Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BREAKING: Early Voting at the ASU Student Union

The State Board of Elections concluded 5-0 just seconds ago that Early Voting will take place in the Price Lake Room of the Plemmons Student Union, beginning tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.

There was no dissent.


The BREAKING news immediately down-column should have said that the NC Court of Appeals lifted its temporary stay on Judge Donald Stephens' order that an Early Voting site be restored to the campus of Appalachian State University.

The actual appeal on the merits will be heard later, probably next year.

Meanwhile, the State Board of Elections is holding a phone conference this afternoon at 4 p.m. to choose an Early Voting site on the ASU campus.

The Supreme Court has not taken up the appeal.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

BREAKING: Court of Appeals Upholds Judge Stephens

RALEIGH -- The North Carolina Court of Appeals has just upheld Wake Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens' order that an Early Voting site must be restored to the campus of Appalachian State University.

A Little Rabble Rousing Music for Tuesday Morning

Sunday, October 19, 2014

This Is a Joke, Right?

Vandals erect a billboard distorting Rep. Jonathan Jordan's record.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Irreparable Harm" ... to Whom?

Let's put it this way: What else is power for? The State Board of Elections (SBOE) can save the sorry hide of a ruling politician or two by winning a court challenge to college student voting. And why shouldn't they win? They represent the current rulers of North Carolina.

So this happened: On Monday Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ordered the Early Voting site restored to the campus of Appalachian State University, on constitutional grounds. On Thursday, "the state" (SBOE, represented at taxpayer expense by the Attorney General's office) appealed to both the NC Court of Appeals and to the NC Supreme Court to overturn Judge Stephens.
...the state asked ... for an emergency stay and appeal. The state’s argument is that [Judge] Stephens overstepped his authority by striking down the previously approved early voting plan and that changing the plan 10 days before the start of early voting will cause confusion and chaos for voters and elections officials. This, according to the motion, will cause “irreparable harm” unless the high court steps in to stop it.
Yesterday afternoon (Friday), the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay against the ASU site until at least Tuesday, ordering both sides to submit arguments.

"Irreparable harm"? Harm to whom? And how? You mean, if college students are allowed to vote unhindered by unnecessary barriers to their voting, that the Republic will suffer "irreparable harm"?

Yes, irreparable harm. Some politicians' asses are lodged in cracks, and the door might slam.

The argument that Judge Stephens "overstepped his authority" was the main line of reasoning trotted out by the lawyer representing SBOE at Monday's hearing. I was there. I was listening. (Also been waiting for the official transcript, so I could discuss the arguments verbatim, but now my hand's been forced:) The state's attorney said Judge Stephens didn't have jurisdiction to rule because plaintiffs didn't have standing to sue. Because and therefore, the SBOE's decisions are really immune from legal challenge. Got that? No one can, or ever has, challenged an SBOE administrative decision in court.

So what are people to do? Judge Stephens asked state counsel. Where are people to go when a state agency charged with providing equal ballot access to all clearly violates the rights of a class of voters, any voters? Where are they to go? "Under the unique circumstances in this case," Judge Stephens said in his subsequent order, "respondent's early voting plan for Watauga County is subject to judicial review by the Wake County Superior Court under N.C. Gen. Stat. 163-22(a)."

You can count on the question of the judge's jurisdiction being the hinge in the Court of Appeals on which swings the fate of Early Voting in Watauga County.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Do You Feel the Hysteria Rising on the Right?

An editorial in the Raleigh News & Observer calls out the voter suppression bullshit of the State Board of Elections, which enabled and ratified the voter suppression bullshit of the Watauga County Board of Elections when it removed last year a long established Early Voting site from the Appalachian State University campus.

The editorial fingers the reason that the State Board of Elections has now gone pleading to the NC Supreme Court and its gang of conservatives for an emergency hearing to overturn Judge Donald Stephens' order in Waker Superior Court: "The GOP doesn’t think it can maintain power on a level playing field." So it stacks the cards against ballot access for young people because Republicans can't win their hearts and minds, let alone their votes.

If Judge Stephens' order prevails and ASU students get their polling place, the editorialist points out, "the impact could be significant elsewhere."

Can't you hear the sharp intake of breath in conservative circles at that thought? OMG! Why, students at other universities and colleges in the state might get the idea that they deserve easy voting opportunities too! And there goes the ballgame.

A reader posted a comment under that editorial, reminding me of what conservative guru Paul Weyrich famously said (and he said it on-camera to boot): "So many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome: good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Yeah, we got that.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tillis Visibly Shrinks in Size Next to Burr

Yesterday, Senator Richard Burr stood side by side with would-be senator Thom Tillis and said that Federal Judge Max Cogburn, who declared Amendment One unconstitutional last week, was "the most qualified" for the job, which was why he voted to confirm him to the Federal bench.

For his part, wannabe senator Tillis had earlier condemned Burr's confirmation vote by implication, by saying this: "We're in a dangerous time in this country where the president has appointed liberal activist judges -- and Sen. [Kay] Hagan has endorsed them or confirmed them -- that are literally trying the legislate from the bench."

Blah, blah, blah. Mr. Wannabe speaking the company-approved word-salad about "liberal judges," while Dick Burr -- bless his heart! -- stands by his vote.

Must have made for an awkward moment in Cary yesterday.

How Does This Add To Our Respect for the NC State Board of Elections?

Kim Strach, Executive Director of the North Carolina Board of Elections, is married to Phil Strach, a Republican lawyer who's a member of the law firm defending the Republican gerrymandering of North Carolina. As such, Phil Strach has been both very active in court and quite well paid by us, the taxpayers.

Yeah, that passes the smell test (if you cut off your nose, presumably to spite your face).