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Hullabaloo


Friday, August 05, 2016

 

Voting turbulence ahead. Please fasten seat belts.

by Tom Sullivan

UH NO, HERE.

Last Friday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down North Carolina's omnibus 2013 voter suppression act as voter suppression. Last night, the same court rejected the state's request for a stay. The ruling stands for the November elections. The state's only recourse now is appeal for "emergency relief" to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The good news is voters will get an extra week added to the early voting period. The bad news is voters will get an extra week added to the early voting period:

Television spots aimed at educating voters about North Carolina's voter ID law are being canceled. One million informational posters and push cards are outdated and most likely headed for the trash. Binders carefully created as election bibles for each of the state's 2,700 precincts need a heavy edit, with no time to waste.

Election officials are scrambling to comply with last week's federal appeals court ruling striking down North Carolina's voter photo identification mandate and other restrictions Republicans approved three years ago.
Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled that the monstrosity has been overturned. It's just that the voters and Boards of Election across the state will once again be whipsawed by the decision.

I lived in NC-11 for 20 years. Redistricting in 2011 threw me into NC-10. That's where I voted at the beginning of this year. But after a federal court in February threw out two congressional districts downstate as racially gerrymandered, all 13 were redrawn. Now I'm back in NC-11, pending final court approval. Are you with me so far?

For months, when people asked (expecting me to know) about voting requirements for the fall — about dates, district lines, voter ID, out-of-precinct voting, same-day registration, etc. — my answer has been, "What day of the week is it?" I keep up with this stuff and can't keep up with this stuff. November could be a rough ride:
Two days of training next week for election officials in all 100 counties also must be retooled. Counties already finalizing plans for 10 days of early voting now must develop plans to cover 17 days. Counties may have to spend more on staffing the extra days and precinct worker training, according to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.

[...]

Already this year, a federal court struck down North Carolina's congressional boundaries, which had to be redrawn before separate primaries in June. Voters in Wake County, which includes Raleigh, still don't know how local government elections will be carried out following a decision striking down district boundaries.
In their desire to double- and triple-bunk incumbent Democrats and to disenfranchise voting groups that tend to vote the wrong way, Republican lawmakers have turned putting on an election in North Carolina into an Olympic event. If staffs of local Boards of Elections can pull off this November's election with a minimum of confusion, lines and errors, they deserve gold medals.