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.


Anonymous said...


Do YOU feel the hysteria rising on the left?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:42PM

If the potential for a fascist's state suits your needs, by all means necessary — right? The SBOE is acting in an obviously partisan manner and is not protecting the collective voting rights of NC citizens, regardless of their party affiliations. There is a big problem here that threatens all of our rights within a democratic society. Just because it favors your rather limited view at this point in time is irrelevant to the larger picture. This is a serious attack on the democratic process of voting and there is a lot at stake here. You need to quit drinking the Fox News Kool-aid and think about the larger picture of where our democracy is heading.

Anonymous said...

One thing I've wondered about all of this. Since the 26th amendment was passed in the early 1970s, has there been any blatant case of suppressing college voters in any state?

I'm an Independent that lived in Boone for six years when I went to school there. I've voted for a range of candidates, but the Republican's blatant disregard of student voting rights - forcing college students to vote in local elections where they don't even live - is beyond the pale. It may be several years before I vote for a Republican in NC again.

Anonymous said...

Wait....they are forcing people to vote and you are blaming the Republicans? I think you need to retake your history. Boone is dominated by Dems and claim with a loud voice that student vote is suppressed. You should vote Republican.

Anonymous said...

I do remember my history and recall a time when the Republican-leaning county would grudgingly get along and work with the more Dem leaning town of Boone.

The university and its many residents aren't going away any time soon. Republicans need to respect that fact and respect the Constitutional rights of the students to vote unimpeded or face the consequences.

A significant part of the economy of northwest NC is from tourists and retirees. The last few times I've visited the area, seeing all the signs touting religious and conservative claptrap and locals yammering on about the evil gays and liberals has me looking for somewhere else to spend a relaxing weekend.

Why should I spend my money to be around that kind of hostility?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 6:26AM wins Best Comment of the Month.