Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shades of Jim Crow

It's been more than a little embarrassing to live in North Carolina since the easily deluded voters here turned the joint over to the crackpot con Republicans who are now in a race to turn the place into the wingnuttiest state in the union. The latest attack on voting rights in Raleigh is geting national attention. As it should. They mandated onerous voter ID requirements, cut down early voting and made voter registration as difficult as possible among other odious ploys to suppress Democratic voters. But these two provisions are being largely overlooked though they're likely to turn out to be the ones which affect the election the most.
It also empowers election vigilantes like True the Vote—who have been accused of voter intimidation—giving ample room to anyone who wants to challenge the voting credentials of their fellow citizen. It authorizes poll observers, expanding their range and authority, an expands the scope of who can examine registration records and challenge voters, and it allows voters to be challenged by any registered voter in their county without cause. [...]

And, as the icing on the cake, the law also makes room for independent groups to spend as much as they’d like in North Carolina elections, ending public financing programs, raising contribution limits, and eliminating disclosure requirements. It’s a wet kiss to powerful interests as well as an attack on voting.
Meanwhile, our creepy crackpot Governor is out on the bobblehead circuit spewing unadulterated horseshit about the law.

But that's just at the state level. The real work of voter suppressing is conducted by the yahoos on the County Commissions. What happened in Watauga County this week should be national news. It's a mystery to me how this can even be legal.

Read the gory details at the link to get the full scope of this travesty in governance but the shorter short is this. A three person county Board of Elections (2 GOPers, 1 Democrat) held a meeting and the majority membership of two announced the secret deal they made behind closed doors to benefit the candidacy of one of their relatives. They refused the Democratic member's request for the materials prior to the meeting and of course the voters were kept in the dark as well. These are the changes they announced as fait accompli:
1. Rewrote the duties of the elections supervisor, specifying that Jane Anne Hodges is prohibited from being involved in "the discussion or debate of political or discretionary decisions [!]... regarding the location or number of polling places or early voting sites and hours." She is further required to keep a log "of all telephone calls and visitors," and must never be allowed to be in the elections office alone during any polling period.

2. Resolutions to establish a public comment provision: This new board decrees that only written comment will be acceptable.

3. One-Stop Implementation Plan for the 2013 municipal elections: ASU Student Union site, closed. One site only: Commissioner's Boardroom.

4. Resolution to combine three precincts, Boone 1, Boone 2, and Boone 3 into a single precinct with the polling place at the Agricultural Conference Center. This would put over 9,000 voters into a single mega-precinct, when state voting guidelines recommend no more than 1,500 voters per precinct.

5. Move the Meat Camp polling place to the new Meat Camp fire department and move the New River 3 precinct polling place from the Armory to Mutton's Crossing on Bamboo Rd.
You have to familiar with the geography and the demograhics of this county to appreciate just how brazen this move was. Watauga, a rural county, has the only real concentration of progressive Democrats outside of the big cities in NC. These two GOP meatheads effectively made it as difficult as possible for Democrats to cast ballots by moving the liberal district's voting venues to locations that are the least accessible and lack sufficient space and parking to house the voting booths. One venue lacks the 25 foot setback required for political signs, meaning it will be impossible for voters or candidates to pass out informational material outside of the polling place. The only way their intentions could be more obvious is if they had arrived at the meeting wearing sandwich signs saying -- Fuck you Democratic voters. The local newspaper has more coverage and photos of the GOP's smug gerrymandered thugs. May we all live long enough to see their karma kick them in the ass.

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

And we keep insisting that the Civil War is over and that we won.

11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Silly us.

1:28:00 PM  

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