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Republican attempts to control elections have left the state in chaos, but they want it that way

In 2013, upon taking control of the governorship and with supermajorities in both chambers, the North Carolina General Assembly entered into the business of statutory election interference. Since then, they have passed five laws intending to seize control over the elections processes to protect themselves. Almost all of these have been struck down by either the courts or voters.

This discord has thrown a complicated wrench into investigations into allegations of election fraud in the 9thCongressional District. A month before the November 2018 election, a three-judge panel ruled the changes Republicans made to the State Board were unconstitutional, but allowed the it to remain in place during the election and subsequent investigation. 

However, as the investigation into Congressman-elect Mark Harris’ apparent election misconduct dragged on, the court ordered the board dissolved. Gov. Cooper moved to appoint an interim board, but Republicans refused to submit any nominees. As of now, even as officials uncover one of the most widespread examples of election fraud, the State Board of Elections sits in limbo, unable to fully investigate, compromise, or certify any evidence or results as a result of Republican efforts to meddle with the board.

How did we get here?

Read on for more.

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GOP Lawmakers Push Constitutional Amendment to Deadlock Elections Board Just After Election Fraud was Reported to NCGOP

In the days following the May 2018 Republican primary for the 9thCongressional district seat campaign staff for Robert Pittenger reported concerns of ballot irregularities to the NCGOP and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). Incumbent Rep. Pittenger lost the Republic…

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What to expect from North Carolina Republicans when it comes to the new voter ID bill

Next week legislators will return to the North Carolina General Assembly for a legislative session to pass the details of the voter ID constitutional amendment, among other things. Based on the 2013 “monster” voter ID bill that was struck down by the courts for “targeting African-Americans with almost surgical precision,” we have a few ideas about what to expect in the new voter ID law.

College IDs won’t be acceptable forms of photo ID.Lawmakers will decide what specific types of IDs the state will accept at the polls. In 2013, Republicans voted against an amendment that would have allowed college students to use their student IDs to vote. Conservative blog Civitas claims that “while it may seem harmless, student IDs fail to provide needed information.”

Those who are unable to present a photo ID when voting won’t be able to cast a provisional ballot. In 2013, Republicans voted against an amendment that would have allowed people without IDs to cast provisional ballots and then present their ID to Elections Board at canvass. This would have allowed more leeway for people who may have lost or temporarily misplaced their IDs, people who are waiting on the DMV to send their photo ID after renewing it, or people who don’t have their photo IDs on hand for a number of other reasons. 

The photo ID law will not apply to mail-in absentee voting. In 2013 Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake) proposed an amendment to have the same voter ID legislation apply to mail-in absentee voting claiming it’s more likely to cast a fraudulent vote by mail than in-person. The amendment failed. 

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Rep. Ted Davis tried to block protections for survivors of rape using technicality.

Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) asked legislators to vote no on an amendment to one of his bills meant to clarify ambiguities in NC’s laws covering survivors of sexual assault or rape. The amendment, proposed by Rep. Chaz Beasley (D-Mecklenburg), offered protections for survivors of what the law defines as “date rape.”

I don't believe I have the authority to change the language," Davis said, claiming the amendment was not relevant to the rest of his bill.

After Davis’s request, the majority of Republicans voted against offering legal protections for “date rape” survivors. The amendment passed by two votes, 56-54.

Beasley’s amendment “better protect[s] victims that have been drugged without their knowledge.”

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Top 10 social media fails by Republicans in #ncpol

Some #ncpol officials have made some questionable social media choices and we’ve picked our ten favorite fails. They include tweets, questionable Twitter likes, spelling errors, and all-around bad social media etiquette…especially for someone serving in public office. While many of these are lighthearted in nature, several display concerning, often sexist, tendencies of some of the men seeking office this year.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Nelson Dollar (R-Wake)

Rep. Nelson Dollar is a Republican representing House District 36. He has been in the General Assembly for over a decade and has been senior Chairman of the Appropriations Committee since Republicans took control of the House in 2011. Working as House Republicans main budget writer Dollar, according to the News & Observer, “officially […] is senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Unofficially, he’s the House gatekeeper.”

 

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Campaign Finance: 1st Quarter, 2018

Campaign finance reports for the first quarter of 2018 were due at the end of April. Here, we've aggregated the information for the candidates we highlighted in our Races to Watch Report. We will be updating these tables as the last few reports are submitted. Be sure to subscribe to our feed for daily updates on campaign finance. 

Find campaign finance information for NC House of Representatives candidates here

Find campaign finance information for NC Senate candidates here.

 

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Complaint filed with State Ethics Commission says Sen. Joel Ford used taxpayer money for campaign mail 

Senator Joel Ford (D-Mecklenburg) sent at least one newly registered voter a letter breaking state ethics rules.
 
The Insider reported on mail sent from Ford’s office on official stationary encouraging them to vote and to follow Ford on Twitter where he regularly promotes his campaign. The letter appears to have been mailed using state resources, including official stationary. 
 
Lawmakers are barred from sending this type of letter using state resources within 60 days of an election in which he or she is on the ballot in a contested race. Ford faces a primary with strong challenger Mujtaba Mohammed, a Charlotte lawyer who has received several key endorsements, including from the Charlotte Black Caucus, Equality NC and the Charlotte Observer Editorial Board. 
 
The letter was postmarked inside of the 60-day window, a clear ethics violation, which prompted the complaint filed by Real Facts NC Executive Director Daniel Gilligan.
 
Ford himself acknowledged sending the mail in question in an article from the Insider
 
“Desperate and facing the end of his political career it’s clear Senator Ford sought to abuse the perks of his office,” said Gilligan. “We hope the ethics commission will investigate these abuses by a longtime politician.” 
 
Read the full complaint here.
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