voting rights

Republicans don’t deserve credit for their sudden interest in fair maps

In what appears to be a sudden change of heart, House lawmakers met Thursday to discuss three bills that would establish different versions of a “nonpartisan” redistricting process, H140, H69, and H648. All three bills enjoyed large coalitions of bipartisan sponsors when they were filed in February and April 2019. However, for six to eight months Republican leaders refused to grant hearings and the bills were stalled until Thursday’s discussion. Legislative staff shared a chart dissecting the differences between each bill pictured below from journalist Jeff Tiberii

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“How to get away with Gerrymandering:” the NCGOP method

NC Republicans attended an ALEC conference in August where attendees learned “how to gerrymander” from influential Republican lawyers including segregationist enabler Thomas Farr?

Yesterday Slate broke a story about leaked audio revealing, according to Slate, “how state lawmakers are taught to trash evidence, avoid the word gerrymander, and create an appearance of bipartisanship.” The audio originated from an August 2019 conference hosted by the notorious American Legislative Exchange Council, commonly known as ALEC. ALEC is funded by conservative megadonors like Charles Koch and the late David Koch and supports Republican state lawmakers by pushing boilerplate conservative legislation.

The North Carolina lawmakers and their staff who attended this meeting went on to draw legislative maps just one month after hearing a presentation where an influential Republican lawyer advised “if you don’t want it turned over in discovery, you probably ought to get rid of it before you go home.” These lawmakers went on to draw legislative maps as ordered by the court including Rep. Destin Hall who chaired the House’s redistricting process and a staffer for Rep. David Lewis who served as the committee’s Senior Chair. 

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NCGA Republicans target immigrants with yet another bill rooted in false claims

  • S250 puts alleged noncitizens at risk by making their personal information, including name and address, public, potentially exposing them to harassment and violence.
  • S250 addresses a problem that does not exist and will incorrectly remove registered voters from the voting rolls.
    • The rationale for S250 is rooted in disproven claims that NC’s voting rolls are full of undetected noncitizens.
  • Texas lawmakers who approved a similar bill are facing a lawsuit from a group of voters who were incorrectly removed from voter rolls for being “foreign born.”
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Don’t get the wrong idea from NC09 hearings: Let’s not make it (even) harder to vote in NC

The NC09 hearings have shone the national spotlight onto what appears to be coordinated and well-funded election fraud in eastern North Carolina.

As the NC State Board of Elections investigators wade through piles of evidence and often lengthy testimony, one dangerous narrative has emerged: the notion that our entire voting system should be overhauled.

Yes, a few individuals appear to have taken advantage of the procedures for requesting and returning absentee ballots. But these revelations do not necessitate targeting past and future voters. The actions detailed during testimony, especially on the first day of the hearing, are already illegal. Making it more difficult to register to vote, to vote in person, or to vote by mail won’t prevent future abuses of NC election law by so-called “political operatives.”

Requiring a photo ID to vote, ending same-day registration, and shortening the early vote period would not have prevented the type of electoral fraud the NCSBE is investigating. Republican efforts to target in-person “voter fraud,” which is largely nonexistent, would not have prevented a single action described in the testimony so far.  Moreover, they have not made an effort to target the kind of election fraud and other questionable actions that occurred in NC09.

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2018 Session: Status of Constitutional Amendments

The N.C. General Assembly filed six potential amendments to the state constitution during the 2018 short session. This chart will be updated as they move through the NCGA.

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Republicans file constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, opens path for NCGA to define acceptable forms of ID

House Speaker Tim Moore announced filing of H1092, a bill that would add voter ID requirements to the NC Constitution if voters approve it on their ballots in November.

Voters would not know the specifics of photo ID requirements, like if student or military IDs count, prior to voting. If the measure is approved by voters, lawmakers would then be allowed to decide what specific types of ID the state would accept at the polls.

This move comes after Republicans’ 2013 “monster” voter ID bill was struck down by the courts for “targeting African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” ACLU and Democracy NC have already come out against this revival of voter ID which they say amounts to voter suppression.

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Democracy NC Election Report: 2016 voter experience and recommended changes for 2018

Democracy NC issued a report on the 2016 election based on first-person accounts gathered during early voting and Election Day 2016 from voters, on-site poll monitors, and calls to the Election Protection hotline. The data “demonstrate that much more granular problems disrupt the rights of voters to participate in elections — problems that state and county elections agencies have the power and responsibility to address," according to Democracy NC. 

The report highlights issues from the 2016 election including inconsistent implementation of out-of-precinct voting, excessively long lines, voting equipment breakdowns, and poorly trained poll workers. Based on the 2016 voter experience, Democracy NC suggests some changes the state and county boards of elections can implemnet for 2018.

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VIDEO: Redistricting Public Hearings

Hear what North Carolinians had to say on new maps proposed by House and Senate Republicans.

In Halifax County the public hearing took place in one of the districts ruled an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. 

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