NCNAACP FILES AGAIN
TO STOP VOTER ID LAW
by Cash Michaels
For the third time in the past ten years, the NC NAACP has file a motion in federal court against Governor Roy Cooper and the state of North Carolina seeking a preliminary injunction “…prohibiting the enforcement of a North Carolina law that requires photo voter ID and vastly increases the number of authorized poll observers—Senate Bill 824 (“SB 824”)—because it violates the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (“VRA”) by discriminating against Black and Latino voters.”
The motion, file Sept. 17th, recounts how previously, “…House Bill 589 (“HB 589”), was enacted in 2013 and was struck down by the [U.S.] Fourth Circuit [Court of Appeals] , which found that it intentionally discriminated against voters of color.”
“The court of appeals called it “the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow,” the new motion continued, “ and said it “target[ed] African Americans” for voter suppression “with almost surgical precision.”
It was after Republicans in the NC General assembly last their supermajority in November 2018 that they called a special lame duck session, and hurriedly passed HB 824, establishing a voter ID law, based on passage of a constitutional amendment ratified by voters.
“The law now before the Court—SB 824—is a barely disguised duplicate of HB 589, carries the same discriminatory intent as its predecessor, and likewise fails to remedy its racially disparate impacts,” the motion continues. “It is intended, like HB 589 before it, to suppress the Black and Latino vote, just as those voters were achieving near parity with white registration and turnout rates and otherwise emerging as major political forces.”
The motion notes that Republican legislative leaders rested the Fourth Circuit ruling.
“Indeed, General Assembly leaders, including Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, and lead House sponsor David Lewis—all of whom were instrumental in enacting HB 589—never accepted the Fourth Circuit’s holding in McCrory and made clear their intention to work around it,” the NC NAACP motion for preliminary injunction continued.
And without missing a bet, the motion invokes the controversial mapmaking of Republican strategist Thomas Hofeller, “…who has recently gained notoriety for his work in the field of racial gerrymandering.
“In North Carolina, the General Assembly relied on Dr. Hofeller’s analysis as the basis for illegally gerrymandered House and Senate maps that a state court struck down earlier this month, “concluding that he had used racial statistics to shape his maps despite public claims to the contrary.”
“As the New York Times has reported,’ the motion continued, “…is now apparent that “[m]ore than any other state, North Carolina was shaped politically by Mr. Hofeller’s talents. A trove of files [reviewed by the paper's reporters] shows his involvement in virtually every aspect of the State Legislature’s effort to promote and defend Republican control.” And “[r]ace was a [a] constant of Mr. Hofeller’s work in the state. . . .”
“Of critical import to this case, while the evidence is still emerging, it appears likely that his use of race to shape North Carolina election laws to preserve Republican advantage also infected the General Assembly’s efforts to craft voter ID laws.”
“North Carolina cannot possibly implement SB 824 in a nondiscriminatory way in the short time the State has given itself to implement the law (and has given its voters to procure identification that meets its requirements). At minimum, a preliminary injunction should issue delaying the law’s implementation until after the March 2020 elections to prevent the unlawful disparate impact that will arise out of its hasty implementation.”
The motion concluded, “For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiffs request that this Court enter a preliminary injunction against the implementation of the provisions of SB 824 that impose voter- identification requirements, that expand the number of poll observers, and that loosen eligibility requirement for people who can challenge ballots in the March 2020 elections pending the outcome of a trial on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims.”
As of press time Monday, there was no response from the State to the NCNAACP motion for preliminary injunction.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 10-03-19
DEMOCRATS FILE NEW LAWSUIT AGAIN CHALLENGING VOTING MAPS FOR N.C.’S 13 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS
[RALEIGH] Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, refused to rule in a NC partisan gerrymandering case involving 13 congressional districts drawn by the legislature’s Republican majority, saying that federal courts have no place doing so. Last Friday, another lawsuit was filed, this time in state court, again challenging North Carolina’s 13 congressional voting districts based on partisan gerrymandering. But this time, plaintiffs alleged that the maps violate the state constitution. There is no question the ruling from a three-judge panel in state court last month, invalidating NC legislative districts as partisan gerrymanders, has encouraged these new plaintiffs that they may see similar success with this new suit. Republican legislative leaders say they will contest it.
INTERIM ECU CHANCELLOR PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE AFTER DRINKING, DANCING VIDEO
[GREENVILLE] The interim chancellor of East Carolina University has been placed on administrative leave by the UNC System interim president after videos n pictures of him drinking and dancing at a nearby bar for ECU students was made public a few days ago. Chancellor Dan Gerlach reportedly could be seen “chugging alcohol” and “putting his arms around women” while dancing. He was also taking selfies with students. Gerlach will remain on leave until an investigation is completed. In a statement, Gerlach said he felt it was important for the leader of the university to be “approachable” to students.
OPRAH SURPRISES CHARLOTTE AUDIENCE WITH MAJOR DONATION
[CHARLOTTE] Talk show hostess/actress Oprah Winfrey shocked those attending the 17th Annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon Saturday, when she announced that she would match $1.15 million already raised for deserving students to attend historically black colleges and universities, pushing the United Negro College Fund event figure to $2.3 million.
“I believe in the power of education,” Winfrey said.“There is nothing better than to open the door for someone.”
NAACP SUSPENDS GATEWOOD
DESPITE DENIAL OF SEXUAL
The Rev. Curtis Gatewood, publicly accused of sexually harassing a female member of the NC NAACP he was assigned to supervise in 2017, has denied the allegation, while his daughter and members of the Alamance County NAACP have blasted former NC NAACP president Rev. Dr. William Barber, and current NC NAACP leader, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, of orchestrating the controversy a week before the Oct. 5th
election for a new president.
Gatewood was a candidate in that race against Rev. Spearman, until national NAACP President/CEO Derrick Johnson sent him a Sept. 26th letter, formally suspending Gatewood’s membership pending a still as-yet unscheduled hearing.
“You are directed to cease and desist immediately from holding yourself out as a member of the NAACP, Johnson wrote. “Because candidates for State Conference office must be members in good standing of the Association, you are ineligible to run for such office unless and until your membership is restored.
An outraged Desmera Gatewood, Rev. Gatewood’s daughter, held a Sept. 27th press conference, along with members of the Alamance County NAACP, declaring that the sexual harassment allegation against her father re no only not true, but deviously planned to derail Rev. Gatewood’s election to the civil rights organization’s presidency.
An election she said her father was “poised to win.”
Adding that she is a victim of sexual harassment and domestic violence, Desmera Gatewood added, “This has been very difficult for me to watch narratives like mine used as political opportunism.”
For his part, Rev. Gatewood told the Associated Press, “The allegations are totally false,” and blamed Rev. Dr. William Barber for orchestrating the controversy to benefit incumbent NC NAACP Pres. Rev. Spearman.
This is the second time in 20 years that Rev. Gatewood has been suspended by the national NAACP. He was sanctioned previously when he was president of the Durham NAACP for involvement in a dispute with then NC NAACP Pres. Melvin “Skip” Alston in the late 1990s.
Gatewood was publicly identified by former NC NAACP Youth & College Director Jazmyne Childs as allegedly sexually harassing her in 2017 as her supervisor. During a tearful Sept. 25th press conference, where she was surrounded by supporters who called themselves the “Elder Women of the NC NAACP,” along with Rev. Barber, Ms. Childs detailed how Gatewood allegedly pressed himself against her from behind in a darkened room, in addition to speaking suggestively to her on the phone on another occasion.
Making clear that Gatewood’s alleged attention was unwanted, she resigned from the civil rights organization.
Rev. Barber had her allegations investigated and confirmed by an employment attorney.
Last week, after the national NAACP formally suspended Rev. Gatewood, Ms. Childs, through her attorney, told the Associated Press called it a “bittersweet victory.”
Unlike Rev. Barber, the national office waited two years before even acknowledging Childs’ complaint, and the only did anything once Ms. Childs’ supporters, the Elder Women of the NC NAACP, made her case public, and threatened to take their fight to national NAACP headquarters in Baltimore, Md.
Contrary to a previously published report, before he could be terminated prior to completion of the five-month-long inquiry, Rev. Gatewood resigned his position with the NCNAACP.