Tuesday, October 20, 2020




[RALEIGH] Two developments in the battle over absentee mail-in ballots in North Carolina. The US Fourth Circuit of Appeals late Tuesday ruled that absentee mail-in ballots should count as long as they are postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3rd. Republicans has opposed the extension. And an agreement has been reached where mail-in absentee ballots without witness signatures in North Carolina will not count, but a “cure” process will allow affected voters to fill out to new ballots with the appropriate witness signature needed. There was some legal wrangling, thanks to the state Republican Party, about the cure proposed by the NC Board of Elections, and ballots were being held until a settlement could be reached.


[GREENSBORO] As of press time Tuesday, over 1.5 million early mail-in and in-person ballots have already been cast in North Carolina. Mail-in absentee balloting began on Sept. 4th, with One Stop Early Voting commencing Oct. 15th statewide. On that day, almost 230,000 early voters had lined up to cast ballots. By the next day, almost half a million had. Those numbers are virtually twice of what they were in 2016. In-person early vote continues until Oct. 31st.


[FAYETTEVILLE] A group of prominent Republicans called The Lincoln Project seeking to separate themselves from their erratic president have purchased 25 billboards in 15 North Carolina counties denouncing Donald Trump prior to the Nov. 3rd election. The billboards use Trump’s alleged words like “sucker’ and ‘What’s in it for them?’ superimposed over pictures of American service members near Fayetteville. Another billboard blasts Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lincoln Project has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.


                                                    REP. YVONNE LEWIS HOLLEY
                                                 JUDGE LORA CHRISTINE CUBBAGE
                                                        CHIEF JUSTICE CHERI BEASLEY                                       




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

When the election dust settles on Nov. 3rd, North Carolina Democrats hope that in addition to a new president of the United States, a new legislative majority, and a continuing successful governor, will be four African-American female elected officials blazing historic trails of authority and service. Highest on the list, Cheri Beasley (ChiefJusticeBeasley.com), current chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, running to be officially elected to that post for a full eight-year term. Justice Beasley was appointed Chief Justice by Gov. Roy Cooper in February 2019, after serving as an associate justice since 2012. 

“I believe all North Carolinians should have access to fair and impartial justice, no matter who they are,” Chief Justice Beasley told the NC Judicial Guide. “I will continue to work for an independent court system that people can trust.”

Bealey has been endorse by Democratic vice presidential candidate en. Kamala Harris, among others.

Chief Justice Beasley is running against Republican Associate Justice Paul Newby (PaulNewby.com).

  Next highest - Yvonne Lewis Holley (YvonneLewisHolley.com), currently a state House representative from Wake County, running to become the first African - American lieutenant governor in North Carolina history. If elected, Holley says she wants to continue her work combating food deserts across the state, and increasing job opportunities for low-income families. Lewis - Holley has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama and Sen. Kamala Harris.

Rep. Lewis-Holley’s opponent is Black Republican Mark Robinson (MarkRobinsonForNC.com).

Another Black female candidate running for significant statewide office is current Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes (JessicaHolmesNC.com), candidate for NC Commissioner of Labor. Holmes, a Pender County native, has been a Wake commissioner since 2014, the youngest ever in history. Two years later, she was elected as chair of the Wake Commission Board. Professionally, Holmes is a labor attorney, focusing on workers rights. 

Holmes says if elected, her top priority would be “ensuring safe and healthy work environments, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Holmes is endorsed by the NC AFL-CIO, NC Association of Educators and Lillian’s List.

Holmes’ Republican opponent is Rep. Josh Dobson (JoshForLabor.com)

Finally, for the NC Court of Appeals Seat 5, Judge Lora Christine Cubbage (CubbageForJudge.com).  Judge Cubbage currently presides in Superior Court, where she has been since 2018. She previously served as an assistant District Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, and District Court judge.

Judge Cubbage believes in the protection of rights given by the NC and US Constitutions; equal justice for all in order to regain the public trust in our judicial system; equal access to justice for all; and an independent, fair and impartial judiciary.

Judge Cubbage is running against Black Republican Judge Fred Gore (Judge Fred Gore.com).






By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The 2008 presidential election seems like ancient history now, but it is the last time that Black voters came out with a razor-focused mission to the polls .

Barack Obama won 95% of Black voters, who made up 13% of the total electorate. They badly wanted to elect the nation’s first African-American president.

Now, 12 years later, the exact opposite energy is true. Blacks, and many other voters, badly want vote the current Republican occupant of the White House, Donald Trump, out.

With early voting just starting a week ago, especially here in North Carolina, it’s too early to get conclusive numbers , but this much is known: with over a million mail-in and in-person absentee votes already submitted, Democratic voters are tallying the lion’s share of all voters, and Black voters are accounting for upwards of 30% of those.

So what is this election’s motivation? An informal vote on Facebook social media confirms that voters aren’t driven so much by an affinity for Democrat Joe Biden so much as a mission to dump Trump.

Most of the over 30 who answered the question Monday made it clear  that or them, this election is personal.

“Against Trump,” Corona C-K  and Terri H. each wrote.

DEFINITELY stronger energy to vote AGAINST TRUMP!,’ Miriam N. wrote. But then again, NOTHING may ever compare to my feelings after Obama’s victories!!!”

“I was anxious to help Obama win both times, and I am anxious to get Trump out,” said Jackie D-M. “I guess the difference is my energy was very positive toward an Obama presidency and it is VERY negative when thinking about a second term for Trump.”

Vicki B-R says, “2020! I loved Obama, but Trump just terrifies me.”

J -JJ may have stated it best when he said, “For me, I’m equally motivated, but It’s a totally different energy. Like comparing apples to oranges.”

Voting FOR Obama felt like Hope and progress and some semblance of justice. Voting AGAINST  Trump feels like a battle against full-scale authoritarianism.”

Linda U. wrote, ‘“The same! However, I’m scared this time.”

Other voters also expressed their disdain and disgust with the Trump Administration, and his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial dog whistles to white supremacist groups, and inability to tell the truth.

But others also talked about their devotion to have a voice in their government at all levels, and the responsibility that comes with it.

“I vote because I can,” wrote Leslie B. “I voted because it’s a right and a responsibility. Democrats participatory. You can’t have it if you don’t participate.”

Al L. was also clear.

“I voted because my people died for the right to vote, additionally I’m concerned that another four years of the dotard and Black people will be in concentration camps!"


                                                         SAU PRES. IRVING MCPHAIL



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The St. Augustine’s University Falcon family is still in mourning a week after their their new president, Irving Presslley McPhail, died of complications from the novel coronavirus on Oct. 15th.

He will be memorialized in a special on-campus and virtual ceremony on Oct. 27th.

Pres. McPhail officially began his short term at the private Episcopalian black institution as St. Aug’s 12th president on July 15th. It was mid-September, however, when he learned that he had contracted COVID-19 and quietly  self-quarantined, according to St. Augustine’s Board of Trustees Chairman James Perry.

An Oct. 12th letter from Perry to the SAU community made clear that Pres. McPhail did not contract the virus at the school.

“President McPhail has been a strong proponent of face coverings and social distancing. He has regularly communicated with the campus community about SAU’s COVID-19 protocols and expectations, through both formal and informal channels,” Perry’s letter said.

Indeed, as of press time Monday, according to Wake County health officials, there is no record of anyone else associated with the school to have contracted COVID-19, either on or off campus. Testing has been conducted at St. Aug, as at other HBCUs.

It was two weeks ago, however, that McPhail experienced difficulty breathing and decided that he needed to be finally hospitalized. Published reports say that he was taken to the emergency room, and remained in care there where he seemed to be improving, until McPhail took a turn for the worst, and died on Oct. 15th.

The following day in a driving rain, students, faculty and administration walked to Pres. McPhail’s home new campus, and with his wife tearfully standing behind a glass door with her arms crossed on her chest, placed flowers in front of the home as a symbol of respect and sorrow for the New York native who grew up in Harlem.

“Today, we mourn the loss of [Dr. Phail], a dedicated leader who made a positive impact on St. Augustine’s University in the short time he was President,” wrote Gov. Roy Cooper in a tweet. ‘Our thoughts are with his loved ones and the St. Augustine’s campus community.”

There is little question that Pres. McPhail cared about his students at St. Aug. At the end of a day at the office, he was known for driving his car around campus, meeting students and encouraging them to wear they masks and adhere to the COVID-19 safety precautions.

One of his primary goals was to raise St. Aug’s enrollment to 1,000 students.

Irving Presslley McPhail graduated from Cornell University, earning his master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

McPhail served as the sixth president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. before coming to St. Augustine’s University.

He told a local Raleigh newspaper before he became ill that he prayed that “no one gets ill” at St. Aug from COVID-19.



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