Author: Aylett Colston

Will North Carolina Have Special Elections in 2017?

The 4th Circuit Court has scheduled a hearing for July 27 on the timeline for re-drawing North Carolina’s gerrymandered state legislative districts and whether to have special elections. As a reminder, approximately 83 % of North Carolinians have not had an opportunity for constitutional representation in the State Legislature since 2012. Quick & Dirty “Covington” Re-cap The US Supreme Court affirmed the 4th Circuit finding that 9 of the NC state Senate Districts and 19 of the NC State House Districts were unconstitutional because they were racial gerrymanders in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (“Covington...

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The Call is Coming from Inside the House: The Threat to Election Integrity in North Carolina

Summary: NC legislators want you to think our electoral process is under attack, and it is – but they are the ones attacking it. In four recent decisions, the Supreme Court of the United States has confirmed that the NCGOP-controlled legislature has repeatedly violated the Constitution in disenfranchising North Carolina voters.  Voting is the embodiment of our most cherished freedoms – this systematic and deliberate attack on fair elections is an attack on America itself. The Courts have held that the NCGOP actions are motivated by intentional racism again and again. Yet the same day the Supreme Court announced...

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A Journey to Voter Suppression Starts with a Single Statutory Change

A bill has been filed in the NC Senate, “SB 38,” that would make it easier to “challenge” absentee voting, similar to the challenge filed by GOP attorneys in Bladen County under the name of McRae Dowless (as profiled on “This American Life”). In addition to being used by older or infirm voters, absentee ballots are often used by communities that have faced voter intimidation in the past. Targeting absentee voting by historically disenfranchised communities is a time-tested method of voter suppression, like Jeff Sessions’ prosecution of Civil Rights workers in Alabama. NC’s most recent case in point is...

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SCOTUS Stays NC Special Election

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) granted the NC-GOP’s motion to “stay” the court-ordered NC General Assembly redistricting and 2017 Special Elections. This stay is considered temporary pending the Supreme Court’s decision next week about whether it will hear an appeal of the “Covington” case, a process known as “granting cert”. In “Covington,” a three-judge panel found that “race was the predominant factor” in creating the NC legislature maps, and that the NCGA-drawn districts violate both the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. On August 11, 2016, the US District Court ordered the NC General Assembly to re-draw the...

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We are The People

In a democracy, the people must be included, not excluded, from public discourse and legislative deliberations. Thursday morning, December 15, 2016 For the past two days, I have been at the North Carolina General Assembly so that I could watch the people’s business being conducted.   Instead of deliberating and taking action openly, the legislature adjourned and rescheduled almost every session within a few minutes and retreated into their caucus. I tried to attend the GOP caucus (because it seemed that was where the real business was taking place) so that I could watch that hearings, deliberations, and actions of our state business being conducted....

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