more awareness of how dangerous coal ash is and prepare both citizens and legislators for future storms.

Rev. William Barber was convicted of trespassing last week, after he was arrested for... trespassing. As part of his release from jail, he was banned from the Legislative Building grounds. That ban was lifted earlier last month, just in time for the May 1 Teacher's March. Rev. Barber is appealing the verdict, reminding us that

"...the real trespassers are those that are in those offices at  the legislature...what is really criminal is the way in which people have held on to power and then used that power to undermine living wages, health care, immigrant rights, women's rights and fundamental voting rights."


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Tags: ICYMI, NC-03, Gerrymandering, voting rights, NCGA,

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