Republican voter suppression tactics

The nuts and bolts of GOP Judicial redistricting

Hat-tip to Melissa Boughton for parsing the maps:

There are 64 current district court judges double-bunked in nine judicial districts encompassing 15 counties in the “Option A” proposal. That’s 24 percent of all district court judges. “Double-bunking” for the purposes of this article means that there are a smaller number of seats in a judicial district than there are current sitting judges. That means incumbent judges in those areas would either be forced to run against another incumbent in an election or face losing their seat if their term expires after the seats are filled.

Of the 64 district court judges who are double-bunked, 47 are registered Democrats and 17 are registered Republicans. There are one percent fewer district court judges double-bunked in “Option A” than the last HB717 map Burr introduced in November. There are also fewer Black or African-American judges double-bunked in this map, but the number is still high considering representation is already an issue on the bench. There are 32 percent of Black or African American judges double-bunked in “Option A,” compared to 43 percent in the last map from Burr.

As you can see from that second paragraph, Justin Burr was well aware he was flirting heavily with a lawsuit that would likely result in his twisted maps being thrown out. So he toned it down a little. But the partisan and racist volume of this effort is still deafeningly loud. But it isn't just double-bunking these judges have to worry about; if the timing is right, they won't even be able to run for a seat:

GOP lawyers will appeal Special Master maps to U.S. Supreme Court

Which comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody:

The GOP lawmakers’ lawyers filed Sunday a motion asking the federal judges stay their order accepting new boundary lines from a special master while legislators appeal that order to the U.S. Supreme Court. They want a decision by Monday because they plan to request a similar delay before the Supreme Court if the judges deny it.

The judges ruled Friday that lines the General Assembly approved last summer still contained unconstitutional boundaries. The GOP lawyers say altering districts would create confusion weeks before candidate filing, adding judges used a “fundamentally flawed” test to determine whether illegal racial gerrymandering remained.

Bolding mine, because this is the height of arrogance. Republicans are basically saying, "Please delay your ruling, because you're all idiots." Like all bullies, they just can't keep from insulting people they're dealing with. It becomes second nature, and like Donald Trump, it is spawned out of a massive ego and overly-inflated sense of self-worth. The only cure for that is a Blue Wave.

Court orders Special Master's maps be used for 2018 Legislative races

This is a different case than what the US Supreme Court just ruled on. Sorry for the confusion (if you were confused, that is), and I will add "Congressional" to the title of the earlier story.

Court rejects NC Republicans' request for "Stay" on gerrymandering order

Because doing what's right is never a burden:

Judges James A. Wynn, William L. Osteen and W. Earl Britt of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled that the lawmakers had failed to meet the “heavy burden” required to stay the order.

They found that the lawmakers' "motion does not dispute this court’s unanimous conclusions that” the map had resulted in partisan gerrymandering, and ordering that it be redrawn. The judges also found that staying the ruling would not injure the lawmakers, but “would substantially injure — indeed irreparably harm — Plaintiffs.”

In any sane world, Republicans would be seriously re-evaluating their affinity and reliance on bent redistricting to buttress their power. But instead, they're gearing up to bring their funky map-making skills to the Judicial Branch. They honestly have no shame.

Breaking: Court rules NC Congressional maps be redrawn by the end of January

Excerpts from Democracy NC's 2016 Election report

Hat-tip to NC Policy Watch for bringing this to our attention:

Hurricane Matthew, hit the eastern part of the state on October 8 and 9 – just a few days before the regular voter registration deadline of October 14. Hurricane Matthew caused over a billion dollars of damage and led to devastating flooding across eastern and coastal North Carolina – an area of the state with large numbers of African-American and low-income voters. By order of a Wake County Superior Court judge, the voter registration deadline was extended by five days to October 19 in the 36 counties that had sustained enough damage to qualify for federal emergency assistance. The SBOE also sent a postcard to over 22,000 voters in the area who had requested mail-in absentee ballots, in hopes of rectifying cases where voters had not received their ballots or had lost them in the flooding, and coordinated with shelters and the postal service to pick up ballots from voters in time.

While the extension and other outreach efforts by the SBOE were helpful, the severe disruption caused by Hurricane Matthew was difficult to mitigate. Many eastern North Carolina voters remained displaced well through Election Day, and a handful of early voting locations and polling places across the impacted region had to be changed as a result of flooding and hurricane damage.

Some of those areas still haven't recovered, some 15 months later. Among many other problems, the effect on voter turnout was devastating. And so was the unnecessary confusion over out-of-precinct voting:

What Republicans did not want to hear when they blocked Judge Stephens from speaking during Committee hearing

gavelbanging.jpg

Here are some excerpts from his prepared statement:

It is my opinion that the quality and integrity of the trial bench [in North Carolina] is above reproach. I have found no evidence to the contrary. None. I have heard no sworn testimony or information presented to this body or any other legislative committee that challenges or impugns the quality or the integrity of the [North Carolina] trial judiciary.

I understand that the fire trucks are here, but where is the fire? Who saw the fire? Who declared that the judicial house was on fire? You are drawing up plans to rebuild our judicial house that is not on fire and has no structural damage. Where is any evidence that the quality and integrity of this state’s judiciary is so poor that the constitution of [North Carolina] must be immediately drastically changed? Who has declared the emergency? On what basis?

Oh, there's an emergency all right. But it's one of Republicans' making. They're engaged in an all-out war on the judiciary, from the NC Supreme Court all the way down to the District and Superior Courts. And as for Republican judges who are already sitting, when one of their own (Doug McCullough) resigned from his CoA seat early so Governor Cooper could name his replacement instead of the Legislature, well. That just pissed them off to the point they decided to burn the whole damn thing down. Judge Stephens continues, and hat-tip to NC Policy Watch for (once again) providing truth to power:

Wake County still battling with Legislature over electoral districts

At stake are Commissioner and School Board seats:

Election officials are asking a judge for permission to use old district lines for next year’s election of Wake County school board members and commissioners as a lawsuit continues to make its way through the court system.

In 2011, the school board and commissioners adopted new election districts that they expected would be used through 2020. But the General Assembly redrew the maps in 2013 to turn two Wake school board seats into regional districts, with each covering about half the county. In 2015, state lawmakers changed the Wake commissioner lines to match the school board districts.

This should really be a no-brainer; nothing of substance has changed since they were allowed to use the old maps in the 2016 Election. And something doesn't become "Constitutional" just because it's aged a couple years:

Debunking yet another right-wing conspiracy theory

There are no such thing as ghost voters:

Los Angeles County’s registrar of voters, Dean Logan, explained to the Bee that the names on the inactive voter list are kept as a “fail-safe” so as to not disenfranchise or discourage voters. Combining “inactive voter” and “active voter” lists could result in a higher total number of registered voters that Judicial Watch says raises suspicions.

Logan and Gail Pellerin, the Santa Cruz County registrar of voters, told the Los Angeles Times that very few people on the “inactive voter” list actually show up to vote. As few as 12 people, out of 44,172 people on Santa Cruz County’s inactive list, showed up to vote in November, Pellerin said.

Deeply embedded in North Carolina's voter database are three (3) registration files for yours truly. I have seen them pulled up on a screen during an early voting session. One is from when I was stationed at Ft. Bragg back in the 1980's, another when I was still a (confused) Republican, and my current registration as a Democrat. The two older ones are "inactive" files, and mean absolutely nothing in the scheme of things. It's not a conspiracy to subvert democracy, and it's not even a "weakness that could be exploited" in the system. But efforts to purge voter rolls very likely is a conspiracy:

2018 elections: The only thing certain is uncertainty

And the NC GOP has certainly screwed up the electoral landscape:

This week, Democrat Anita Earls announced she would run for the seat on the state Supreme Court held by Republican Justice Barbara Jackson. But will there be an election in 2018 at all?

There's a different question surrounding legislative elections in 2018: which incumbents will be forced to share districts? New proposed district lines are out, drawn by an independent mapmaker, but that's not the final word.

Even though the court has spoken (clearly), and even though Percily only redrew a handful of districts, Republicans are still trying to bully their way in to scribble on the damn maps. They need to be called out by the press for their efforts to undermine democracy and the voters who rely on it, and they need to be spanked a lot harder by the courts for constantly muddying the waters. The people need to reclaim their time.

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