Voter ID Constitutional Amendment Qualifies for North Carolina Ballot

North Carolina voters will decide next fall whether voter ID requirement should be part of the state constitution.  The Republican-controlled state Senate approved the measure, which would bring back photo ID requirements that were part of a 2013 state election law that was later struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016. The ruling concluded, “the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision,” and called it, “the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow.” Amendments do not require the approval of the governor, in this case Democrat Roy Cooper.

Governor Cooper released a statement earlier this month saying, “Here they go again. After being stopped by the Courts for discriminating against African Americans with ‘surgical precision,’ this Republican legislature is once again reducing access to the ballot box. We should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder.”

In a statement, Let America Vote president Jason Kander said, “North Carolinians who believe in a free and fair democracy now must stand up and fight to defeat this amendment so that this un-democratic policy is not enshrined in the state constitution. Let America Vote stands with voting-rights champions to make sure that political consequences exist for politicians who suppress the vote.”

According to North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse, the State Executive Committee will meet in Charlotte on August 4 to formally endorse the amendments that will appear on the ballot, and work to ensure their passage. Because the amendments were passed by a Republican-controlled legislature, they would presumably help drive Republican turnout in the 2018 election with no governor or U.S. Senate race on the ballot this cycle. Voter ID will be one of six constitutional amendments on the North Carolina ballot this November. Only two states currently have voter ID requirements in their constitutions.

Governors Oppose Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy

In the past few days, governors from both parties have stated their opposition to President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance policy” which has resulted in the separation of thousands of migrant children from their families at the border. Some governors issued statements, while others like Larry Hogan, Charlie Baker and Roy Cooper took action by recalling their National Guard troops that had been deployed to protect the border.

Here is the list, in alphabetical order by state, as of the night of June 19:

For political context, Hickenlooper (D) and Malloy (D) are term-limited. Baker (R), Hogan (R), Raimondo (D), Scott (R), Sununu (R), and Wolf (D) are running for reelection.  Carney (D), Cooper (D), and Northam (D) are in the middle of their current terms.

 

DNC Chair Candidates Weigh in on North Carolina Controversy

For those who aren’t familiar with the story, the North Carolina state legislature – which is controlled by Republican supermajorities in both chambers – passed two bills that would limit the powers of the incoming Democratic governor Roy Cooper, bills that were signed into law by the outgoing Republican incumbent Pat McCrory who just lost his reelection bid.

Keith Ellison weighed in on these developments during a conference call:

“The DNC has an election protection program, and this is at the heart of their mission,” he said. “It needs to step up right now to say this is outrageous, and get lawyers to oppose this undemocratic action that is happening right now. You gotta be in the fight.”

Tom Perez issued a statement:

I have not seen any official statements or public comments about North Carolina from any of the other candidates. If they do make any, this post will be updated to include them.

 

Pat McCrory Concedes

North Carolina governor Pat McCrory just released this video statement through the official North Carolina governor’s office account announcing his concession:

Here are the reactions:

Democratic National Committee:

North Carolina Democratic Party:

Roy Cooper:

There are no statements yet from the Republican National Committee, the Republican Party of North Carolina, or the Republican Governors Association. This post will be updated if they make any public statements later.

 

 

Durham County Recount Update

According to most recent figures published last night as part of the Durham County recount ordered by the North Carolina State Board of Elections, of the 52,833 ballots counted, Roy Cooper picked up 3 votes, Pat McCrory lost 1 vote and the overvote tally dropped by 2. The recount continues on Monday morning.

Here are the two most recent tweets about it from Durham County Government:

Numbers should be coming in later, but based on these tweets, it’s not looking good for Pat McCrory.

North Carolina State Board of Elections Orders Recount in Durham County

The North Carolina State Board of Elections ordered a machine recount of 90,000 votes in heavily Democratic Durham County, a request backed by Pat McCrory’s campaign and the state Republican Party. The board’s decision came down to a 3-2 vote on party lines.

More details on the 90,000 votes in question, from the Raleigh News & Observer:

The roughly 90,000 votes under scrutiny in Durham were added to the statewide tally around 11:30 p.m. on election night. McCrory, who is seeking a second term, appeared to be leading statewide until those votes were added to the total; Democrat Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s attorney general, has been leading in the count ever since.

Baker said the late shift could have reminded voters of fraudulent elections in which corrupt officials added to the vote count if their candidate was behind. He said that practice was once common in Madison County, a rural county near Asheville where he lives.

“I’m not saying that’s what happened here,” Baker said. “I personally don’t have any reason to doubt that any information entered was correct.”

Another Republican board member, Rhonda Amoroso of Wilmington, cited past election problems and staffing changes in Durham County as one reason to hold a recount. “I think right now we have a taint,” she said.

McCrory’s campaign said he won’t seek a statewide recount if the Durham votes are recounted. Election officials there said the recount would take about eight hours, so it’s possible the governor’s race could be settled by the end of the week.

In the latest numbers on Wednesday, Cooper’s lead was above 10,000 votes for the first time as the final counties were finishing counting absentee and provisional ballots. Several more counties are expected to finish their tallies by the end of the week; McCrory isn’t eligible for a statewide recount unless the margin is less than 10,000.

Reaction from the Cooper campaign:

Reaction from the McCrory campaign:

What’s the end game in all this? According to News & Observer political reporter Colin Campbell:

Cooper Lead in NC Exceeds 10K Votes, Democrats Call on McCrory to Concede

Democratic candidate Roy Cooper’s lead in the North Carolina governor’s race has passed the critical 10,000-vote threshold. Why is this important? Because under state law, once the margin of victory exceeds that number, the losing candidate can’t ask for a recount. Democrats are now calling on Gov. Pat McCrory to concede.

Cooper campaign manager Trey Nix:

“Roy Cooper’s lead has now grown to over 10,000 votes. Game over. It’s time for Governor McCrory to concede. It’s clear there is no path to victory for Governor McCrory. It’s time for Governor McCrory to accept the election results and respect the will of the voters.”

Democratic Governors Association executive director Elisabeth Pearson:

“Congratulations to Gov.-elect Roy Cooper on his clear victory in North Carolina. North Carolina was 2016’s marquee gubernatorial race, and we are thrilled to claim it as a Democratic pick-up. Gov.-elect Cooper’s lead has now grown beyond a 10,000-vote margin, eliminating Gov. Pat McCrory’s path forward. North Carolina voters have spoken, and it is time for Gov. McCrory to concede this election.”

There is no statement yet from the North Carolina Republican Party and the McCrory campaign, but in a series of tweets, they are urging citizens to call the State Board of Elections to request a recount in Durham County:

There is no statement yet from the Republican Governors Association, either.