BLACK VOTER TURNOUT
BEHIND 2018 NUMBERS AS
2022 MIDTERMS NEAR END
By Cash Michaels
If published reports are to be believed, NC Democrats are not feeling very optimistic about the November 8th midterm elections next Tuesday, and one reason may be because as a voting bloc, turnout for Black voters is behind their 2018 midterm numbers.
According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, as of Oct. 31st, of the 1,160,747 One-Stop Early Votes cast by in-person, civilian, military and overseas voters as of Sunday, October 30th, only 18.62% were from Black voters, which is behind the Black voting in the 2018 midterm early voting of 20%.
In a ballots cast by party measurement, Democrats accounted for over 39%, while Republicans were 31%, and unaffiliated were 29.5%. That sizable unaffiliated percentage, and with way it swings, is expected to help decide the election in many tight races.
At press time, One-Stop Early Voting is not scheduled to conclude until Saturday, Nov. 5th in all 100 North Carolina counties.
Because African-Americans have been the most reliable voting base for the Democratic Party in recent years, any drop-off in voting numbers, even by a few percentage points, is a major concern for the party.
The last hope for a comparable Black voting turnout is next Tuesday, November 8th, Election Day, and the Beasley/Budd U.S. Senate race.
Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, is running a tight contest against District 13 Republican Congressman Ted Budd, the marquee race across the state. If elected, Beasley would become the first African-American ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate from North Carolina, and party faithful hope that that, and a recent endorsement by former President Barack Obama, would propel Beasley into the winner’s circle on the wings of Black voters.
Whomever wins, could decide which party will hold the voting majority for the upcoming Congress.
But Republicans are notorious for staying quiet at the ballot box during the early voting period, only to explode at the polls on Election Day in large numbers. That’s what the Budd campaign is hoping for.
On Oct. 23rd, NBC News reported that surveys showed Republican voters were “showing more enthusiasm” about the 2022 midterm elections than any other.
The last reports to the Federal Election Commission through October 19th shows the Beasley campaign having $3 million cash on hand after raising $34.2 million. The Budd campaign reported having $1.2 million cash on hand after raising just $12.6 million.
Beasley has reportedly outspent Budd in the race, but Budd still maintains a narrow lead in the most recent polling. And several outside conservative political action committees have flooded the airwaves with anti-Beasley ads in an effort to bolster Budd to the tune of $59.1 million by one estimate.
In effect since September, that two-and-a-half times what Democrats have done for Beasley, and it has many of her supporters worried.
“The Black women, here and in Florida, the emphasis hasn’t been on them,” Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), said of Beasley and Rep. Val Demings of Florida, who is running to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. “We shouldn’t be forgotten in this process.”
Democratic leaders counter that they are doing the best they can to support candidates this election cycle, but admit that they are prioritizing incumbents like Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is in a tight race against Republican/Trump-backed former all-star football player Herschel Walker. That race is also very close, with Walker looking like the eventual victor.
Back in North Carolina, beyond the Beasley-Budd U.S. Senate race, the other statewide contests that are considered most important for voters are the two for NC State Supreme Court.
Currently, Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the state’s High Court, but two of the Democrat-held seats are on the ballot. If just one is lost, Republicans will automatically hold the 4-3 majority during the next session. It would be the first time since 2016.
NC Appellate Judge Lucy Inman, a Democrat, is facing off against Republican Appellate Court Judge Richard Dietz to replace the retiring Associate Justice Robin Hudson. And Associate Justice Sam Ervin IV, also a Democrat, is defending his seat against Republican Trey Allen, currently the general counsel for the NC court system.
One-Stop Early Voting/Same Day Registration ends this Saturday, November 5th at 3 p.m..
On Tuesday, November 8th, Election Day, polls open at 6;30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.. If you are in line to vote at 7:30 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.
Report anyone who tries to harass you while you’re in line to the precinct judges. You do not have to show photo identification.
All properly filled out absentee ballots should be dropped off at your county board of elections office by 5 p.m. on November 5th, Election Day.
Make sure that you are voting in your assigned voting precinct.
NATIONAL NAACP ACCUSED
OF “VOTER SUPPRESSION” IN
UPCOMING BRANCH ELECTIONS
By Cash Michaels
The irony is inescapable.
The national NAACP - the oldest civil rights organization in the world, known historically for fighting for the right to vote and against those forces which would undermine that right - now being accused of suppressing the right of it’s own members, by it’s own members.
That’s the latest flashpoint between the national organization and Justice Coalition USA, a national coalition of concerned NAACP members who are not pleased with the leadership of current national NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson.
Under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Cardes H. Brown, Jr., a Lifetime NAACP member and former Greensboro branch president, the Justice Coalition held a press conference on Oct. 26th to accuse the national NAACP and specifically Pres. Johnson of “voter suppression” because the upcoming November elections in all NAACP will be conducted electronically.
What’s the problem? Not all NC NAACP or NAACP members have access to a computer because they’re elderly and /or live in rural areas where broadband access is either horrendous or nonexistent.
The Justice Coalition USA maintains that for the national NAACP to mandate electronic branch elections when it knows the many of it’s oldest members cannot take part because of their inability to vote online, ultimately amounts to “voter suppression,” and is contrary to the national NAACP Constitution and bylaws.
“Our point is that the general population differs from NAACP seniors who joined the Movement in the 1960s when voting was a family ritual and are now in their 70s and above,” the Justice Coalition USA said in a press release. “We believe forcing all NAACP members in Branch elections to vote online for their officers in November 2022 elections constitutes a breach of membership contracts, violates Article IX of the Bylaws, and will cause irreparable harm to many of our most vulnerable members.”
“You can buy an NAACP membership for $30, but to exercise your NAACP Vote, you need to buy a computer and a wifi connection for $300,” said Rev. Dr. Brown, vowing every means available to challenge the issue. “The Justice Coalition USA will not stand idly by while NAACP members’ votes are suppressed through another NAACP election cycle. We have asked for an electronic meeting with CEO Derrick Johnson about these issues. We did not receive an adequate response but instead were presented with a cease and desist.”
Rev. Dr. Brown made clear that they would not honor the “cease and desist” letter because Justice Coalition USA believes the national NAACP is being led unconstitutionally.
This is not the first time electronic voting has become a bone of contention between the national NAACP and the NC NAACP. There is still controversy over the NC NAACP executive committee elections of October 2021, when the traditional NAACP elections process was abrogated, and not one, but two elections were conducted on the same day, resulting in the ouster of then incumbent NC NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, and the election of current Pres. Deborah Dicks Maxwell.
According to Article IX, Section 2 of the NAACP Bylaws for Units and the Bench Election Manual, “Each September, NAACP units begin the process to elect leaders for the upcoming year. This is a simple outline of what should occur during the 3-month NAACP Branch election process,” according to the national NAACP website (https://naacp.org/resources/naacp-branch-election-dates).
The NAACP webpage states, “Members will elect the Nominating Committee, that includes no less than 5 members and no more than 15 members. No more than 2 of these committee members shall be Officers and/or a member of the Executive Committee.”
“The Nominating Committee will present its report and receive nominations from the floor, the Chair, or a member of the Nominating Committee. No officer of the Branch or any candidate for office shall chair the nominating process. For the purpose of being certified as an eligible candidate one must have been a bona fide member of the Branch by April 1st, as well as live and/or work in the jurisdiction of the Branch. After candidates are identified, the Election Supervisory Committee should be elected. Please note: all questions regarding the eligibility of candidates must be resolved prior to the conclusion of the October meeting.”
“The number of eligible voters must be established before voting begins. Polls will remain open for at least 4 hours and anyone in line at the time polls close must be allowed to vote. Once all voting has been completed the tallying of ballots can start.”
The Justice Coalition USA maintains that because a national NAACP assigned administrator, Gloria Sweet-Love, was put in charge of the NC NAACP State Conference in 2019, none of the normal constitutionally mandated election process was allowed to occur in 2021, resulting in a situation where on October 23rd, 2021, voting for executive officers was stopped midday and the results thrown out, replaced by an Election Buddy system later in the day.
Those results yielded Spearman’s ouster and Maxwell’s election. Reportedly, no one knows the results of the un-electronic voting of that day.
Several disgruntled NC NAACP protested, and followed the national NAACP Election Controversy process : “In the event there is an election controversy, a complaint signed by 25 members in good-standing (50 members if the Branch membership exceeds 1,000 members) must be postmarked no later than 5 days after the date of the election. The standard used for reviewing complaints; "if the allegations alleged are assumed to be true would they have affected the outcome of the election?" If, the complaint is determined valid, it will be forwarded to the Chairman of the Committee Membership and Units.”
The complainants in the NC NAACP case eventually called themselves the NC Justice Coalition, which later evolved into the Justice Coalition USA. Their constitution-based election complaint was denied by Pres. Johnson.
So now, Rev. Dr. Brown and Justice Coalition USA warn that the same scenario could play out again in the upcoming branch elections.
ADMISSION’S POLICY ON
THE ROPES AT HIGH COURT
By Cash Michaels
The use of race as part of admissions to the University of North Carolina may be on its last legs. After hours of oral arguments heard before the U.S. Supreme Court Monday, the conservative-led court seemed to lean towards either eliminating race as a factor in UNC System college admissions, or severely limiting it.
A decision isn’t expected until next year, but court observers noted during legal arguments that conservative members of the High Court’s 6-3 majority were not impressed with positions from attorneys representing either UNC, or HarvardUniversity, which maintain that race was part of a “holistic” approach to college admissions, and not a deciding factor. Both institutions were being sued by the same plaintiff Students for Fair Admissions, which argued that the use of race in college admissions was a violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides for equal protection under the law.
If the Supreme Court does outlaw race, it will be undoing previous legal precedents that allowed it to be a factor - not part of a quota - the last being in Grutter v. Bollinger, the 2003 University of Michigan law school case that permitted a“narrowly tailored” use of race in “highly individualized” admission decisions for the purpose of achieving the educational benefits of student diversity.
For their part, the High Court’s conservatives sought the answer to a simple answer to a simple question - when won’t we need affirmative action?
"I don't see how you can say that the program will ever end," quipped Chief Justice John Roberts to attorneys for the defendants.
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas attacked the need for student diversity.
“I’m really interested in a simple thing. .. what benefits academically are there to your definition or the diversity that you're asserting?, he asked.”
The High Court’s newest associate justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, defended the use of race to achieve student diversity, saying without it, applicants won’t be able to truly tell who they are on a college application.
“We’re entertaining a rule in which some people can say the things they want, about who they are and have that valued in the system. But other people are not going to be able to. Because they won't be able to reveal that they're Latino or African American
or whatever. And I'm worried that that creates an inequity in the system,” Justice Jackson, who recused herself from hearing the Harvard case because she once served on Harvard’s board, said.
Attorneys for UNC noted that diversity makes the U.S. military, corporate world and other institutions stronger.