Tuesday, June 12, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            According to NC House Majority Whip Jon Hardister (R-District 29 – Guilford), “North Carolina is one of 18 states that doesn’t have any form of identification requirements at the polls. In fact, all of our surrounding states require voter ID at the polls.”
            Rep. Hardister, the only North Carolina Republican to respond to a request for comment for this story, continued, “The purpose of voter ID is simply to protect the integrity of our elections process. Many people in North Carolina disagreed with the court ruling that struck down our voter ID laws. In other states that have passed voter ID, such as Georgia, voter participation among minorities has increased steadily. Remember that our law allowed several types of ID to suffice, and if a person did not have a valid form of ID, they could obtain one for free. In the event that someone went to the polls and forgot their ID, they could still vote by completing and signing a provision ballot.”
            Hardister, the new voter ID bill’s cosponsor, concluded, “In this case, we are offering a Constitutional Amendment to the voters so the people can decide directly whether or not they want voter ID requirements at the polls. I am confident that this referendum will pass by a strong margin on the ballot in North Carolina.”
            It should be no surprise that there are many who successfully fought the unconstitutional 2013 NC voter ID law, who have vowed to fight the newest legislative iteration introduced last week by Republican House Speaker Tim Moore.
            This time, apparently in an effort to get around any forthcoming legal challenges, House Bill 1092 – “Constitutional Amendment [to] Require Photo ID to Vote” – would amend the North Carolina Constitution to require voter photo ID. Voters in this November’s 2018 midterm elections, would be asked on their ballots – 
            “[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST – Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting.”
            But this is the part that few are paying attention to.
            If voters this November 6 vote “FOR” the constitutional amendment, the referendum is certified by the state Board of Elections within a few days, and then sent to the state Secretary of State’s Office for permanent record. According to HB 1092, the amendment “…is effective upon certification…and effective when it becomes law.
            All that needs to happen then is the GOP-led legislature to comeback after November, actually then write a new voter ID law, and pass it.
            “This latest proposal by Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly isn’t about protecting our elections.,” says Cong. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1). “It is about suppressing the vote,” noting the fact-filled conclusion by the federal court which knocked the 20-13 voter ID law, saying that it specifically targeted suppressing the African-American vote “…with surgical precision.”
            Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP, told mega companies Amazon and Apple not to move operations to North Carolina because of “Legislating state-sponsored discrimination cannot continue without consequence.”
What most expert observers find interesting is that if Republicans were concerned about “…the integrity of our elections process,” as Rep. Hardister says, then they would address the mail-in ballot process, that most white Republicans, not black Democrats or poor people use during elections.
            What is also ironic is that while 34 other states, including those surrounding North Carolina, all require voter ID, a 2016 study by both The Washington Postand News 21of voting in Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Kansas since 2012, “…confirmed the academic consensus that in-person voter fraud is simply not a problem,” reported Slate.com. “In none of these states over the past four years has a single personbeen caught impersonating another voter in order to cast an illegitimate ballot.”
            Slate.com went on to state in its Sept. 2016 article, “The vast majority of voter fraud prosecutions touted by conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation involve absentee ballots that were illegally cast. And the only voting fraud schemes with the potential to actually swing elections involved mail-in ballots, not impersonation at the polls.”
            The article continued, “They are purportedly designed to thwart voter impersonation, which, again, is virtually nonexistent. None of North Carolina’s restrictions—or any of the restrictions recently pushed through Republican-dominated legislatures—would stop mail-in ballot fraud.”
“If Republicans were truly serious about eradicating voter fraud, they would severely restrict absentee voting, permitting it only when voters have a good excuse, like illness. Why don’t they do so? Because absentee ballots are widely considered to favor Republicans, just as early, in-person voting is typically viewed as favoring Democrats. The Slate.com story concluded, “ Republicans don’t want to restrict a voting method that boosts their chances of winning, even though that method leaves more room for fraud.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Black Democratic lawmakers in the state House are on one page when it comes to warning all about the newest attempt by Republican legislative leaders to put voter photo ID back on North Carolina law books, except this time, they want the public to approve it by referendum so that they can come back later and write the new law as they see fit.
            “This is the same discriminatory law that was previously struck down by the courts,” Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) said in a statement, referring to when the federal courts struck down the earlier 20 13 voter ID law, saying that it was designed to suppress the African-American votes. “The attempt to bring it back as a ballot referendum is an end around in order to do something unconstitutional and harmful to free and fair elections.”
            Brockman’s fellow Guilford colleague, Rep. Amos Quick III, agreed, saying that he is “opposed to any change in voter laws that would significantly target African Americans as this voter ID provision was declaimed by the courts.”
Calling out the House bill that Republican House Speaker Tim Moore filed last week, and is expected to sale through the House Republican majority before the short session ends soon, Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP, told a news conference in Raleigh Monday, “The Constitutional Amendment proposed in HB1092 should never be in consideration.”
“The 4thCircuit Court of Appeals said it best in the historic decision rejecting the last iteration of this law declaring that it “targeted African-Americans with almost surgical precision [and was] enacted with racially discriminatory intent.” That victory is the law of the land. If this bill passes, it places on the ballot whether the people of North Carolina will make it harder for thousands of other North Carolinians to exercise their freedom to vote in an attempted end run around the decision of the courts, and an attempted end run around what is right.”
 “It will not succeed,” Dr. Spearman vowed. “We call on the nation to stand with us as we reject this suppression bill.”
Dr. Spearman’s predecessor as president of the NCNAACP, Rev. Dr. William Barber, currently co-chair of the national Poor People’s Campaign, reminded all that North Carolina what Republicans claim about no protections against voter fraud at the polls is not true.
            “The truth is North Carolinians do have to provide identification to register to vote,” he said in a statement.  “North Carolinians have to give their name at the polls. North Carolinians have to sign a document at the polling places in their community before voting and commit a five-year felony with prison time if you lie.”
            “And the every vote is tallied and given a number,” Rev. Barber added.
            “Lastly there has been no finding of fraud and this process was a partisan agreement years ago,” he concluded. “There was no major cry for voter photo ID until after President Obama won North Carolina in 2008.”


            [RALEIGH] That’s to the Republican legislature cancelling this years judicial primaries, the NC Democratic Party , this week, saw no choice but to endorse several Democratic candidates for various judicial offices in hopes that voters will follow-through with their support. Well-known civil and voting rights attorney Anita Earls, founder of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and candidate for a State Supreme Court seat ; current Court of Appeals judge John Arrowood, Raleigh attorney and Campbell University Law School professor Allegra Collins for NC Court of Appeals; and Raleigh attorney Toby Hampson, also for Court of Appeals.

            [SHARPSBURG] Robert Williams, the embattled mayor of Sharpsburg, alleges that he is the victim of police bias because he’s black. Tuesday evening, in the midst of a town commissioners emergency meeting to address several issues that arose since Mayor Williams’ election in May – including the mayor firing the police chief and defining his authority – Williams reportedly came in and accused local officials and police of being racially biased towards him. He then abruptly left the meeting, pushing a TV news reporter out of the way. The night he was elected, Mayor Williams was charged with DWI, carrying a concealed weapon and two counts of resisting an officer.

            [RALEIGH] The Republican-majority in the NC House joined their GOP colleagues in the state Senate Tuesday by voting 73-44 to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of their $23.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2018-19. That budget goes into effect July 1st, and the short session of the NC General Assembly is now expected to wrap up by the end of June. But not before some mistakes are fixed. Because Republicans passed their budget not allowing amendments and little debate, some important agencies, like the Suicide Prevention Hotline, were not funded. GOP leaders pledge that that will be fixed before the session ends.


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