Republican voter suppression tactics

Filing begins for 2020 Legislative races in two weeks

Last year Democrats broke the GOP's supermajority in both houses of the General Assembly, and Democrats also fielded candidates in all 170 contests. How much the latter contributed to the former might be a subject for debate, but we would be foolish to write it off as a coincidence. Having a full slate of candidates changed the dynamic, and it also served to provide every Democrat in the state with General Assembly candidates to vote for. It was a monumental task, to be sure, but we can do it again. Follow this link to a WRAL story of the new Legislative districts, where you will find interactive maps for both the House and the Senate. p.s. I would recommend an "outside in" approach to candidate recruitment, putting effort into finding good candidates in the hard-to-find, mostly rural districts first.

GOP uses a Lottery machine(?!) to choose district maps

And once again the circus comes to town:

The North Carolina Senate used a state lottery machine Tuesday to pick base maps to work off of for its court-ordered redistricting. The unprecedented scene came after legislative staffers winnowed down a pack of 1,000 potential maps, drawn by a computer algorithm, to a handful of top contenders based on specific criteria.

Legislative staff spent much the day pulling the five maps that scored the best on a combination of compactness, fewest precincts split and fewest municipal boundaries split for each of seven clusters of counties that must be re-drawn, including one that includes the Senate district in Wake and Franklin counties.

Before they go any further with this dubious approach, somebody needs to confer with the judges about not only this Lottery thing, but also the use of the 1,000 generated maps they're using as a base "pool" or whatever. They might also want to mention to said judges House Republicans are going behind closed doors to scheme:

Monday Numbers: Voter purges reflect a Jim Crow shift

Stifling the voices that need to be heard the most:

17 million – the number of voters removed from rolls nationwide between 2016 and 2018

40 percent – how much higher the median purge rate was over the 2016 to 2018 period in jurisdictions previously subject to preclearance versus jurisdictions that were not covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

1.1 million – the number of voters who wouldn’t have been removed from voter rolls between 2016 and 2018 if purge rates in the counties that were covered by Section 5 were the same as the rates in non-Section 5 counties.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Rumors of a "post-racial" society, especially when it comes to voting access, are greatly exaggerated. Understand, the Voting Rights Act was not some sort of overreaction by the Federal government to a few isolated incidents; Southern Congressmen and Senators worked hand-in-hand with their state-level counterparts to actively deny Constitutional rights to tens of thousands of African-Americans, and that oppression thrived in the ambiguity of the times:

Republicans try to defend the indefensible on gerrymandering

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Denial is a river in Egypt:

Bell's testimony came Wednesday morning in the eighth day of a trial over the legislative voting district maps the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved two years ago. Common Cause North Carolina alleges that the maps are were drawn illegally into gerrymandered districts that favor GOP candidates.

Trying to maximize GOP seats in the House would dilute Republican strength in many districts and would wind up costing the party seats, he said. That, would cause a revolt in the House Republican caucus, which on the best of days is like trying to manage a wheelbarrow full of frogs, he said.

That little theory comes apart when you look at what actually happened: Republicans gained majorities in both houses after the 2010 (national) GOP Legislative wave, but they didn't achieve their Supermajority until after the maps were gerrymandered. And the Blue Wave of 2018, which flipped control of the U.S. House to a strong Democratic majority, still could not overcome those gerrymandered NC Legislative districts. So you can stick that "it wouldn't make sense for us to do it" argument where the sun don't shine, because we know you did it. And this makes even less sense:

Holmes v. Moore challenge to Voter ID Amendment being argued today

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Currently in front of a 3-judge panel, but destined for the NC Supreme Court:

Specifically, the lawsuit argues that the law violates multiple provisions of the state constitution by: 1) purposefully discriminating against and disproportionately impacting African American and American Indian voters; 2) unduly burdening the fundamental right to vote; 3) creating separate classes of voters, treated differently with respect to their access to the fundamental right to vote; 4) imposing a cost on voting; 5) imposing a property requirement for voting; and 6) impeding voters’ ability to engage in political expression and speech by casting a ballot.

Here's the full complaint (sorry, can't copy & paste), and a few Tweets from NC Policy Watch's intrepid court reporter Melissa Boughton:

Once again, SCOTUS rules against democracy

This ^ right here. It takes power to fix problems, power we don't have. The 2020 Legislative races just became critical, even moreso than the Presidential race.

NC Republicans lied in court to delay fixing their Gerrymandered maps

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Their skeletons are busting out of the closet:

The Republicans told the federal court hearing the map case that they would not be able to draw new legislative districts and hold public hearings on them in time for a proposed special election in late 2017 or early 2018. In fact, Common Cause said, Mr. Hofeller’s files show that almost all the work was already done: proposed new boundaries had been drawn for more than 97 percent of the state’s proposed Senate districts and 90 percent of House districts.

A senior Republican legislator who was involved in the redistricting, Representative David R. Lewis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yeah, I bet he didn't. This also partly explains why the NC GOP has been pushing so hard to get those hard drives out of circulation:

Big Brother is watching: Election observer bill goes too far

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When conspiracy theorists are allowed all up in your bidness:

Election observers shall have the explicit right to:(1) Begin observation duties from the time the judge enters the polling location until all ballot containers are officially sealed and the voting enclosure is secured for the day.1

(2) Hear the name and address of each voter when the voter first announces the voter's name at the initial check-in table and ask any election official to repeat the name or address of the voter if the observer was unable to hear the voter's name or address when it was initially announced.

This is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start:

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