Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fissure Between Republicans on the Wake County Board of Elections

This is actually significant news ... when one of two Republicans (who dominate all the boards of elections in the state) splits with his Republican chairman and votes with the Democratic minority member to make voting easier for the people ... that's significant news.

WRAL was there last night at the Wake County Board of Elections meeting and took down a very telling blow-by-blow. Which is only part of what makes WRAL the indispensable source for North Carolina political news.

Brian Ratledge
Issue The First: Sunday voting, much favored and much utilized by our black citizens. The Wake Board Chairman, Republican Brian Ratledge, hates Sunday voting, but what he said was "It's not something I've been in support of in the past." Beyond that penetrating rationale, Mr. Ratledge couldn't say why Sunday voting was so needful of elimination.

Republicans in the audience came to his aid: Mike Hinton said he is "adamantly opposed" to Sunday voting: "It seems that our government has taken the path of removing responsibility from the citizen and providing convenience."

"Providing convenience." Imagine that! If there's one thing your run-of-the-mill Republican is going to come down hard on, it's voting convenience.

Republican Bill Bryson took the bluenose route, pulling his skirts of righteousness sharply around him: "Our people need to rest on Sunday."

"Our people." No need to ask whose people Mr. Bryson was claiming as "ours."

Issue The Second: An Early Voting site in a predominantly black neighborhood. Republican Chairman Brian Ratledge opposed restoring Early Voting to the Chavis Community Center (located on Martin Luther King Blvd. and named for a 19th-century free black preacher, so go figure!), even though in 2012 the Chavis Community Center had the 3rd highest Early Voting turnout in the 2012 General Elections.

But they're black, and the Republican Chair of the Wake County Board of Elections will be damned and go to hell before he enables those people over "our people."

Chair Ratledge: If voters in southeast Raleigh didn't want to pay to park to vote downtown, they could take public transit." Seriously? (Let 'em also eat cake?)

The Democratic member of the board, Mark Ezzell, pushed back: "A couple of years ago, when you mentioned this option, I opted to ride the bus to see how easy that was. It took me three hours. It is not reasonable to expect that the people who have traditionally voted at Chavis are going to be able to get down to the Board of Elections."

Bottomline: Hearing from the public -- many other people spoke in favor of Sunday voting and in favor of restoring Early Voting to the Chavis Community Center -- the other Republican member of the board voted with Mark Ezzell. So there's that. And according to the WRAL report, Chair Ratledge won't appeal the decision to the State Board of Elections.

Josh Howard
Speaking of the State Board of Elections ... also happening yesterday, the Republican Chair of the State Board of Elections, Josh Howard, who has always led the Republican majority in voting against Democratic appeals of Early Voting plans in Watauga County, resigned his seat. From quotes to the press, he seems to want us to believe that he's going out in a blaze of glory. We think he's just going out in a blaze.


Upsydaisy said...

What is the name of the other Republican. We should give him praise!

J.W. Williamson said...

Sorry! His name is Ellis Boyle.