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This week's ICYMI is actually three weeks' worth, so I'll make this recap as brief as possible. Grab a snack and a pet for your lap and settle in!

Over the break, federal judge Loretta Biggs issued a preliminary injunction against the new voter ID law voted into the North Carolina constitution by voters in 2018.

(TL;DR? Read a summary of the timeline of the ruling and responses to it here and a FAQ here.)

The preliminary injunction is pending appellate litigation ongoing in the North Carolina NAACP case challenging the voter ID constitutional amendment that the GOP supermajority rammed through before their elections. The North Carolina NAACP, as well as several branches of the organization around the state filed suit in December 2018 over the new voter ID amendment, noting its similarity to a prior photo ID bill that was struck down because it was racially discriminatory.”

The injunction blocks the photo ID requirement only temporarily; the results of the NAACP's suit will tell us whether it'll be permanent or not.

Par for the course, the Republicans have worked themselves into a proper froth. Dan Bishop offered what was at once the funniest and most incomprehensibly, hypocritically idiotic response to Judge Biggs' injunction that has crossed my eyes.

Yes, you read that right: Bishop is saying that no longer requiring photo ID to vote is, in fact, voter suppression. Pot, meet kettle.

Requiring photo ID to vote at all is inherently discriminatory against those who, for one reason or another, struggle getting an ID in the first place or who are ignorant of the law. The costs-- actualvoter suppression-- far outweigh any benefits. Voter fraud is rare enough as it is, and a photo ID requirement isn't the best way to cut down on it anyway. But if we must have a photo ID requirement, there's a way to handle it that would shrink, as much as possible, the risk of voter suppression. Even if you think showing photo ID at the polls is a good idea, you should welcome Judge Biggs' injunction, because it's a chance for North Carolina to get voter ID right.

Attorney General Josh Stein has said that he will fight the injunction “to avoid confusion” at the polls. He predicts, though, that “photo identification will not be required to vote in the primary per the district court’s decision."

For now, the injunction holds, and the State Board of Elections has told counties to stop issuing free voter IDs. At least for the March 3rd primary, no voter ID will be required.

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You can't throw an internet rock lately without hitting a story about how impactful 2020 will be for the country and for North Carolina. Here are some predictions, some warnings, and some hopes, in brief!

North Carolina on the National Stage

From The Robesonian, via The Carolina Journal: North Carolina could tip the national balance in either party's favor. “North Carolina is among only a handful of states where Republicans and Democrats are roughly tied. Our electoral outcomes aren’t preordained... [candidates are] coming here to win, not just to play.”

Elizabeth Warren's campaign is taking the above admonition seriously: they're opening offices in North Carolina and took a stand-- a good one-- onthe Silent Sam drama.

Last week, several North Carolinian Republicans in Congress, including Sen. Thom Tillis, Rep. Dan Bishop, and Rep. Mark Walker, added their names to a brief urging SCOTUS to reexamine (read: overturn) Roe v. Wade. If your lawmaker is on the list in the article, contact them and urge them to retract their names. The debate around abortion is, put simply, an argument over whether a woman has the right to control her own body. Tell your lawmaker they are on the wrong side of the argument if they're urging for Roe v Wade's overturning.

Good news: Rep. Mark Meadows will not be running for re-election! He joins Rep. George Holding and Rep. Mark Walker in bowing out of seeking another term.

North Carolina's population growth could win it another seat in the US House after the 2020 census. Fortunately, there will be no citizenship question on the 2020 census so we're that much closer to being fully counted, and closer still to putting another Democrat in Congress!

Despite the National GOP's objections, North Carolina has added two other Republicans onto the presidential primary ballot.

In case you hadn't done your daily recommended allotment of eye-rolling and groaning today, you can read various North Carolina Republicans' responses to the impeachment of Trump here.

North Carolina's state elections

Reminder: check the candidate filing tracker by our friends at Real Facts NC for a detailed breakdown of who's running for what, and who's not running.

There are several judicial filings to watch as well. Find them here.

McCrory won't be running for Governor after all; instead he'll look to 2022, when Sen. Richard Burr's term is up.

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Here are some legislative races to keep an eye on in 2020, complete with maps!

In the state that passed HB2, the horrible Bathroom Bill, there are 2 trans candidates running for NCGA seats.

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“One of the most powerful and longest-serving members of state House leadership announced Thursday she will not seek re-election next year.” Rep. Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus) will not run again. She “earned a reputation as a pragmatic, hardworking expert in education policy, less ideological and more open to compromise than some of her peers.”

"Former Forsyth County school board member and current Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson [has] filed...to run for lieutenant governor.” Mark Johnson has been a thorn in many teachers' sides lately, to use a drastic understatement, so hopefully this is good news for teachers, if we can put a Democrat back in this office.

Just when it looked like Sen. Thom Tillis would enter the 2020 race uncontested, two challengers have emerged. “Paul Wright and Larry Holmquist, both having run for office in the past, filed before the deadline Friday to give Republican primary voters a choice. For so many of those voters, any alternative just about will do.”

The Hofeller Files are finally out! Find Stephanie's trove here, and brew a big mug of tea and settle in with some snacks to read. If you need a refresher on what the heck the Hofeller files are and who Stephanie Hofeller is, or even if you don't, I recommend you read this interview with her.

The Silent Sam fiasco has mostly faded from the news, but as we all know, that doesn't mean it's totally gone. Did you know that a PAC established by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, to whom UNC has just given $2.5 million for taking Silent Sam, is funding the campaigns of some Republican lawmakers including Sen. Berger and Speaker Tim Moore?

Read more about the Sons of Confederate Veterans here, preferably with something a bit stronger than tea.

Just in case you had any leftover sympathy or benefit of the doubt to give UNC, lay that to rest. The campus and its police tapped into the cell phones of anti-racism protesters at Silent Sam protests using a controversial surveillance technology called geofencing.

A DHS review of Durham's polling software found no evidence of hacking in 2016, when voting sites in Durham had to shut down their electronic poll books due to malfunction. Good news, I suppose, but “references in special counsel Robert Mueller's report and other federal documentssuggested the poll books' software provider was targeted by Russian military intelligence.”

Against this already confusing background, the State Board of Elections had voted to confirm a set of voting machines that had not been properly tested. Then, the company building the machines (Elections Systems & Software) said it wouldn't have enough of them ready for the elections, so they were switching one system out for another that had not been tested at all. Now, another company, ClearBallot, has pulled its business out of North Carolina completely, citing a monopoly on the part of ES&S.

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Good environmental news!

Duke Energy has finally agreed to excavate all of its unlined coal ash pits in North Carolina-- some 80 million tons of coal ash-- and put it into safer, lined landfills.

This is thanks, in part, to the dogged efforts of North Carolinian environmentalists, who scored some other impressive victories in 2019 and made the darkness a little brighter.

If you've stuck with me this far, thank you, and here's a reward for your patience and follow-through.

Tags: (ICYMI, voter ID, NCGA, 2020 elections, census 2020, silent sam, Hofeller files, election security, voter issue: environment)

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