Help Get Out the Progressive Vote! We're looking for dedicated volunteers to support our  postcard campaign to get out the vote leading up to the 2020 election! You'll find details and answers to LOTS of your questions here - be sure to read the FAQs. PLEASE SHARE THIS widely! Round up some friends, gather some colored pens, and get ready to STAMP NC BLUE IN 2020!

Early voting for NC-03, the late Walter Jones' district, began last week and ends Tuesday July 9th. This is the runoff between state Rep. Greg Murphy, a doctor from Greenville, and Dr. Joan Perry, of Kinston. This is a Republican primary, but unaffiliated and independent voters may vote. Not that either Rep. Murphy or Dr. Perry lean particularly toward the center (they've both expressed their support for Trump), but at least Rep. Murphy has made noise about expanding Medicaid (albeit in a very Republican fashion). If you know of any unaffiliated (or Republican) voter in NC-03 who wasn't planning on voting, now's the time to put a bug in their ear.

Our own Governor Cooper provides a positive and necessary example for our slate of Democratic presidential candidates, writes NC Senator Jay Chaudhuri for The Hill.

"Ultimately, the responsibility for winning back state legislatures falls not on progressive national donors or national leadership, but on the next Democratic president of the United States. Given the importance of  who controls state legislatures in 2020, every single Democratic  candidate for president needs to step up and help Democratic state legislative candidates... Fortunately, these presidential candidates already have a playbook with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina. After winning his election in 2016, Cooper spent the next two years headlining dozens and dozens of fundraisers for Democratic Senate and House candidates. He also raised an additional $7 million that helped level the playing field on fundraising. As a result of these efforts, in 2018, Cooper, in partnership with the Democratic House and Senate Caucuses, broke the supermajority in both chambers."

Well said, Sen. Chaudhuri.

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Two weeks ago we first learned that, after two years and change of asking and waiting, the Department of Homeland Security is finally opening an investigation into what happened with Durham County's voter roll software during the 2016 election. I urge you to read this piece featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer not because it contains anything we didn't know, but because it's well-written and aware of the nuance and complicated nature of North Carolinian politics– which is saying something coming from a publication and an author outside of North Carolina. It also reminds us that what happens locally has implications nationwide, and vice versa. It's time to start (or re-start) yelling at Senators Burr and Tillis (figuratively of course) to pressure Mitch McConnell into giving states the help they need to secure their elections. I've said it before and I'll say it again: none of the work we do to secure a Democratic candidate for 2020 will amount to much if we won't be able to make our own votes for them count.

Last week the state Senate voted to advance HB370 to the House. If it passes there, it'll go to Governor Cooper's desk. HB30 is the bill that requires NC sheriffs to check everyone they arrest against the federal immigration database and hold noncitizens for ICE. If they don't comply, the new law could force them from office. Fortunately, Governor Cooper seems likely to veto the law:

"As the former top law enforcement officer in our state, I know that  current law allows us to lock up and prosecute dangerous criminals  regardless of immigration status. This bill isn’t about that – in  addition to being unconstitutional, it’s about scoring political points  and using fear to divide us."

The sheriffs themselves, who too take a stance against the law, say they feel targeted, especially after a few of the newly-elected ones campaigned on developing better relationships with the Latinx and immigrant communities in their jurisdictions.

Just assume that when you read the title of a bill or provision that a Republican created, bill itself will do the exact opposite of what the title implies. So it is with the “Modernize Selection of Instructional Materials", a provision in the House budget proposal. But, as NC Policy Watch notes, it'll "return us to the stone age" by changing the way schools are required to select materials for sex ed programs. Instead of using the statewide program for reviewing and selecting textbooks and other materials, the provision will require that school districts conduct public hearings and allow anybody to challenge use of any material in any school district. "Every such challenge – no matter how spurious – would instigate a local hearing. Decisions at the local hearing could be  appealed, spurring another costly hearing at the state level."

One can only imagine how many right-wing religious extremists would be foaming at the mouth to kill sex-ed classes altogether. Even scarier: the thought of neo-Nazis able to challenge the way history and sociology are taught. "House budget writers – Reps. Elmore, Fraley, Horn, Hurley, and Sauls  – have somehow skated so far without facing hard questions about this provision. It’s time to hold them accountable."

Just as we learn that the contamination found in Wake County wells could stretch beyond just Wake, a new set of numbers paints a sobering picture for the future of North Carolina's efforts to combat climate change. Eastern North Carolina, which coincidentally is most of NC-03, "appeared often on the list of high-cost, highly vulnerable locations. [Eastern NC] ranked first in the nation in costs to build hundreds of miles of sea walls: $28 billion." While you're urging your NC-03 friends to vote, urge them to think about this too.

Luckily for us, the League of Conservation voters has created a website that tracks the 2020 presidential candidates' views on and pledges regarding combating climate change. How does your preferred candidate stack up? Contact them and ask. While you're at it, ask them if they'll do as Sen. Chaudhuri advised, and help get forward-thinking Democrats into local and state offices.

On the lighter side, two internationally-known celebrities have made the news for the connections to North Carolina, one decidedly positive and one decidedly....not. Singer Barry Manilow has donated $100,000 worth of new band equipment and instruments to East Duplin High School, who entered a contest by the Manilow Music Project. Congratulations, East Duplin HS, and thank you, Mr. Manilow!

Meanwhile, author Nicholas Sparks (you know, the guy who wrote The Notebook) has allegedly tried to ban a LGBT club and silence student protests at a Christian school he helped to found in New Bern, NC. When the CEO of a Christian school sues you over a “pattern of harassment, racism and homophobia", you know you did something wrong.

gif via giphy

Tags: (ICYMI, NCGA, NC-03, climate change, election security)

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