Now come the young ones

In August, the League of Women Voters sued North Carolina on that state’s new voter suppression law:

On Monday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the most suppressive voting law in decades. The League of Women Voters of North Carolina (LWVNC) went straight to action, filing a federal lawsuit to challenge the voting restrictions as racially discriminatory and request that the state be placed back into preclearance under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
North Carolina’s new voting law is likely a bellwether of anti-voter legislation to come in other states following the Supreme Court’s decision this past June striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. While much focus has been given to the law’s voter photo ID requirements, its voter restrictions unfortunately go much deeper.
In addition to requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote, the law:
• Shortens weekday early voting periods;
• Eliminates early voting on Sundays;
• Eliminates pre-registration for high school students;
• Eliminates same day registration during early voting.
LWVNC’s lawsuit, which was filed by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the ACLU on behalf of LWVNC, Common Cause and the A. Philip Randolph Institute, argues that the state’s new voting law will restrict voter registration and voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians, particularly minorities.

“North Carolina has a long and sad history of official discrimination against African Americans, including official discrimination in voting that has touched upon the right of African Americans and other people of color to register, vote, or otherwise participate in the democratic process,” LWVNC’s lawsuit argues.

Over 70 percent of African-Americans used early voting in the 2008 and 2012 general elections, compared to 52 percent of white voters. The lawsuit is just one part of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina’s vow to do everything in its power “to see that this legislation gets swept into the dustbin of history where it belongs.

This is a motion to intervene in that original League of Women Voters lawsuit, brought by young voters, yesterday (pdf). “VIVA” is the Voter Information Verification Act which is the title of the North Carolina law. Louis M. Duke is one of the young plaintiffs, which is why they are called the “Duke Plaintiffs” in the motion:

The Duke Plaintiffs, all young voters residing in and registered to vote in North Carolina, seek to intervene in this action to protect their voting rights and interests that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Like the current plaintiffs, the Duke Plaintiffs assert that the law violates their right to equal protection as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. But as young voters, the Duke Plaintiffs bring the unique perspective of a group, not currently represented by any party to the litigation, whose voting rights are significantly impacted by VIVA…

VIVA infringes upon or outright denies the rights of young North Carolinians to vote through restrictive voter identification requirements; the curtailment of early or “one stop” voting; the elimination of same day registration; the elimination of out-of-precinct voting; the removal of the discretion of boards of election to keep polling locations open for an extra hour on Election Day; and the elimination of pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds. These drastic changes in North Carolina’s voting laws disproportionality affect young voters as compared to the general population.

Accordingly, in addition to claiming a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Duke Plaintiffs allege injury under the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits states intentionally infringing or denying “the right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote on account of age”

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



I hope only that all the provisionals are counted in

you are probably already familiar with the extraordinary developments over the weekend in Virginia, where the canvassing process has narrowed the margin between Republican Mark Obenshain and Democrat Mark Herring to 17 votes out of 2.2 million cast.

What’s been fascinating to me is how this entire process has taken place under the gaze of hyper-aware election geeks who have in some cases driven the narrative forward – mostly on Twitter

Either way, this race is almost certain to go to a recount; when it does, the record will already be jam-packed with evidence of what happened on and after Election Day.
On behalf of election geeks everywhere, I raise my coffee cup to Virginia. If nothing else, it’s one hell of a story.

Members and employees of the Board of Elections here say the ideal election result is not “Republican won!” or “Democrat won!” it’s “landslide!” because they know they will be national news if there’s a statewide race that comes down to a handful of votes. The truth is one doesn’t know how well the election process in any state will hold up under scrutiny until it’s tested with a race like this one.

* if you want specific numbers on provisionals read this.

** commenter Van has additional info on the provisional ballot rule change controversy:

Yeah, the SBE issued a statement on the rules. Basically what the controversy was about was could voters have a legal representative appear before the board without the voter present to advocate for accepting their provisional ballot. Party representatives are already there and neither the voter or their legal representative needs to be there for a provisional ballot to be accepted( or rejected). In 2012 the legislature amended the rules to allow a voter to bring a legal representative with them, but this did not include allowing the legal representative to appear without the voter. The Fairfax board was reading this differently, but they were overruled by the SBE partly because many localities had already counted their provisional ballots and they felt it would be unfair to change the rules. So this is not a GOP power grab.








Trailing Local Elections Open Thread

Looks like Boston chose “the unions guy” (Marty Walsh) over “the charter schools education guy” (John Connolly).

ETA: From commentor Rheinhard:

As a NJ voter, while Christie’s win is disappointing (while not unexpected — Barbara Buono ran a largely invisible campaign), one bright spot is the overwhelming victory of the ballot initiative to raise the NJ minimum wage to $8.25, with annual cost of living increases. This effectively overrides fatass’ veto of the bill passed by the NJ legislature, thanks to wage increase supporters getting it on the state ballot.

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Got beaten to the front page, first by Cole and then by Soonergrunt. Wrap up your bitching microanalyzing here…

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I hope we see more of Barbara Buono:








If You’re in New Jersey, Remember to Vote Today

Dave Weigel did a tour through New Jersey over the weekend, and posted a whole bunch of good stuff, including an interview with Barbara “Oh yeah — the Democrat” Buono. And a long, dispiriting piece on “Christie, Getting Ready to Go National“:

… The last poll taken on the governor’s race before Hurricane Sandy put Buono down by 16 points to Christie. The first poll taken after the storm put her down by 38 points. Since then, she has never trailed by less than 18 points. This deficit understates how well Christie has outplayed Buono, and the impossible time she’s had looking for a consistent message against him. She’s tried to convince the state’s reliable Democrats to bail on Christie over his opposition to gay marriage, over his thwarting of a gun control bill, over the fact that he will probably run for president. In one of her final TV ads, Buono talks straight to camera about how she’s “the only one running for governor.”…

“She keeps saying he’s going to run for president,” says voter Jim Logan at Christie’s Somers Point rally. “Who cares? Some people think that’s a good idea. She shoulda fired whoever was working for her and she should have focused on property taxes.”

Too late to speculate. The governor has steadily won over local Democratic power brokers, even ones who (pre-Sandy) said they’d never back him. Their big idea: Spare the Democrats in the state legislature from the fallout of a Buono rout. It’s working, according to Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg. “We’re up in our tracking polls,” she tells me at a Democratic campaign office. Even that Rutgers-Eagleton poll, which Democrats don’t trust (it was 10 points off in the October race for U.S. Senate) has them up by 6 points in the race for the legislature. Christie’s “cult of personality,” as Weinberg calls it, hasn’t been transferred to Republicans. He’s outspent Buono; Democrat-aligned independent expenditures have buried the Republican candidates down the ballot…

Christie’s candidate, Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles, smiles and waves as the governor praised him. Not far away, in the highly diverse crowd, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. grinned at the prospect of taking the majority. All voters needed to do, said Christie, was vote straight down the ballot—“you’re not gonna vote for Buono anyway.” But neither in Atlantic City nor in Somers Point, both rallies attended by Balles, did Christie mention any particular policy he was stymied from doing because he didn’t have a Republican Senate. In Virginia, the struggling campaign of gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli insists that it’s gaining as the candidate makes the election a “referendum on Obamacare.” Christie never mentions Obamacare, or Obama, or any national political issue more specific than Washington’s status as a sick joke…

“Last election, for Cory Booker, that Senate election, did you know that three out of four people did not vote?” asks Buono. “It was the lowest voter turnout in our history for a general election. Cory Booker has twice as many people following him on Twitter! This governor wants to disenfranchise people. He wants you to think it’s over. Why else did he veto a bill we sent him that would have allowed in-person early voting?”

That Senate race might be left out of Wednesday morning analysis. Christie, empowered to set an election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, could have bundled it with the Nov. 5 race. He opted to set the Senate race for Oct. 16, a Wednesday—“People were showing up on Tuesday thinking they could vote!” says Buono—which unbuckled the fate of Buono or Jim Whelan from the fate of Cory Booker…

Voter suppression — the softer side. So hip!



Where is ACORN when you need it?

Tuesday is Election Day and I’ll be following the results on the school bond issue I’ve been helping with here. I’ve been working primarily with two younger women – one is the head of the Young Republicans, a stay-at-home mom and school volunteer and the other is a young woman who was the volunteer coordinator for our local Obama effort in 2012.

The (mostly) Republicans on the bond committee approached me and asked me to help and I then asked the Obama volunteer, Amanda, for help. She was generous enough to agree and she’s put together all of the information we’ve collected canvassing so we have a list of “yes” voters for GOTV on election day. Amanda is a single mom, her son is 9 years old, and he attends the public school that will benefit most from the bond issue. She went from agreeing to help because I called her and begged her to taking this whole thing very personally and emailing me every 4 minutes with completely speculative “updates” on what she overheard at McDonalds or whatever.

I don’t have any sense of how it’s going to go. We have a mayoral race that is on the ballot so that might generate some turnout, but our mayoral races are non-partisan and we have a “weak mayor” structure where the city council has all of the power so it doesn’t matter who wins that, really. I voted for the incumbent because I like him personally. He canvassed my house yesterday. After I told him I already voted for him he asked me how I think the school bond will go and I told him I don’t know. Republicans here over-rate my political predicting abilities, generally, after they all thought Obama would lose in 2008 and then again in 2012 and I told them he would win, so the mayor asked in a pleading way, hoping for good news or thinking I was going to pull some ACORN magic out of my hat. He then said with real certainty “it will be close” in this sort of grim way, and maybe he’s right.

The unofficial count on local races and issues here are announced in the entry area of the courthouse, so people who are candidates or otherwise very invested in the results gather at the courthouse and wait for the Board of Elections member to arrive and read the vote totals. This count will be quick because they’re only tallying about 5000 votes. I don’t go as a general rule, and I probably won’t go this time either because the GOTV will be run out of my house and it’s unlikely I’m putting my shoes back on once I’m back at my house after the polls close.

What races are you watching?

This is a pretty good preview of state and local races one might want to watch.