Sunday, July 30, 2023





By Cash Michaels

An analysis

If a story in last week’s Politico is any indication, Pres. Biden ’s re-election campaign sees winning North Carolina as key to its 2024 victory.

The report titled “Biden looks to put North Carolina on the ’24 map” states, “…Biden’s team sees opportunity in [North Carolina] in 2024 amid a fresh abortion ban, a contentious, expensive gubernatorial race and steady population growth that has ballooned urban and suburban areas.”

The story goes on to say, “State and local party leaders are pointing to North Carolina as the next Arizona or Georgia for Democrats. They’re calling on the Biden campaign and DNC (Democratic National Committee) to invest heavily in the state because without [North Carolina, those leaders] say, Republicans don’t have a path to the White House.”

If all of the above is true, that means the most loyal base of the Democratic Party in North Carolina, namely the African American community, must be ignited and involved at the polls if Pres. Biden and Democrats expect to win. And that has to happen in both urban and rural areas of the state.

Already, the marquee race of the 2024 elections in North Carolina is slowly but surely shaping up between the most likely Republican gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, and a Democratic opponent, which right now looks like state Attorney General Josh Stein.

Both men are favored to overcome primary opposition next March, so their likely face-off would certainly help draw a strong turnout to the polls during a presidential year. A Civitas poll in May has Robinson with a one percent lead over Stein.

But the question remains, “Can Stein energize the Black Democratic vote against a fiery Black Republican culture warrior who is assured to get some of the Black vote just because he stands to make history? And depending on who the Republican presidential nominee is, will the Biden-Harris Democratic ticket be strong enough if the GOP ticket is Trump (who is currently leading in the polls) and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who is currently running for the nomination, but could be a viable vice presidential candidate to directly counter Kamala Harris?

There is much that is unknown here, but this much is clear - North Carolina is going to require lots of money to help get the vote out, and strong Democratic Party organizational support to ensure that voters, both urban and rural, indeed show up at the polls. Republicans have now mastered the art of door-to-door campaigning, as they did in 2020. Democrats will have to do likewise.

And Democrats have the incentive. Pres. Biden lost North Carolina to Donald Trump by only 1.4% in 2020. That deficit can be made up with more resources and smarter organization on the ground. Combine those two with a target of delivering more African Americans and young people to the polls, and Democrats could win the state for Pres. Biden, and also usher in a new Democratic governor.

The key will be to not take anything, any competitive area of the state, any voting age population for granted.

The NC Democratic Party’s new chairwoman says she’s ready, traveling all areas of the state, speaking to rural voters and young people at North Carolina colleges.

“All I can do is tell [national Democrats] that North Carolina is excited,” said NCDP Chair Anderson Clayton. “Honestly, we’re angry and energized…the energy on the ground is different.”

Gov. Roy Cooper agrees.

I told the president that this investment is going to be critical to his reelection, and that I believe we can win this state for him.”


                                                                REP. KEITH KIDWELL




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

An announced Republican candidate for NC speaker of the House is someone who, if elected to succeed current Speaker Tim Moore, would be an ultra conservative to the extreme.

Rep. Keith Kidwell, a third term Republican from Beaufort County (79th District), recently announced that he is running to become the next speaker of the N.C. House, the most powerful position in that body. Kidwell is currently the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of the most hard-core conservatives in the state House, and senior chairman of the House Finance Committee.

Why should Kidwell’s House speaker candidacy be of concern? On matters of race, Kidwell was punished earlier this year when he was heard mocking a Black Democratic House female member who was sharing her painful story about having an abortion when she was younger and a churchgoer.

Kidwell was heard telling someone she must have been attending “the church of Satan.” He was subsequently forced to resign from the House GOP caucus leadership as deputy whip for the remark.

Kidwell was also the Republican lawmaker who tried to sneak a conservative anti-black social studies curriculum that criticized the civil rights movement into a local House bill for Beaufort County Public Schools before being forced to withdraw it, a bill that school system never asked for.

He later suggested that the bill would be reintroduced, but on a larger scale.

Rep. Kidwell was one of 24 House Republicans who voted against Medicaid expansion - the health care coverage for low income residents  -  after his GOP leadership endorsed it. 

On other social issues, Rep. Kidwell was the primary sponsor of a bill  that would have banned nearly all abortions from conception. Any person responsible for an abortion would be guilty of a felony and face a $100,000 fine.

Kidwell thoroughly opposed COVID 19 restrictions during the pandemic, many times refusing to wear a mask. However, in August 2021, Kidwell contracted the disease and had to be hospitalized.

Kidwell has rejected certified election results and demanded that election machines in Durham County be inspected for  internet connection. That accusation fell short because there as no North Carolina law to support it.

Other Republicans running for House speaker once Tim Moore - who has served since 2015 - steps down after this term, are Republican majority leader John Bell and Rules Committee Chairman Destin Hall.

Kidwell is the only candidate to score 100% on the Civitas legislative scorecard for every session that he has served.

He has refused to address whether he is a member of the right wing radical group, the Oathkeepers.

On his 2021 reelection campaign poster where he is pictured with another conservative stalwart, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, Rep. Kidwell lists several promises that include “veto proof legislative majorities, sweep the courts, make [Gov.] Cooper irrelevant, replace [Speaker] Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader [Schumer], and in 2024, take back the White House.

Elsewhere on the campaign poster, Kidwell urges his voters to “Let’s reclaim America and North Carolina and take our country back.”

If Rep. Kidwell were to become the next North Carolina speaker of the House, and Lt. Gov. Robinson the next NC governor, there is little question, observers say, that North Carolina would be considered a strong red conservative state.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Medicaid expansion in North Carolina will begin on October 1st, assuming the state legislature adopts a budget by September 1st, say NC Dept. of Health and Human Resources officials.

"We are thankful for leadership and partnership in passing Medicaid Expansion which will save lives, increase access to care and bring billions of dollars to North Carolina," said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. "Moving forward now sets the department on a path to be able to get health care coverage to thousands of people as soon as possible."

Doing so is part of a compromise agreement between NCDHHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would allow North Carolina to move forward with the required public notices for beneficiaries, counties and providers while waiting for the NC General Assembly to act on the state budget.

And if, some reason, the NC General Assembly fails to ratify a state budget by the September 1st deadline, then December 1st, or sometime next year will be the target, NCDHHS officials say.

Their reasoning - that it will take 90 to 120 days to jumpstart the administrative apparatus once Medicaid expansion becomes law, so it makes sense to set benchmarks now so it can be up and running at least 30 days after a state budget is adopted. An estimated 300,000 residents will be covered on the first day.

Republican legislative leaders agreed to a state expansion of the federal program to help lower income North Carolinians last March, but only as part of the still pending budget. Gov. Cooper has been lobbying for the program for several years, saying that passage would help an additional 600,000 state residents, but until now, Republicans have refused.

The hope was that the state budget would be passed in time for the beginning of fiscal year 2024, which began on July 1st, but here it is already the first week in August, and no state budget was passed in July.

Now a budget agreement is expected by mid-August, a NCDHHS spokesman says. 

Gov. Cooper had lobbied Republican legislative leaders to separate Medicaid expansion from state budget passage, but was rejected.


Sunday, July 23, 2023


                                                       VICE PRES. KAMALA HARRIS





By  Cash Michaels

An analysis

No, she hasn’t excoriated North Carolina yet, but last week, when Vice President Kamala Harris blasted the Florida Board of Education for corrupting its statewide Black History studies standards to portray slavery as something which “benefited” enslaved Africans, she struck a nerve well beyond the Sunshine State.

Harris’ powerful takedown of the revisionist Florida Black History curriculum was a dire warning to the rest of the country, including North Carolina, that the conservative culture war campaign to literally change the documented racial history of the United States into something more politically palatable for the expressed purpose of gaining more power, is proceeding at an alarming clip.

        In March, North Carolina’s Republican-controlled House passed a previously vetoed measure restricting what teachers can discuss about America’s racial history. In June, the legislature passed a law banning discussions about race in the state government workplaces.

Against that backdrop, here is an abbreviated version of the vice president’s remarks in Jacksonville, Fla. from July 21, 2023:

“…[W]hen I think about what is happening here in Florida, I am deeply concerned.  Because let’s be clear: I do believe this is not only about the state of Florida; there is a national agenda afoot. And what is happening here in Florida?  Extremist so-called leaders for months have dared to ban books.  Book bans in this year of our Lord 2023. 

And now, on top of all of that, they want to replace history with lies.  Middle school students in Florida to be told that enslaved people benefited from slavery. High schoolers may be taught that victims of violence, of massacres were also perpetrators.

They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us — and we will not have it.  We teach our children not only to tell the truth, but to seek knowledge and truth. 

Well, I think we should model what we say. These extremist so-called leaders should model what we know to be the correct and right approach, if we really are invested in the well-being of our children. 

Come on — adults know what slavery really involved.  It involved rape.  It involved torture.  It involved taking a baby from their mother.  It involved some of the worst examples of depriving people of humanity in our world.  It involved subjecting to people the requirement that they would think of themselves and be thought of as less than human. 

So, in the context of that, how is it that anyone could suggest that in the midst of these atrocities, that there was any benefit to being subjected to this level of dehumanization? In the midst of these atrocities, that there was some benefit? 

So, it is not only misleading; it is false.  And it is pushing propaganda.  People who walk around and want to be praised as leaders, who want to be talked about as American leaders, pushing propaganda on our children.  Pushing propaganda on our children. 

And that’s what’s so outrageous about what is happening right now: an abject and purposeful and intentional policy to mislead our children. And so, let us be clear: Teachers want to teach the truth.  Teachers want to teach facts.  And teachers dedicate themselves to some of the most noble work any human being could take on: to teach other people’s children —  for the sake of the future of our nation.

And so, they should not then be told by politicians that they should be teaching revisionist history in order to keep their jobs. Our teachers who fear that if they teach the truth, they may lose their job.  As it is, we don’t pay them enough.

And these are the people — these extremist, so-called leaders — who all the while are also the ones suggesting that teachers strap on a gun in the classroom instead of what real leaders should be doing and be engaged in reasonable gun safety laws.

“…[T]here is a national agenda afoot, understanding that there are many aspects of our history that some would like to overlook, erase, or at least deny — let us think about then what this creates as a moment for us to also then rededicate ourselves to the coalition.  Our responsibility at moments like this to understand nobody should be made to fight alone.  We are all in this together.  

We fought a war to end the sin of slavery.  A civil war.  People died by the untold numbers in that war, many of whom fought and died because of their belief that slavery was a sin against man — that it was inhumane, that it was not reflective of who we believe ourselves to be as a country, and certainly not reflective of who we aspire to be.

Let us not be distracted by what they’re trying to do, which is to create unnecessary debates to divide our country.  Let’s not fall in that trap. 

And so, let us stand always for what we know is right.  Let us fight for what is right.  And when we fight, we win. 


Here in North Carolina, conservative Republicans continue to change laws governing public education, intent on changing the historical narrative as they see it.     -30-

                                                        U.S. REP. DON DAVIS  (D-NC-1)




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

North Carolina First District Democrat Congressman Don Davis of Pitt County, an African American, is making no bones about where he stands politically. 

The Snow Hill native, minister and former United States Air Force commissioned officer may have taken over former Rep. G. K. Butterfield’s congressional office when he was elected in 2022, but Davis is cutting a different path from the politically progressive Butterfield, and that was made clear earlier this month when Davis, a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, was one of a handful of House Democrats voting with conservative Republicans in support of a new defense budget that was loaded with “culture war” amendments.

Davis’ Democrat colleagues call the  $880 billion NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) for Fiscal Year 2024 an “extreme bill” because beyond providing funding for the U.S. military, as it is supposed to do, the ratified measure bans funding of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives; reimbursing travel costs for female service members in need of an abortion; and any display of the LBGTQ Pride flags.

Those amendments were sponsored by conservative Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, who has a well-known record of opposing any issues the right-wing describes as “woke.” But even though Republicans in the U.S. House have a slim majority to pass any measure they please, Rep. Davis, a Democrat, joined three other Democrats in supporting Congressman Roy’s anti-woke amendments, and ultimately the final version of the NDAA.

Why would the first-term Rep. Davis, 51, come anywhere near a right-wing political firebrand like Roy? We asked his congressional office in Washington, D.C. by email last week why Davis was one of only four Democrats to support the anti-DEI, anti-women’s choice, and anti-LBGTQ amendments to the NDAA, but got no response by press time.

Rep. Roy has sponsored some anti-critical race theory bills in the recent past, as well. Davis has opposed anti-CRT measures while in the NC state Senate, but that could change given his recent vote against DEI initiatives in the NDAA budget.

But research into Rep. Davis’ political background shows that while he is one of seven Democratic congresspeople representing North Carolina in the U.S. House, and one of three African American members of that delegation, Davis is perhaps the most moderate politically, meaning it’s hard to be sure where he stands on traditional Democratic issues.

Having served in the North Carolina Senate before running for Butterfield’s First District congressional seat in 2022, Davis had already established a centrist track record, voting against his party to defund Planned Parenthood, supporting several anti-abortion measures, and even obstructing some of Gov. Cooper’s agenda.

In 2015, then state Sen. Davis voted to support then Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s anti-abortion agenda. In 2017 and 2018, Davis voted for budgets that allotted at least $1 million for religious anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, later switching gears to support Gov. Cooper’s veto of those budgets. 

In 2019, Davis was one of two Democratic state senators to vote for Republican “born alive” legislation, making it a felony “not to treat a baby born in the course of a late term abortion as a person.” Gov. Cooper vetoed the measure because existing law already protected newborns.

Still, Davis was the only Democrat to vote to override Cooper’s veto.

Ironically, given his NC legislative track record, Davis’ congressional campaign insisted that he supports the “fundamental right” of a woman to choose an abortion, and would codify Roe v. Wade while in Congress.

“In Congress, I will fight tooth-and-nail to protect abortion rights and women’s healthcare,” Rep. Davis declared on Twitter after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision had been leaked last year.

Rep. Don Davis may also have another reason for being a Republican-light centrist Democrat - his congressional district.

The First Congressional District, as presently constituted, consists of 19 counties stretching from the northeastern part of North Carolina from the Virginia border, through several counties of the Inner Banks and the Research Triangle. 

Many of those counties, like Bertie, Halifax and Northhampton are primarily rural with poor economies and older populations, making the district decidedly more conservative-leaning thanks to the legislature’s latest redistricting. It’s one of the reasons why the previous First District congressman, Butterfield, decided not to run for reelection.

Davis, also a member of the House Committee on Agriculture,  is considered one of four vulnerable Democrats Republicans feel they can successfully target in the 2024 elections thanks to a May N.C. Supreme Court decision allowing the GOP to draw partisan gerrymanders, which may explain why Davis is playing it so safe in Congress.

Legislative Republicans plan to redraw congressional districts in a few weeks, meaning that Democrat Congressman Don Davis is likely to remain as politically moderate as possible to keep his seat when he is challenged.


Sunday, July 16, 2023


                                                    REV. DR. T. ANTHONY SPEARMAN




By Cash Michaels

An analysis

It was one year ago this week, on the late afternoon of July 19, 2022, that the lifeless body of Rev. Dr. Theodore Anthony Spearman, former president of the N.C. State Conference of NAACP Branches, was found in the basement of his Greensboro home by an NAACP colleague.

With his slouched body resting on a couch, a wound to his head and a large pool of blood from it below him on the floor, a subsequent autopsy revealed that Dr. Spearman apparently took his own life with a gun that he owned. 

Many who knew the dynamic civil rights leader and activist refused to believe that the man they respected as a passionate advocate for the least of us and committed fighter for justice, would take his own life, especially with so much more of the social justice to be done.

But now, a year after Dr. Spearman’s death, the NC NAACP that he left behind, in no way resembles the vibrant and admired civil rights and coalition building organization that he helped to build.

While much has been revealed since Spearman’s death about the intense internal backbiting that reportedly went on within the ranks of the NC NAACP during his tenure, at least there was a semblance of effective leadership. Important court cases were being litigated and won. Coalitions and partnerships with other social justice advocates were being built. Effective, visible activism was the “coin of the realm” for NC NAACP, whether it was demanding the freedom of a wrongly convicted murder suspect, or protesting the latest fatal police shooting.

Yes, the NC NAACP leadership of Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman was very different from his successful predecessor, the Rev. William J. Barber, who led the groundbreaking Moral Monday and Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HK on J) demonstrations. Indeed Rev. Barber was a hard act to follow. No one knew that better than Dr. Spearman, who was one of Barber’s most faithful lieutenants.

But Spearman believed in the same social justice playbook as Rev. Barber, and knew that infusing the NC NAACP with the same infectious spirit of activism that pervaded the organization during Barber’s reign, when it was one of the top NAACP conferences in the nation, was what he was entrusted to do. And so Spearman went to work, undeterred by obstacles from outside the organization, or fierce opposition from those within who felt the mantle of power should have been granted to them.

Spearman had to stare down a vicious opposition even as he took over as president in 2017. That opposition continued throughout his tenure, highlighted with false accusations of he and Rev. Barber taking money from the organization.

Barber ignored the lies, but Dr. Spearman fought back after he was ousted from office in October 2021 with a damning defamation lawsuit against those he alleged were trying to destroy him.

He included in that number no less than the chairman of the national NAACP Board of Directors, and the president/CEO of the national NAACP.

Dr. Spearman was also committed to standing with a young female member of the NC NAACP who alleged being sexually harassed by a supervisor. The case had further divided the NC NAACP leadership, and Spearman did all he could to deal with the breach.

Now, a year since Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman has left us, those of us who knew him, respected him, and loved him as a brother in Christ, dearly miss him. We miss his honesty, his energy, his intellect and his spirit. 

We also miss Dr. Spearman’s fearlessness and commitment to justice.

But most importantly, we miss his friendship and fidelity to community.

None of us may ever know what troubled Dr. Spearman’s soul, but we do know that when he left us, he left a deep, deep hole in the hearts of those who loved and respected him.

May GOD continue to bless his soul.




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

As the state prepares for local and municipal elections starting in September, county election boards are preparing for what comes with them - new voter photo identification rules.

As indicated before, all voters in North Carolina, as of this fall, will be required to show photo I.D. in order to cast a ballot, whether they are voting in-person at the polls, or mailing in an absentee ballot.

    On Monday, the NC State Board of Elections approved 99 types of student and government photo IDs, which include student IDs from all UNC System campuses, and several private schools, as well as local governments, government agencies, and school systems.

According to the NC State Board of Elections:

Voters must show an acceptable photo ID when they check in at their voting site during early voting or on Election Day. Election workers will check to see if the picture on the ID reasonably resembles the voter. The address on the photo ID does not have to match the voter registration records.

If the voter does not show an acceptable ID, the voter may proceed in one of the two following ways:

  1. vote with an ID Exception Form and a provisional ballot, or 

  2.   vote with a provisional ballot and return to their county board of elections office with their photo ID by the day before county canvass. (For municipal elections in September and October, this deadline is the Monday following Election Day. For all other elections, the deadline is the second Thursday following Election Day.)

                For absentee-by mail voters:

       Voters who vote by mail must include a photocopy of an acceptable ID inside the “photo ID envelope” that comes with their ballot. Or they may complete an ID Exception Form with the absentee ballot return envelope.

            What are the acceptable photo IDs for voting? Any of the following that is unexpired, or expired for one year or less:

- North Carolina driver’s license

        - State ID for the NCDMV (also called “non-operator ID”)

        - Driver’s license or non-driver ID from another state, District of      Columbia or U.S. territory (only if voter registered in North Carolina within 90 days of the election)

        - U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport card

        - North Carolina voter photo ID card issued by a county board   of elections (available soon)

         - College or university student ID approved by the State Board   

          of Elections

       - State or local government or charter school employee ID approved by the State Board of Elections.

        Note: A voter 65 or older may use an expired form of acceptable ID if the ID was unexpired on their 65th birthday.

    Any of the following, regardless of whether the ID contains an expiration or issuance date:

        - Military or veterans ID card issued by the U.S. government

        - Tribal enrollment card issued by a tribe recognized by the State or

        federal government.

         - ID card issued by an agency of the U.S. government or the State of

         North Carolina for a public assistance program.

               Any North Carolina resident can get a free non-driver’s ID card from the DMV.

               Additionally, all county boards of elections will soon be able to issue free voter IDs to registered voters in their county, if the voter provides their name, date of birth, and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and have their photo taken.

For further voter ID information, either go to, or contact your local county board of elections office.


Wednesday, July 5, 2023



                                                         LT. GOV. MARK ROBINSON



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Despite Republican efforts to portray Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson as a statesman and reasonable policy leader, the Black Republican’s campaign for governor has released a fiery fundraising video showing him boasting to a cheering,  predominately white crowd that “I’m not no African American.”

The timing of this explosive campaign video - just days after the conservative-led U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial ruling striking down race-based college affirmative action policies at UNC - Chapel Hill and other elite universities across the nation, in addition to former Pres. Donald Trump’s endorsement of Robinson’s gubernatorial candidacy, sets the stage for more racial cultural warrior rhetoric from the black Republican as the campaign continues.

The controversial :39 second campaign video opens with a black title page and the white outline of an open eye with a left-to-right downward slash going across the middle.

Under that symbol is written in all caps white, “TRIGGER WARNING.“ Then under that in smaller all-white lettering is the sentence “Content may enrage woke Democrats & members of the liberal media.”

The campaign video begins with the lieutenant governor onstage in front of a “Mark Robinson’ backdrop, in an open suit jacket and open shirt, in front on a cheering, predominately white conservative audience. He is pacing back and forth with a microphone in his hand, bellowing to the cheering crowd with a strong, determined voice, “I’m not no African American.”

Robinson’s monologue is transcribed below his video image, so there is no mistaking what he is saying.

The video then shows many in the cheering crowd clapping and standing to their feet.

“Yeah, I said I ain’t no African American,” Robinson, a recent graduate of UNC at Greensboro, repeats defiantly to heightened cheers, his finger directed up to make the point. “When we were fighting for our freedom in the Civil War, we weren’t flying no African banners. We were flying the Star Spangled Banner.”

“I have never pledged allegiance to any nation in Africa, nor do I ever intend to, ” an agitated Robinson continued, as the cheering audience stands to its feet again clapping, and a video is shown behind him onstage. “I am American. My story is American. I am an American.”

“My blood is American. My mind is American. My heart is American. Because I am an American,” Robinson insists. The video then fades to a red end title campaign frame with “Mark Robinson - Governor” on it.

Underneath the video, which was running on Facebook last week,  is printed, “”.

An accompanying print ad shows Robinson leaning on a post wearing a blue suit, white shirt and red tie, with the words “I’m not African American. I am only American.”

Several social media posters who proudly refer to themselves as “African American” responded to Robinson’s controversial campaign message, with one calling it “madness,” and another posting, “Self hatred is [a] terrible disease.”

This is by no means Lt. Gov. Robinson’s first, or only known attack on his own community since he took office in 2020.

Already infamous for rhetorically attacking women, LGBTQ and abortion rights advocates, a 2021 video of Robinson speaking at the NC Republican Party Convention shows the Greensboro native saying today’s Blacks aren’t owed  anything for their ancestors’ suffering during slavery and the civil rights movement, but rather it is they who owe America reparations for the rights that have been earned for them.

“Nobody owes you anything. It’s you. You owe because you’ve been the benefactor of freedom,” Robinson continued, adding the standard Republican rhetoric that African Americans are not hard workers..

Several weeks ago, CNN reported that Robinson “repeatedly lambasted” the ’60s Civil Rights Movement “…during interviews with a conspiracy theorist podcaster, saying “so many freedoms were lost,” and “baselessly” claiming the movement was used “to subvert free choice and where you go to school and things like that.”

Robinson also called the historic Greensboro lunch counter sit-in by black college students to challenge racial segregation, “a ridiculous premise”

So what did several North Carolina Democratic African American elected officials say about the racial rhetoric of Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, and his views about the Civil Rights Movement reported by CNN?

“Mark Robinson is an embarrassment to North Carolina and he should be ashamed of himself,” Democratic Senate Leader Dan Blue said.

“Mark Robinson’s claims and conspiracies are the ‘ridiculous premise’,” said Greensboro Senator Gladys Robinson. “He has a lot to learn from the courage displayed by the four North Carolina A&T students at Woolworth’s lunch counter on that February day in 1960.”

Former State Senator Floyd McKissick Jr. said,  “Mark Robinson’s sentiments are so deeply disrespectful, out of touch with reality, and fail to understand the tremendous impact and gains born out of the Civil Rights Movement that opened the doors of opportunity for all regardless of race.” 

“On behalf of the Legislative Black Caucus in North Carolina, we wholly condemn Mark Robinson’s comments,” said North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Chair Rep. Kelly Alexander, Jr.. “His ignorance is beyond reproach – we cannot have him represent North Carolina in the Governor’s office.” 

    North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Anderson Clayton issued a statement last week urging the NC Republican Party to disavow Robinson's "racist and antisemitic diatribes."

    “If [the NCGOP] refuse to call out these hateful and incendiary comments," Clayton said, " they must own them as their own beliefs.” 





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Beginning with this fall’s local municipal elections, a series of changes to voting in North Carolina will take hold that you should be aware of.

Four hundred and seventy-five candidates for City Council and other local offices across the state will be running for office this September - October - November. Filing began last Friday, and will end on July 21st at noon. These local contests will be the first since the Republican-led state Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision, and mandated that voter photo identification be implemented throughout the state. 

The NC State Board of Elections, which is scheduled to finalize a list of acceptable photo IDs from colleges and universities, has asked the NC General Assembly for $6.5 million in additional funding in order to properly educate voters about the new voter ID requirements and other election procedure changes. The legislature has not settled on a final budget yet, so it’s not known whether the board’s request will be honored.

One change that is known, however, is that voter ID will not only be require for in-person voting at the polls, but for those voting by mail-in absentee ballot as well..

Also, over 50,000 former felons will not be allowed to cast ballots in coming elections, thanks to a recent state High Court ruling.

Republicans, now touting veto-proof majorities in both the state House and Senate, are in the process of accelerating when mail-in ballots are to be accepted at local election boards, and even changing the makeup of local election boards, making them evenly split, and removing the governor’s appointment power.

Making the local and State Elections Board, evenly split, could cause problems where key decisions - like how many early voting sites should be opened in a county, or how many should be closed - would be deadlocked if a local board has a two Democrat/two Republican board, critics say.

And if the state Elections Board is also evenly split to the point where it can’t make a decision, then the matter would go to the courts.

The proposed voting changes don’t stop there.

GOP legislative leaders want new computer software employed so that voters’ signatures on mail-in absentee ballots can be cross-checked against signatures on file. A Democratic senator has recommended, and Republicans have agreed, to implement a pilot program during the 2024 primaries next March.

Democrats counter that there are several states, like Florida, where signature verification is a questionable technology at best, and has led to perfectly legitimate signed absentee ballots, especially from voters of color, being thrown out.

Among the other election changes being considered is requiring same day registration voters to cast a provisional ballot, which may or may not be counted.

Republicans in both the state House and Senate have also proposed that North Carolina not join a multi-state system for maintaining accurate voter registration rolls called ERIC (Electronic Registration Information Center). ERIC was devised to track voters who have moved in-state, out of state, have multiple registrations or are deceased.

The GOP says the election changes are all about “restoring voter confidence” in North Carolina’s voting process.

Gov. Roy Cooper countered that the proposed changes are nothing less than an “unconstitutional power grab.”

Meanwhile, NC voter ID is not out of the legal woods yet.

A three-year-old federal case known as NC NAACP versus Cooper, challenging the constitutionality of voter ID, returns to a Greensboro courtroom on July 26th to determine how the case will proceed to trial. It has been dormant since July of 2022.

Finally, progressive groups celebrated the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision against North Carolina Republican lawmakers’ argument that state courts have no jurisdiction over legislative redistricting decisions affecting federal elections.

“This is a historic victory for the people of North Carolina and for American democracy,”said Bob Phillips, Executive Director of Common Cause North Carolina. “Today, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that state courts and state constitutions should serve as a critical check against abuses of power by legislators. Now, we must ensure our state courts fulfill their duty to protect our freedoms against attacks by extremist politicians.”