Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Battle Over Provisional Votes Heats Up

An article in this a.m.'s Charlotte Observer suggests that the Democratic majorities in both the N.C. House and Senate are not going to take the N.C. Supreme Court's disfranchising of over 11,000 voters last Friday (provisional ballots) lying down. No, they're at least in an alert, sitting posture now. Maybe they'll even get up on their feet.

What's afoot is that the state Republican Party, emboldened now by the five Republican justices on the court who know a Main Chance when they see one, are not only targeting the Superintendent of Public Instruction office (which June Atkinson won by 8,500 votes) but also Democratic county commission sweeps in both Mecklenburg and, yes, Watauga counties.

Local Republicans had many employees of the local Board of Elections working long hours to gather up all the documents pertinent to provisional votes in Watauga County -- including the precinct voter logs -- to try to prove that Mr. James Coffey really should still be chairman of the board. They rushed those papers down to their party headquarters in Raleigh, where right now presumably round-the-clock intercessory prayers are being pronounced in their general direction.

I've seen the figures from Watauga on how provisional ballots tallied up, and my memory is that Republicans won more votes from provisional ballots than Democrats. Wouldn't it be poetic justice if the Republican push to disfranchise voters ended up hurting their own vote tallies?

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