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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

 

I love a challenge

by Tom Sullivan


Photo by Tom Hagerty via Creative Commons

They say write what you know. So let's do that. I love a challenge.

It's primary day in North Carolina. Except for congressional candidates. Oh, and supreme court justice candidates. Court actions have postponed those contests until June 7. State Republican leaders are on a losing streak where election changes are concerned. Turnout in early voting has been high.

Confusion abounds here about primaries and court-ordered redistricting. In 2010, I was in one western NC congressional district. In 2011, I got drawn into the next district east. After courts last month forced Republicans to redraw two racially gerrymandered districts downstate, the remapping cascaded down to the state's other 11 congressional districts. The new map showed me back in the district where I started. Unless the court rejects the new map and makes Republicans draw it again. Don't get me started on judicial retention elections.

Of course, by the time the courts ruled in February, the state had already printed ballots for the March 15 primary. So if there is a congressional primary in the district you were in (but might not still be in), that race will be on your ballot and you can vote in it today. Of course, those races have been postponed and your vote in those particular races won't count. Not to worry. You'll get to vote in them again on June 7, but maybe for a different set of congressional candidates in a different district than you are in. Or were in. This is your state on T-party.

Are you with me so far?

Let's move on to voter ID:

A strict voter ID law will be in effect for the first time in Tuesday’s primary in North Carolina, where an estimated 218,000 registered voters don’t have the identification they’ll need to vote. Two other presidential battleground states, Florida and Ohio, also vote Tuesday and have restrictions in place.

There have already been voting problems in North Carolina, especially in student-heavy areas, according to reports. Student IDs aren’t accepted under the law, and neither are out-of-state driver’s licenses. One senior at UNC Chapel-Hill who voted in the 2012 presidential election said he showed his Pennsylvania license and was forced to cast a provisional ballot, which may not be counted. His was one of numerous anecdotes to emerge in recent days of North Carolinians prevented from voting.
Not just students. Richard Burr, senior Republican United States Senator from North Carolina, is up for reelection this fall. When Burr, senior Republican United States Senator from North Carolina, went to early vote last week, he discovered he lost his ID. (Had the dog eaten it?) Thanks to the state's strict voter ID law passed through the Republican legislature in 2013 with the aid of Burr's freshman Senate colleague, Thom Tillis, Burr was forced to cast a provisional ballot. But don't worry, Dick. All you need to do for your vote to count is:
(1) fill out a form to explain a “reasonable impediment” for why you don’t have an acceptable ID; and
(2) write in your birth date and last 4 digits of your Social Security number; or show a registration card, current utility bill, pay stub, bank statement, or any government document with your name and address.
Hint: Your U.S. Senate lapel pin doesn't count.

This whole thing sounds mighty suspicious, right? An open invitation for the dead to vote. Someone had better alert Hans von Spakovsky and the voter fraud squads to be on the alert for scores of shuffling zombies presenting themselves at the polls as Richard Burr-AINS!

BTW, there is also a presidential primary here today. Unless North Carolina goes the way of Michigan, Hillary Clinton is expected to win today.