How the Left Operates (How it has consistently used “race” to invalidate NC Voter ID initiatives)

VOTER FRAUD - I only got to vote once (Daily Haymaker)

(Photo Credit:  Daily Haymaker)

by Diane Rufino, March 2, 2019

North Carolina voters have tried for a long time now to enact a common-sense voter identification law. For years, they have suspected voter and election fraud, and so when groups like the NC Voter Integrity Project (founded by Jay Delancy, its president) and Project Veritas, and data analysts like Major David Goetze presented verified instances of such fraud (which the NC state Board of Elections refused to investigate and prosecute, and in fact, began to enact policies to prevent such groups and individuals from accessing public data to find the fraud), they went to the polls in great numbers to elect representatives who would finally once and for all, legislate on their behalf and address their legitimate concerns about the integrity and transparency of our elections.

North Carolina was the only state in the southeast not to have a Voter ID law.

In 2013, the Republican-majority NC General Assembly passed a strict Voter ID law (Act. 2013-381, HB 589, Part 2), to go into effect for the 2016 presidential election. It included a strict photo requirement to vote. In 2015, the law was challenged by the NC NAACP and other minority groups alleging that it was discriminatory to African-Americans. In anticipation of the lawsuit, the legislature met in an urgent session to revise the bill, making it a “non-strict” photo identification law (HB 836).

The district court upheld the revised Voter ID law, convinced that it was passed in furtherance of reasonable state interests in fraud-free elections. The NC NAACP and other groups appealed the ruling to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals which struck the law down alleging that it was intentionally drafted and passed to target African-Americans and to diminish their voice at the ballot box.

In 2018, the Republican-dominated NC General Assembly passed a ballot initiative (HB 1092) to add a strict photo identification requirement to vote to the North Carolina state constitution. Voters would vote on the initiative (along with five other initiatives to amend the state constitution) in the November election. Despite a very strong campaign by the left, by the NAACP, by the Democratic Party, by the NC Bar Association, by the media (“North Carolina against tries to pass a Voter ID requirement to disenfranchise black voters), and others, including a scheme to confuse uninformed and ignorant Democratic voters who hadn’t even heard of any of the proposed amendments (“You must vote NO for all the amendments; they are the product of an illegal General Assembly!), the Voter ID amendment was approved by the voters.

In order to give life to the amendment, the General Assembly would need to enact legislation requiring verifiable forms of a photo ID in order to vote (a “strict photo ID” law). It would legislatively accomplish what the constitution now required. And so, on December 5-6, the General Assembly voted to approve Senate Bill 824 (SB 824), which listed the types of voter identification that would be accepted at the polls. [SL 2018-144 (2017-2018 session)]. The NC NAACP, headed by extreme race-baiter Rev. Anthony Spearman, held several press conferences articulating his delusion that North Carolina is like Alabama and Mississippi at the height of the civil rights era. They even held a rally outside the legislative building the first day of the vote.

On December 14, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed SB 824 and House Speaker Tim Moore responded in a press statement by saying, “We are disappointed that Gov. Cooper chose to ignore the will of the people and reject a commonsense election integrity measure that is common in most states, but the North Carolina House will override his veto as soon as possible.”

And over-ride the veto they did. Before the new legislature was inaugurated (late January), and while Republicans still held a super-majority, they met and voted to over-ride Governor Cooper’s veto.

North Carolina finally… FINALLY had a Voter ID law. And not only that, they had a strict photo identification requirement to vote enshrined now in their state constitution.

The question was: How long before Democrats and liberals would challenge them and try to invalidate them. It was the question that almost every single person asked on election night and then when the General Assembly met in special session to pass the Voter ID law.

As it turned out, the first lawsuit was filed within hours after the General Assembly over-rode Governor Cooper’s veto of the Voter ID law, on December 19, 2018. The NC NAACP filed that lawsuit and Clean Air Carolina then joined in. The suit was filed against Speaker of the House Tim Moore, Senate Pro Tempore Phil Berger, and the State Board of Elections in Wake County Superior Court. [NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger (2018)]. The parties challenged two of the amendments (2 out of 4) that were adopted in November – the Voter ID amendment and the amendment capping the state income tax rate at 7% (lowering it from 10%).

In that lawsuit, the NCNAACP alleged that the NC general Assembly was improperly constituted in 2016, being the product of racially-gerrymandered state house and state districts, and therefore the amendment proposals adopted by that legislature for the November ballot were themselves tainted, were not the product of legitimate popular sovereignty, and therefore invalid acts. The NCNAACP asked the court to strike the amendments

Democrats have become all too predictable. As long as anything could be related to race, the race card would be used.

On Friday, February 22, Wake County Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins invalidated the amendments, The Voter ID amendment was passed by 55.49 % of NC voters and the amendment to limit the state income tax rate was passed by 57.35% of voters. In his ruling, Judge Collins agreed with the NCNAACP that the proposed amendments were passed by an “illegally constituted General Assembly” that was “not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s Constitution.”

Collins further wrote the “unconstitutional racial gerrymander tainted” the three-fifth majorities in each chamber necessary to submit the amendments to voters. He said that amounted to “breaking the requisite chain of popular sovereignty between North Carolina citizens and their representatives….. An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution.”

He struck down the two amendments. He declared them to be void.

The judge based his opinion on previous court rulings finding that the General Assembly had been elected using “illegally gerrymandered” district maps. What he conveniently ignored was the federal court ruling that ultimately allowed the maps to be used for the 2016 elections.

Rev. Spearman issued this press release following the ruling: “We are delighted that the acts of the previous majority, which came to power through the use of racially discriminatory maps, have been checked. The prior General Assembly’s attempt to use its ill-gotten power to enshrine a racist photo voter ID requirement in the state constitution was particularly egregious, and we applaud the court for invalidating these attempts at unconstitutional overreach.”

Most are attacking the ruling as an act of clear judicial activism. NCGOP chairman Robin Hayes told the News & Observer: “This unprecedented and absurd ruling by a liberal judge is the very definition of judicial activism.” And Sen. Ralph Hise commented that the judge clearly had “an axe to grind.” And in a statement issued to NC voters, Senate leader (Senate President Pro Tempore) Phil Berger wrote: “It’s yet another example of activist judges taking away your political power to suit their own liberal agenda.”

After the ruling was handed down, Berger posted his disgust on his Facebook page: “Your vote to add a Voter ID amendment to the state constitution was overturned on Friday by one Democratic judge in Wake County. One Democratic judge overruled two million voters—a majority—to toss out Voter ID in North Carolina. He absurdly argued that a voter ID constitutional amendment is unconstitutional.

He continued: “A single Democratic Wake County trial judge ruled that the entire North Carolina General Assembly was an unconstitutional usurper body for approximately 1 ½ years. The millions of votes cast by citizens and certified by the North Carolina Board of Elections could potentially be thrown out by one Democratic judge.”

In other words, the people of North Carolina essentially were without a government for almost two years. That is what the ruling essentially states.

Bryan Collins is a registered Democrat who has clear partisan leanings. He donated to the Kay Hagan campaign and has attended NAACP conventions. It’s hard to imagine he could be impartial in a case brought by the very group he saw fit to publicly support.

My first issue with the ruling is why Judge Collins concluded that the district maps (gerrymandering) had to have been drawn up based on the racial make-up of the voters. Why did he conclude “Race” when the district maps could have just as rationally been drawn up on account of “political identity”? Was it just because a racial minority group made the allegation? [I’m sorry, but I don’t buy the rationale in the Supreme Court decision Cooper v. Harris (2017); See Reference section].

This was the same question I asked when the 4th Circuit concluded that the changes to North Carolina’s voter laws were motivated primarily and overwhelmingly by racial animus – to intentionally suppress the African-American vote. Why did the court assume the General Assembly targeted them on account of skin color rather than on account of political identity? The Supreme Court has said that if a particular race happens to be impacted more than others by a voter ID law that is neutral on its face, than it would be permitted. It concluded that requiring photo identification to vote poses no reasonable burden to an individual right to vote.

Here are some statistics about North Carolina voters in that the NC General Assembly was able to consider in their re-districting plan: In 2016, 22% of all registered (active) voters in North Carolina were African-Americans. (That matches exactly the demographics in the state, with 22.1% of the population being African-American). Furthermore, exactly half of all registered Democrats in 2016 in North Carolina were African-American.

If you take these statistics together, it is seems quite obvious that almost all African-Americans identify as Democrats. It also seems quite obvious that the Democratic Party in North Carolina relies very heavily on the African-American community for votes.

So, if African-Americans identify almost exclusively (certainly overwhelmingly, well over 90%) with the Democratic Party, how does a judge in all honesty, conclude that district maps were drawn based on skin color and not on political identity. Isn’t “political identity” or “party affiliation” the more pertinent identifier ?

In 2016, the General Assembly drew up new district maps. A federal court (the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina), found the 28 of the 170 legislative districts (house and senate) and 2 of the congressional districts were improperly racially gerrymandered (black voters were drawn together in districts). The General Assembly addressed the concerns but they didn’t quite overcome the deficiencies. The 3-judge panel of judges, however, acknowledged that “there is insufficient time, at this late date, for: the General Assembly to draw and enact remedial districts; this Court to review the remedial plan,” and so, they allowed the maps to remain in place for the 2016 election. (The legislature would have to amend the maps in the 2017 session).

At some point during or after 2017, the maps would no longer be struck down by the courts as “racially” gerrymandering but rather as “partisan” gerrymandering. When the state legislature’s district maps could no longer be challenged as “racial” gerrymandering, they then began to challenge them as “partisan gerrymandering. That is, the districts were drawn to favored Republicans. Mind you, the courts are well-aware that the Supreme Court has never struck down a districting plan because it is partisan in design. But precedent has never stopped the liberal North Carolina courts. (See the Appendix at the end of the article).

The maps drawn up in 2016 and used in the 2016 election continued to provide a possible legal angle for disgruntled and racially-obsessed Democrats. The courts have been their friend in the past and they would use them again.

To understand why the NC NAACP brought its lawsuit against the Republican-majority General Assembly based on a racial allegation, we need to look at districting authority, federal law, and court precedent. We will see that the lawsuit was pure political strategy, taking advantage of outdated federal law and court decisions that still believe the United States and southern states in particular are still obsessed with white supremacy and motivated by animus and discriminatory intent when it comes to its African-American population. We will see that this is the favored approach of progressives who use the liberal courts to achieve what it can’t with duly-enacted legislatures and other governing bodies.

Each state legislature is tasked with drawing up district lines, or district maps. District lines for US congressional districts and for both state house and senate districts must be re-drawn every 10 years following the completion of the US census. The party holding the majority in the state legislature at the time re-districting maps are to be re-drawn has the benefit of drawing those district lines to its advantage. Nothing in the state constitution of North Carolina requires that re-districting be done on a non-partisan basis. In fact, for so many years, while Democrats have held the majority in both houses in the NC General Assembly, they have drawn maps to favor their party, including focusing on race since it is a strong indicator of Democratic support.

North Carolina has 13 US congressional districts (for its 13 representatives in the US Congress), it has 120 NC house districts, and 50 NC Senate districts. The NC General Assembly is alone responsible for drawing up all these maps/districts and they are NOT subject to approval by the Governor. In other words, the maps drawn up by the Redistricting Committee is not subject to being vetoed by the Governor.

In drawing up district maps, the federal government mandates that districts must have nearly equal populations to comport with the US Constitution and notions of democracy. The rule that election districts contain equal populations is the essence of the general idea of “One Person, One Vote,” which was emphasized by the Supreme Court in 1962 (Baker v. Carr). It means that a person’s vote counts equally no matter where he casts his vote. Civil Rights laws further mandate that district maps must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity. It is OK to discriminate based on the white color of one’s skin, it is OK to discriminate based on affluence (or lack thereof), and it is OK to discriminate based on political affiliation. The courts have always tolerated partisan gerrymandering (even when district maps assume no reasonable shape at all) but they do not tolerate racial gerrymandering.

Hence we are starting to see why the allegation of “racial” gerrymandering was made. Partisan gerrymandering will not guarantee a favorable challenge and outcome. An allegation of “racial” gerrymandering will.

This is how the Democratic machine works.

Anyway, Senate leader Phil Berger has filed an appeal on behalf of the Republican legislative leaders, calling Judge Collin’s ruling an “absurd decision.” His full announcement read: “We are duty-bound to appeal this absurd decision. The prospect of invalidating 18 months of laws is the definition of chaos and confusion. Based on tonight’s opinion and others over the past several years, it appears the idea of judicial restraint has completely left the state of North Carolina. Rest assured, our lawyers will appeal this ridiculous ruling, but it’s yet another example of activist judges taking away your political power to suit their own liberal agenda.”

Republicans contend Collins’ reasoning jeopardizes dozens of laws.

Here is what the appeal by the Republican legislators argues: (i) Judge Collins disregarded the fact that a federal court had allowed the 2016 election to proceed using the challenged districting maps; (ii) If Collins’ ruling should stand, then essentially the state had no government for almost 2 years (2017-2018). Yet residents were still required to pay taxes to it; (iii) If Collin’s ruling should be permitted to stand, then it would invalidate all the laws of that “illegal legislative session – anarchy; and (iv) To allow Collins’ ruling to stand would create chaos and further litigation in North Carolina.

In the meantime, Sen. Berger appealed to Judge Collins to stay his order striking down the amendments (stay = “put on hold”) while he and fellow Republican leaders file their appeal with the state appellate court, but he refused. The case will most likely reach the state Supreme Court. Currently, the seven-member body is composed of at least five registered Democrats, but Governor Cooper will have the opportunity to appoint one more associate justice, to fill the vacancy on the court caused by his appointment of Associate Justice Cheri Beasley to Chief Justice. It will no doubt be another Democrat, bringing the total to 6 Democrat justices.

A statement by Sen. Berger after the ruling by Judge Collins perhaps describes it best: “All North Carolinians, regardless of party, should be concerned by this lawlessness, because it’s only a matter of time before a judge comes for their preferred legislative policies. Judge Collins is calling the legislature a usurper body while himself usurping the will of millions of North Carolinians who voted to amend their own constitution.”

The one redeeming quality about this ruling is that we can now see all so clearly how liberal-minded, overreaching judges tend to bend the Constitution for progressive purposes and how they use their positions on the bench to disregard the democratic process and un-do the will of the people.

So what does this mean for the honest and decent and well-meaning citizens of North Carolina who want transparent elections in their state? What does this mean for the honest and decent and well-meaning North Carolinians who, despite what Spearman says, do not live their lives seeing things in terms of black and white, who enjoy living side-by-side with persons who don’t look exactly like themselves, and who simply are concerned about the integrity of the NC election process? What does this mean for the majority of North Carolinians who have pressured their state government to address voter fraud and potential voter fraud since 2010?

The good news is that the Voter ID law (SB 2018-144) passed by the General Assembly in December is still good – at least for now. It is a stand-alone bill, not tied by language to the constitutional amendment, and passed by members of the General Assembly of both parties (with two Democrats joining Republicans in the House and one joining Republicans in the Senate). The equipment is not in place yet to provide a free photo ID to those who can’t afford one or who otherwise can’t obtain one, but should be in time for the next election cycle.

The appeal has been filed by Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore and we should soon find out if Judge Collins’ judicial order will stand or be overturned. If the order invalidating the amendments is upheld, there may be a lawsuit to challenge the Voter ID law as the product of an illegally-constituted General Assembly but to move forward under that theory would potentially mean that every single piece of legislation and every decision made could also be challenged in court. My guess is that such a lawsuit won’t be filed.

For now, North Carolina has a strict Voter ID law in place. The only thing the NCNAACP has done is to manufacture a crisis of racism that doesn’t exist and to be successful in convincing a lower state court judge to issue one of the grossest acts judicial activism in recent history. There should be no place in North Carolina for the NCNAACP.

 

References:

Voter ID law – SB 2018-144 (2017-2018) – https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookup/2017/S824“NC Judge Invalidates Two Constitutional Amendments Passed by Voters Last Fall,” NC Family Policy Facts, February 25, 2019. Referenced at: http://my.ncfamily.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=5207.0&dlv_id=9084

Gary Robertson, “Judge Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID OK’ed by Voters,” The Washington Post, February 22, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/judge-strikes-down-north-carolina-voter-id-okd-by-voters/2019/02/22/0cfd1a98-3708-11e9-8375-e3dcf6b68558_story.html?utm_term=.24d45d7283d2

”Voter ID History,” National Conference of State Legislatures. Referenced at: http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id-history.aspx

Rebecca Trippett, “NC in Focus: Who are NC’s Democratic Voters?” UNC Carolina Demography, October 2, 2016. Referenced at: https://demography.cpc.unc.edu/2016/10/07/nc-in-focus-who-are-ncs-democratic-voters/

“Federal Judges: Racially-Tainted General Assembly Districts Must Be Redrawn,” WRAL, August 11, 2016. Referenced at: https://www.wral.com/federal-judges-racially-tainted-general-assembly-districts-must-be-redrawn/15920846/

Adam Liptak, “Justices Reject 2 Gerrymandered North Carolina Districts, Citing Racial Bias,” The New York Times, May 22, 2017. Referenced at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/us/politics/supreme-court-north-carolina-congressional-districts.html

VIDEO: “How Gerrymandering Got its Name.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BWVDUpEaNM

VIDEO: “Crash Course on Re-districting.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnhFm5QVVTo

NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger, COMPLAINT –

https://www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/words_docs/Complaint_-_Usurpers_FINAL_-_pdf.pdf [Notice how the NAACP refers to Republican leaders as “Usurpers”]

NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger (2018), OPINION – https://www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/words_docs/doc03389420190222171503.pdf

Ariane de Vogue, “Supreme Court Blocks Court Order to Redraw North Carolina Congressional Districts,” CNN, January 19, 2018. Referenced at: https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/18/politics/north-carolina-supreme-court-redistricting/index.html   [US Supreme Court voted 7-2 to freeze (ignore) a lower federal court ruling that struck down North Carolina’s congressional districts, holding that it amounted to an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The order makes it likely, although not certain, that the controversial maps will be used for the 2020 election. In January 2018, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower district court and held that North Carolina’s 2016 plan was enacted “with the intent of discriminating against voters who favored non-Republican candidates” and that the plan violated the First Amendment by “unjustifiably discriminating against voters based on their previous political expression and affiliation.” Partisan gerrymandering had been permitted by the Supreme Court and lower courts in the past, assuming that politics was always involved in the drafting of maps. The lower district court had ordered the NC General Assembly to enact a remedial redistricting plan by January 24, 2019. The Supreme Court voted to freeze that court order and, at least for now, to allow the maps to remain in place for the next election. The order comes as the Supreme Court is also considering two other partisan gerrymander cases – one from Maryland and the other from Wisconsin. It is likely that should it take those cases, the NC case will be re-considered along with the other two. If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the cases, it will be the first time that the high court takes up the issue of “when is partisan gerrymandering too extreme” (so as to offend notions of fairness). The court will address the question of whether or not standards for partisan gerrymandering can be determined and applied].

Voter ID Laws by State, Ballotpedia. https://ballotpedia.org/Voter_identification_laws_by_state

“Redistricting and the Supreme Court: The Most Significant Cases,” National Commission of State Legislatures (NCSL), July 9, 2018. Referenced at: http://www.ncsl.org/research/redistricting/redistricting-and-the-supreme-court-the-most-significant-cases.aspx

Those cases:

Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962). For the first time, the court held that the federal courts had jurisdiction to consider constitutional challenges to state legislative redistricting plans. The Court held that a federal district court had jurisdiction to hear a claim that this inequality of representation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Gray v. Sanders, 372 U.S. 368 (1963). The Court established the constitutional standard for equality of representation as “one person, one vote.”

Karcher v. Daggett, 462 U.S. 725 (1983). Congressional districts must be mathematically equal in population, unless necessary to achieve a legitimate state objective.

Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630 (1993). Legislative and congressional districts will be struck down by courts for violating the Equal Protection Clause if they cannot be explained on grounds other than race. (While not dispositive, “bizarrely shaped” districts are strongly indicative of racial intent).

Cooper v. Harris, (2017). Partisanship cannot be used to justify a racial gerrymander.

**** I always thought that it was odd the Courts did so, since: (i) it is the manipulation of district maps for partisan purposes that is the real concern in elections, and (ii) all too often, racial identity and political identity are the same.

 

APPENDIX I: Gerrymandering in North Carolina (since 2016)

In November 2010, the Republican party gained control of both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly. Republicans hadn’t had control of both houses since 1896, when the party successfully fused with the Populist Party. Republicans first gained control of the state house in 1998 but they have been unable to gain control of the state senate since 1896. Prior to the 2010 election, corrupt Democratic Senate leader Marc Basnight and corrupt House Speaker Joe Hackney controlled the state’s government. Basnight led the Senate for a record 18 years. The mandate for the newly-elected Republican majority was to end the corruption, to set a priority to live within a smaller more responsible budget (the state faced an estimated $3 billion deficit), and to enact a Voter ID bill.

Elections have consequences. Obama said this many times after he won, and in fact, the Supreme Court has recognized this common-sense truth in reviewing election matters.

The push-back against Republicans began immediately.

The following is taken directly from the “FACTS” section of the Complaint filed by the NCNAACP. It lays out the series of lawsuits against the North Carolina General Assembly (N.C.G.A.) with respect to the district maps.

The Unconstitutional N.C.G.A:

(1) The N.C.G.A. is comprised of 50 Senate seats and 120 House of Representative seats pursuant to the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, Art. II, §§ 2, 4.

(2) In 2011, following the decennial census, the N.C.G.A. redrew the boundaries of North Carolina legislative districts for both the NC Senate and the NC House of Representatives. The districts were enacted in July 2011.

(3) The N.C.G.A. unconstitutionally and impermissibly considered race in drawing the 2011 legislative maps, resulting in legislative districts that unlawfully packed black voters into election districts in concentrations not authorized or compelled under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

(4) On November 4, 2011, the NC NAACP joined by three organizations and forty six individual plaintiffs filed a state court action that raised state and federal claims challenging the districts as unconstitutionally based on race. Dickson v. Rucho, 766 S.E.2d 238 (N.C. 2014), vacated, 135 S. Ct. 1843 (2015) (mem.), remanded to 781 S.E.2d 404 (N.C. 2015); vacated and remanded, 198 L. Ed. 2d 252 (U.S. 2017) (mem.), remanded 813 S.E.3d 230 (N.C. 2017).

(5) On May 19, 2015, plaintiffs Sandra Little Covington et al, filed a parallel challenge in federal court alleging that twenty-eight districts, nine (9) Senate districts and nineteen (19) House of Representative districts, were unlawful racial gerrymanders in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteen Amendment of the United States Constitution. Covington v. North Carolina, 316 F.R.D. 117 (M.D.N.C. 2016).

(6) In August 2016, the three-judge federal district court panel unanimously ruled for plaintiffs, holding that “race was the predominant factor motivating the drawing of all challenged districts,” and struck down the twenty-eight (28) challenged districts (nine Senate districts and nineteen House districts) as the result of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. See Covington v. North Carolina, 316 F.R.D. 117, 124, 176 (M.D.N.C. 2016), aff’d, 581 U.S. ––––, 137 S.Ct. 2211 (2017) (per curiam).

(7) On June 5, 2017, the United States Supreme Court summarily affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the twenty-eight (28) challenged districts were the result of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, North Carolina v. Covington, 581 U.S. ––––, 137 S.Ct. 2211, (2017) (per curiam). On June 30, 2017, a mandate was issued as to the U.S. Supreme Court’s order affirming the lower court’s judgment.

(8) The United States Supreme Court, however, vacated and remanded the lower court’s remedial order for a special election, ordering the lower court to provide a fuller explanation of its reasoning for the U.S. Supreme Court’s review. North Carolina v. Covington, — U.S. —, 137 S. Ct. 1624 (2017) (per curiam).

(9) On remand, the three-judge panel granted the N.C.G.A. an opportunity to propose a new redistricting plan to remedy the unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Covington v. North Carolina, 283 F.Supp.3d 410, 417–18 (M.D.N.C. 2018). In August 2017, the N.C.G.A. submitted a proposed remedial map, drawn by Dr. Thomas Hofeller, the same mapmaker the General Assembly had hired to draw the 2011 invalidated maps. Dr. Thomas redrew a total of 11 of the 170 state House and Senate districts from the 2011 unconstitutionally racially-gerrymandered maps. Id. at 418.

(10) After reviewing the General Assembly’s remedial plan, the three-judge panel determined that a number of the new districts put forward by the N.C.G.A. in its 2017 remedial plan were essentially continuations of the old, racially gerrymandered districts that had been previously rejected as unconstitutional and either failed to remedy the unconstitutional racial gerrymander or violated provisions of the North Carolina Constitution. Id. at 447-58. For those defective districts, the three-judge panel adopted remedial districts proposed by a court

appointed special master. Id. at 447-58. The United States Supreme Court affirmed the districts adopted by the three-judge panel, except for certain districts in Wake and Mecklenburg Counties that had not been found to be tainted by racial gerrymanders, but were drawn in alleged violation of the state constitutional prohibition against mid-decade redistricting.   North Carolina v. Covington, 138 S.Ct. 2548 (2018).

(11) In order to cure the 2011 unconstitutional racial gerrymander, the remedial maps redrew 117 legislative districts.

(12) In November of 2018, elections for all N.C.G.A. seats were held based on the redrawn districts, the first opportunity that voters had had since before 2011 to choose representatives in districts that have not been found to be the illegal product of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

(13) Since June 5, 2017, the N.C.G.A. has continued to act and pass laws.

Reference: NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger, COMPLAINT –https://www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/words_docs/Complaint_-_Usurpers_FINAL_-_pdf.pdf [Notice how the NAACP refers to Republican leaders as “Usurpers”]

Additional Gerrymandering History (Background of a Possible Upcoming Supreme Court case) –

In 2017, two congressional district maps, one for congressional district 1 and the other for congressional district 12, were challenged as being racially gerrymandered, and the district and appellate courts agreed. It was appealed to the US Supreme Court, which also affirmed on May 22, 2017. The high Court agreed that the districts in question were improperly racially gerrymandered and sent the case back to the district court for a suitable remedy. The district court ordered the General Assembly to draft remedial maps for use in the 2018 election cycle, which it did. And the court approved them. (So all is OK with the 2018 elections)

Those same district maps were then challenged as being improperly partisan gerrymandered. In 2017, a federal district court and held that North Carolina’s 2016 plan was enacted “with the intent of discriminating against voters who favored non-Republican candidates” and that the plan violated the First Amendment by “unjustifiably discriminating against voters based on their previous political expression and affiliation.” Partisan gerrymandering had been permitted by the Supreme Court and lower courts in the past, assuming that politics was always involved in the drafting of maps. The Supreme Court has always been of the understanding (the rightful expectation) that “elections have consequences.” The lower district court had ordered the NC General Assembly to enact a remedial redistricting plan by January 24, 2019. The ruling was appealed.

In January 2018, a panel of 3 federal judges affirmed the lower court ruling and declared the congressional district maps to be unconstitutional, being the product of partisan gerrymandering – that is, the maps were drawn to unfairly favor Republican candidates. (“The Republican-dominated state’s House map violated the First and 14th Amendments by unfairly giving one group of voters – Republicans – a bigger voice than others in choosing representatives”). The ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court.

On January 19, the US Supreme Court voted 7-2 to freeze (ignore) the lower federal court ruling,. The order makes it likely, although not certain, that the controversial maps will be used for the 2020 election. The order comes as the Supreme Court is also considering two other partisan gerrymander cases – one from Maryland and the other from Wisconsin. It is likely that should it take those cases, the NC case will be re-considered along with the other two. If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the cases, it will be the first time that the high court takes up the issue of “when is partisan gerrymandering too extreme” (so as to offend notions of fairness). The court will address the question of whether or not standards for partisan gerrymandering can be determined and applied].

In August 2018, the same three-member panel of judges reached essentially the same conclusion that it had in January – that NC’s district maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans. The Supreme Court had never struck down a state district map based on partisan gerrymandering. However, the ruling sets up a delicate tactical question for the Supreme Court, particularly since two other states have had their districting maps challenged as well as being improper partisan gerrymandering.

 

APPENDIX II: Why the NC NAACAP Filed the Lawsuit

In short, the NC NAACP is an extreme racist group, believing the white community has one interest only – in keeping the black community down, disadvantaged, poor, and suppressed at the ballot box. It believes that the primary object of white legislators is to plot and scheme on how to do all of the above, especially to suppress the black vote. Whites = bad. Blacks = victims. Whites = Republican. Blacks = Democrat. It’s president, T. Anthony Spearman, has spoken often, with racism dripping from his lips, about how white legislators still cling to the Jim Crow mentality of the post-Reconstruction era and “meet in their lily-white caucuses” to “enshrine racism” in the state’s laws and most recently, to enshrine it in the state’s constitution. His organization will do anything, and has done everything in its power (ie, to cry “racism” about everything that the legislature does), to prevent a voter ID law from being enforced in North Carolina and to keep the notion alive that it has no other purpose than to suppress the black vote.

In filing the lawsuit, Spearman commented: “The supermajority’s proposed amendments to the North Carolina constitution represent the greatest threat to our state’s democratic institutions since the Civil War.”

As usual, Spearman shows his utter ignorance of history and his willingness to distort history to further his ambitions. It was the Republicans in government (in power) that first gave blacks access to state democratic institutions and then to national democratic institutions. It was a Democrat, a slavery-supporter named Roger Taney (Chief Justice Roger Taney), who wrote the opinion in the infamous Dred Scott case (1857) that held that the United States never intended for persons of African descent to be included in the body politic (ie, to be considered as citizens) and hence, they could never be entitled to any protections under the US Constitution. In short, Mr. Dred Scott had no legal right even to bring his lawsuit.

It was the Democratic party and Democratic leaders who plotted and schemed to enshrine racism in laws, state constitutions, institutions, policies, and practices, and who engineered the social arraignment that was state-sponsored segregation (Jim Crow) to keep the races separated, implying that one race was superior to the other. It was Democratic Senators who filibustered in 1965 to prevent the passage of civil rights legislation. It was Republican Congressional leaders who banded together to break the filibuster and get the legislation passed.

If Spearman had any understanding or appreciation of history, he would know that Republicans aren’t the enemy of the black community. They aren’t the party that assumes that blacks are less intelligent, less capable, far less disadvantaged, incapable of making decisions on their own, incapable of competing in the workforce, incapable of supporting themselves, etc and hence government must take care of them. The Republican Party is the party of true equality, and all that it mean and all that it requires.

 

APPENDIX III: Why the NAACP Alleged the Income Tax Amendment to be Unconstitutional

The reason was provided in the Complaint filed by the NCNAACP:

“The income tax cap constitutional amendment harms the NCNAACP, its members, and the black community and its ability to advocate for tis priority issues. Because the amendment places a flat, artificial limit on income taxes, it prohibits the state from establishing graduated tax rates on higher-income taxpayers and, over time, will act as a tax cut only for the wealthy. This tends to favor white households and disadvantages people of color, reinforcing the accumulation of wealth for white taxpayers and undermining the financing of public structures (ie, public services) that benefit non-wealthy people, including people of color. For example, historically in North Carolina, decreased revenue produced by income tax cuts in the state has resulted in significant spending cuts that disproportionately hurt public schools, eliminated or significantly reduced funding for communities of color, and otherwise undermined the economic well-being of the non-wealthy.”

[In other words, the black community has nowhere achieved what the white community has achieved in NC, and because the black community has not achieved what the white community has achieved, the black community is entitled to what the white community earns. It makes no difference that the income tax cap amendment is absolutely neutral in its language and free from racial consideration. The black community is entitled to the wealth earned by others, which according to the NCNAACP, is earned almost exclusively by the white community].

Here is my question: Since the Reconstruction era, and especially after 1896, the NC state legislation has been in the hands of Democrats. Since blacks make up only about 22% of the population in the state, the only way that Democrats could have been elected and have continued to maintain control of the state government is if a large percent of voters were white. Democrats have held majorities and supermajorities for over 100 years, so if Spearman is complaining about the historic disadvantaged status of blacks in North Carolina, doesn’t it make sense that that’s because of the 100 years or so of Democratic government? Of Democratic policies? Republicans haven’t had the majority so it wasn’t their policies that have kept blacks so disadvantaged, so illiterate, so economically-depressed, etc. Maybe it was the white Democrats who are the real racists? In any case, it was Democrats, Democratic rule, and the long history of Democratic rule in North Carolina that have given rise to the status of blacks in the state.

Reference: NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger (2018), OPINION – https://www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/words_docs/doc03389420190222171503.pdf

 

APPENDIX IV. Why Clean Air Carolina joined the Lawsuit

Clean Air Carolina’s issue is not with the amendments at all. It is with having too many Republicans in government. This is what they said: “If the legislature is successful in its power grab it will have dire consequences for citizens in the voting booth, for our communities and the air we breathe, and for our basic democratic institutions. This is not our typical lawsuit but the proposed ballot measures would impact our ability to fulfill our mission by limiting the voice that North Carolinians have in state policy, particularly on urgent environmental issues.”   [Translation of “the voice that North Carolinians have in state policy”: They obviously mean that conservatives don’t count as North Carolinians. They are only concerned about Democratic residents of NC].

“This legislature has carried out extraordinary attacks to strip fundamental clean air and clean water protections that North Carolinians have been assured of for decades, breaking with our state’s long history of bipartisan support for environmental safeguards. At the moment we are poised to re-establish fair representation that will accurately reflect voters on environmental issues, they have attempted a desperate and unlawful power grab.”

In short, Clean Air Carolina honestly believes that Republicans have no interest in the environment. Hence, if they can help get rid of Republicans legislators, they would happily do so.

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Amending the NC State Constitution: The Six 2018 Ballot Initiatives

NC Legislature - building

by Diane Rufino, August 26, 2018

This overview is written for the purpose of educating North Carolina voters on the six proposed amendments to the North Carolina state constitution.

I.  WHAT YOU WILL SEE ON THE BALLOT:  The following will likely be the language you will see on November’s ballot with respect to the six (6) proposed amendments to the North Carolina constitution. I say “likely” because two of the amendments (#3 and #4 below) were challenged by Governor Roy Cooper and a federal judge granted his injunction – meaning that absent a challenge by the legislature that is successful OR having the legislature re-drafting them, those amendments, as originally written and communicated, cannot appear on November’s ballot. Amendments #3 and #4 below contain the re-drafted language, as of August 24, but we don’t know yet if Cooper will re-challenge.

So, as of today (Aug. 26), the language you will likely see on November’s ballot regarding the proposed amendments to the NC state Constitution is as follows:

Amendment 1:           [  ]  For     [  ]  Against

Constitutional amendment protecting the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.

 

Amendment 2:           [  ]  For     [  ]  Against

Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.

 

Amendment 3:           [  ]  For     [  ]  Against

Constitutional amendment to establish an eight-member Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement in the Constitution to administer ethics and elections law.

 

Amendment 4:           [  ]  For     [  ]  Against

Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the Governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the State nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend nominees to the Governor via legislative action not subject to gubernatorial veto; and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees.

 

Amendment 5:           [  ]  For     [  ]  Against

Constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent.

 

Amendment 6:           [  ]  For     [  ]  Against

Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.

 

II.  WHAT THE AMENDMENTS MEAN and WHAT THEY SEEK TO ACHIEVE: The NC legislature considered various potential constitutional amendments, in addition to the ones which will appear on November’s ballot. Some of the additional amendments considered included removing Article I, Section 4 (“Secession Prohibited”), removing Article I, Section 5 (“Paramount Allegiance to the Federal Government”), removing the provision in Article I, Section 30 (“Militia and the Right to Bear Arms”) which can serve to limit the right of conceal carry (“Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice”), and removing the limitation in Article VI, Section 4 (“Qualification for Voter Registration”) which is can be characterized as a Jim Crow-era law.  Instead of putting all of the proposed amendments on the ballot, the legislature polled all their potential suggestions across the state and decided to use only the top six.  The highest-polling amendments were: #1: The Right to Hunt, Fish, & Harvest Wildlife, and #2: Voter ID.  These amendments, by the way, polled highest across political lines, racial lines, income differential, education, etc.  [NC state constitution –  https://www.ncleg.net/Legislation/constitution/ncconstitution.html ]

The following is an explanation of each proposed six constitutional amendment (Ballot Initiative), as well as the corresponding NC bill that contains its full language.  All bills can be accessed from www.ncleg.net

Amendment 1:   [Senate bill 677 – S677]

This amendment enshrines the public’s natural right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife in the state constitution, to be free from any potential attempt to limit or to burden such right. While enshrining this natural right (mentioned in Genesis), it also has the effect of setting up potential challenges to hunting restrictions by saying that any limits on this right can only come from laws intended to promote wildlife conservation and to protect the future of hunting and fishing.

 

Amendment 2:   [House bill 551 – HB551]

The rights of people who are victims of crimes are delineated and enshrined in this amendment, and are:

  • Being notified of criminal proceedings against the accused (the perpetrator)
  • The right for the victim to speak at all hearings involving plea, sentencing, parole, or the release of the defendant
  • The right to “full and timely” restitution (the right to be “made whole” by the defendant/perpetrator; the right to be put back into the position as if the crime had not been committed)
  • The right to be “reasonably protected” from the defendant
  • A “prompt conclusion” to the case (prompt closure for the victim)
  • Victims’ attorneys can petition the court to enforce any of the above provisions

 

Amendment 3:   [House bill 913 – HB913]

This amendment would give more power over appointments to the legislature (the General Assembly), thus taking power away from the Governor who currently has been delegated such authority. The proposed amendment clarifies that the General Assembly has “control over any executive, legislative, or judicial appointment,” although the bill (HB913) doesn’t say exactly how the legislature would exert that control.  [The intent is to vest power to make potentially important appointments – ones who exert power and influence over policy and enforcement in the state – with the legislature, which is the body closest to the people. The legislature, or General Assembly, is “the people’s body,” where accountability in government is most achievable.  Legislators in both chambers serve two-year terms.]

 

Amendment 4:   [Senate bill 814 – S814]

This amendment changes the rules for who appoints judges when vacancies occur between elections. Appointments to fill judicial vacanices that occur between elections can account for up to 40% of judges who sit on the courts in the state of North Carolina. Currently, the Governor appoints them. Under the proposed amendment, a system would be set up where anybody in the state could submit nominations to a non-partisan “Judicial Merit Commission” which would then evaluate the fitness of those nominations and then send that information to the General Assembly. The legislature would then pick two names to send to the Governor. In cases where the vacancy occurs right before an election, the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court would make the selection instead of the Governor.   [Judicial appointments are extremely important. We’ve all witnessed over the years how liberals and progressives (ie, the Democratic Party) have sought to get around established law or policy, or to advance their agenda faster than the general public would allow thru the ordinary democratic process, by going to the courts where there are too many liberal and otherwise unprincipled, inexperienced, and untested judges, and judges appointed merely in exchange for political favors and donations, who are happy and without conscience to do so. The intent of this amendment is to vest power to make judicial appointments with the legislature, which is the body closest to the people. The legislature, or General Assembly, is “the people’s body,” where accountability in government is most achievable.  Legislators in both chambers serve two-year terms and therefore can quickly be removed for abusing their power or for using the judicial appointments power recklessly.]

 

Amendment 5:   [Senate bill 75 – S75]

This amendment caps the state income tax at 7 percent (7%), which means that the General Assembly would be prevented from instituting an income tax in excess of that. Currently, the NC constitution caps the income tax rate at 10 percent (10%). The initial bill from the Senate would have set the cap at 5.5% which is essentially the current tax rate.

Governor Cooper and left-leaning interest groups are opposed to this amendment because they want the General Assembly to have the flexibility to increase the tax rate should the state need it in an emergency situation. The Republicans, however, have provided for such an emergency, through the state’s “Rainy Day Fund,” which currently contains $2 billion. The legislature further requries each county to have 8% of surplus funds in reserve. Cooper hates the fact that the state has this fund just sitting there. He thinks it should be plundered and used for whatever the state government thinks is more pressing at the time. Cooper believes the proper way to raise emergency funds is by raising the state taxation rate. Republicans, on the other hand, believe that is a bad way to raise such funds. The reason it believes such is that it takes too long to raise the money; sales tax, they believe, is the fastest way.

 

Amendment 6:   [House bill 1092 – HB1092]

This amendment is intended to provide the photo identification requirement for voters that the 2013 NC omnibus Voter ID law required but which was struck down by the 4th Circuit of Appeals in 2016. (It is termed an “omnibus” bill because it made several changes to NC;s election laws, in addition to adding the photo ID requirement).  Currently 34 states have some form of a Voter ID law. And all of the southern states have one except North Carolina.

 

III.  CURRENT STATUS OF THE BALLOT INITIATIVES (the lawsuits)

Four of the six ballot initiatives (proposed constitutional amendments) are currently being challenged; opponents want them kept off November’s ballot.  The only initiatives not being challenged are the ones protecting the Right to Hunt & Fish and Victims’ Rights (which are the first two listed above).

On August 15, Governor Roy Cooper sued to challenge the initiatives that deal with his appointments power (amendments #3 and #4 above).  The language of the amendments above represents the “revised” or re-drafted” language in response to Cooper’s legal challenge.

And the NAACP, along with Clean Air Carolina, sued to challenge those amendments, plus the ones limiting the general assembly on its taxing power and requiring a photo identification to vote. The parties asked for injunctive relief.  Governor Cooper challenged the language of the amendments, alleging they are misleading and do not adequately inform voters as to what provisions in the state constitution they seek to amend and what they seek to achieve. Furthermore, he claimed the amendments would “take a wrecking ball to the separation of powers” in Raleigh. The NAACP and Clean Air Carolina challenged the Voter ID amendment on the grounds that it is will disparately impact African-Americans and is therefore an attempt to target them and disenfranchise their voting rights and challenged the Income Tax cap on the grounds that the legislature shouldn’t be precluded from increasing the tax rate (above 7%) if it needs to.

The original language of the amendments, before the revision, and which was the language challenged by Cooper, was as follows:

Amendment 3:  Constitutional amendment to establish a bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections to administer ethics and election laws, to clarify the appointment authority of the Legislative and the Judicial branches, and to prohibit legislators from serving on boards and commissioners exercising executive or judicial authority.

Amendment 4:  Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the Governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the State nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend nominees to the Governor via legislative action not subject to gubernatorial veto; and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees.

On August 21, a 3-judge panel agreed with Governor Cooper and granted the injunction. The panel, however, disagreed with the NAACP and Clean Air Carolina on their separate challenges (Voter ID and Income Tax). The panel held that there is no proof to show that Voter ID is discriminatory or that the requirement to present one to vote actually poses a meaningful burden or prevents a person from voting. If a person is truly intent on voting, the requirement of a photo ID poses no reasonable hardship.

[Injunctive Order, issued on August 21 –  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4779492-18-CVS-9805-Order-on-Injunctive-Relief.html ]

The 3-judge panel found fault with the language of the amendments (#3 and #4), claiming that initiative #3 doesn’t adequately explain what the amendment seeks to achieve and initiative #4 is simply misleading. Consequently, the NC Board of Elections is enjoined (prevented) from printing ballots containing initiatives #3 and #4.

Does this court ruling mean that the amendments will not be on November’s ballot??   No.  There are two options open to the legislature:  (1)  They can appeal the ruling; or (2) The General Assembly can convene a special session to re-write the ballot text to overcome the defects as identified by the court.  The General Assembly has already has convened a special session. The House met on Friday, August 24, to re-draft the amendments, and the Senate will approve them tomorrow (Monday, August 27).

 

IV.  VOTER FRAUD – Does it Exist?  Is there a Potential for Voter Fraud Here in NC?

Regarding Voter Fraud, the Heritage Foundation explains:

“There are three take-away points:

  • The right to vote in a free and fair election is the most basic civil right, one on which many other rights of the American people depend.
  • Congress and the states should guarantee that every eligible individual is able to vote and that no one’s vote is stolen or diluted.
  • Voter fraud is real and hundreds of convictions have been made and documented.”

First of all, let’s review constitutional jurisprudence on regarding state Photo ID voter laws.

In the years after the turn of the century (2000 onward), the states began becoming aware of voting fraud and voting irregularities. One by one they began instituting laws designed to reduce the likelihood of fraud and to ensure integrity in their election process. A federal commission was even empaneled to study voter fraud and it concluded that it exists and recommended that each state enact some sort of law to address voter integrity. In the aftermath of that conclusion, more and more states began enacting laws. These laws essentially fell into four categories: those with a strict photo ID requirement, those with a relaxed photo ID requirement, those requesting an ID (but photo not required), and those with a strict non ID requirement.  The strictest voter law and the one potentially posing the greatest burden to a person’s right to vote is a Strict Photo ID law. A challenge to such a Photo ID law was heard by the Supreme Court in 2008, in the case Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections.  [For an overview of the laws in the 50 states:  http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx ]

In 2005, the Indiana state legislature passed a law requiring all voters who cast a ballot in person to present an acceptable photo ID, issued either by the United States (a federal ID) or by the state of Indiana (such as a driver’s license). Again, Indiana’s Voter ID law was of the strict photo ID type. The Democratic Party of Indiana and interest groups representing African-Americans and elderly citizens filed suit and challenged the law, alleging that it constituted an undue burden on the right to vote.

At trial, the challengers could not produce any witness who could not meet the law’s ID requirement, who could not obtain an acceptable identification. (The Indiana law, as did NC’s Voter ID law, includes a provision that should a person not be able to afford a photo ID or not be able to obtain one, the state would provide one for them, free of charge). The federal district court (federal trial court) upheld the law but on appeal, the appellate court appeared to be divided. The dissenting judge claimed that the law was a “thinly-veiled attempt to dampen turn-out by those likely to vote for Democratic candidates.”  The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Note:  It was not alleged that Indiana’s strict photo ID voter law negatively or disparately impacted any other minority group, other than African-Americans.  It should also be noted that almost all minority groups vote Democratic.  (Why are African-Americans singled out?  Could it be that they are incapable of the same responsibilities that other citizens are capable of?  Or is it more likely related to the fact that 90% or so of African-Americans identify as Democrats and that African-Americans make up the largest of America’s minority groups?)

The Supreme Court heard the case and handed down its opinion in 2008. There were actually two majority opinions written by the court (something very rare). One was written by the very liberal justice, John Paul Stevens, and the other was written by the very conservative justice, Antonin Scalia. The Court held that Indiana’s strict Photo ID law was closely-related to the state’s legitimate state interest in preventing voter fraud and ensuring integrity in its elections. The Court further held that the photo requirement was merely a slight burden imposed on a person’s right to vote which in no way outweighed that legitimate state interest. The Court characterized the strict photo requirement in Indiana’s law as “Neutral and Non-Discriminatory.”

The Crawford case tells us, and each state legislature, that a strict photo requirement in a voter law: (1) Poses no meaningful burden to the right to vote; and (2) is, on its face, “Neutral and Non-Discriminatory.”  It should also instruct every court in the federal judiciary of the same. Supreme Court opinions, once handed down for the first time on a particular issue, become precedent.  Precedent refers to a “preceding” opinion which is to be regarded as a guide to be applied in subsequent similar cases.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals should have applied the Crawford opinion when it heard the appeal from the NAACP and other interest groups regarding the NC Voter ID law rather than substituting its own judgement for that of the NC General Assembly on a law that was, on its face, neutral and non-discriminatory (and in fact, more relaxed than the Indiana law), and therefore it should have upheld it.

Discussing Voter Fraud and the unfortunately opinion by the 4th Circuit, Jay Delancy of the NC Voter Integrity Project explained that 90% (or more) of African-Americans are registered as Democrats and vote Democratic. And so there will always be a racial impact, or a racial component or racial argument, in anything having to do with politics, political posturing, political decisions, or political policy. There will always be a racial impact when a state legislature does any tweaking to its election laws or when it re-draws its district lines, or gerrymanders.  Because of the extraordinarily high political identity of African-Americans with the Democratic Party, one can never truly separate race from politics or from political party.

He continued, explaining that a law designated to prevent voter fraud (which has been consistently and historically perpetrated primarily by the Democratic Party) will of course be seen racial. The re-drawing of district lines designed to benefit the political party in power, which happens to be allowed by law, will necessarily also have a racial component. It is NOT intentional discrimination based on race and there is NO impact based on race. It is what it is simply because of the extraordinarily high racial political identity.

Jay has educated groups, the NC legislature, the NC Board of Elections, other states, the FOX News audience, and even Rachel Maddow over the years on voter fraud, instances of actual voter fraud, the many insidious ways that fraud is committed, the various ways that the potential for fraud exists, and how such potential can be mitigated. For example, in 2012, the NC Voter Integrity Project reported to the State Board of Elections 30,000 deceased voters still on the NC voter registration rolls. Under Democratic control at the time, the Board chose to do nothing and the names were never purged.  Also in 2012, the Voter Integrity Project noted that 175,000 “inactive” voters suddenly became active by in-person, on-the-day-of-election voting. Most of those 175,000 “inactive” voters had been highly suspicious to begin with. They had unreliable addresses or had mail returned to the Board of Elections. Yet suddenly, a huge number of such voters showed up to vote.

Looking for instances of fraud, Jay decided to use a novel method which cross-referenced two different lists of individuals. He looked at the information provided by the state Board of Elections of those who voted in the 2012 election and cross-referenced those names with those individuals who had sought to be disqualified to serve jury duty in the state. In North Carolina, persons can legally get out of jury duty, subject to perjury, if they fall into any one of 4 categories: (1) felon;  (2) non-citizen;  (3) reside outside the district;  (4) cannot speak English.  Jay looked at the list of individuals who got out of jury duty by asserting they are “non-citizens” and cross-checked to see how many of them voted in the 2012 election. He found thousands of such potentially fraudulent voters. He took the information to the NC Board of Elections (state Board of Elections) and after several years, they finally settled with the matter out of court. Jay said he is pleased with the outcome.

Here are some of the ways that voter fraud is committed:

  • Voting early and voting often (or just voting often), in the same jurisdiction
  • Duplicate voting – registering in multiple locations and voting in the same election in more than one jurisdiction
  • Using the name of a person that has died (but whose name still remains on the state voter registration rolls) to vote
  • Voting as an illegal alien (Jay has found many persons who presented, under penalty of perjury, that they couldn’t serve jury duty because they were not a legal citizen yet voted)
  • Voting using the name and address of someone who has moved away
  • Voting using the name and address of a convicted felon (felons temporarily lose the right to vote but remain registered)
  • Voting even though the person is a convicted felon
  • Voting using a false identity
  • Voting using a false registration: (voting under fraudulent voter registrations that either use a phony name and a real or fake address or claim residence in a particular jurisdiction where the registered voter does not actually live and is not entitled to vote). In Wake and Durham counties, 150 fake voters were created by ACORN. The NC Voter Integrity Project believes there were more, but they stopped looking at some point. They took the information to the state Board of Election by it chose not to investigate or prosecute
  • Fraudulent use of absentee ballots (requesting absentee ballots and voting without the knowledge of the actual voter; or obtaining the absentee ballot from a voter and either filling it in directly and forging the voter’s signature or illegally telling the voter who to vote for)
  • Voting using a non-existent address (those campaigning for office and who canvass neighborhoods to talk to voters, using information provided by the Board of Elections will find addresses on the list but no physical address existing)
  • Using the address of someone the person knows for purposes of voting fraudulently (Ex: sometimes there will be 8, 10, 12, 15, 20 persons voting using the very same address, even when the address is in an area zoned only for single-family)
  • Buying votes (paying voters to cast either an in-person or absentee ballot for a particular candidate)
  • Voting in multiple counties for the same election
  • Voters creating fake addresses
  • Unions providing funds to have its members establish “temporary” residences in targeted states prior to elections (while not actually moving or living there) and then voting in those states
  • Persons misappropriating other person’s addresses (a friend of mine, just for the heck of it, looked up her address with the Board of Elections and found that several persons were registered to vote from her address, in addition to her and her husband, the only legal residents)
  • Political “community-organizers” going into high schools to register students, including those who are illegal, by giving out false information (such as “you can vote even if you aren’t a citizen”)
  • Groups intent on perpetrating fraud on the election process have gone through cemeteries, taking down names and other information from gravestones of those who recently passed away (each state has a law that instructs the Board of Elections of how often it must purge the names from its voter rolls of those who have passed. See the Appendix at the end of the article)
  • Voters intent on committing voter fraud have purposely voted in more than one state for the same election (for example, Jay has found several who have voted not only in North Carolina, but also in Tennessee and Florida in the same election)
  • Volunteers with a political party (usually Democratic) going to nursing homes, retirement communities, and other elder care facilities to register or re-register members, and then filling out their mail-in ballots or busing them to the polling location and voting for them (under the guise of being a caregiver); many elderly persons in such homes, communities and facilities lack the mental capacity to know how they are voting or lack the ability to prevent the volunteer from coercing their vote
  • Handing out fake ID’s to homeless persons, addicts, or other persons who cannot provide proof of residence (usually providing a free lunch or $5.00) and then taking them to the polls
  • Illegal “assistance” at the polls (forcing or intimidating voters—particularly the elderly, disabled, illiterate, and those for whom English is a second language—to vote for particular candidates while supposedly providing them with “assistance”)
  • Altering the vote count (changing the actual vote count either in a precinct or at the central location where votes are counted)
  • Ballot petition fraud (forging the signatures of registered voters on the ballot petitions that must be filed with election officials in some states for a candidate or issue to be listed on the official ballot)

Jay Delancy is the foremost expert in North Carolina on voter fraud and speaks about it frequently. He is a watchdog who works tirelessly to identify instances of voter fraud, to identify schemes, to support efforts by our state legislature to protect against voter fraud, to suggest ways to minimize potential voter fraud, and to educate about voter fraud. He provides updates on his Facebook page, including this one video he made:  https://www.facebook.com/11818728/videos/10105605658577189/?id=11818728

With all the opportunities and potential for voter fraud, the state values the procedures and provisions put into our election laws to address the problem, including the provisions for cleaning out voter registration lists and the provision for “Confirmation Mailings” (to confirm that a listed voter still resides at the address registered).  These provisions are common-sense and valuable.

However, liberal judges don’t necessarily think so. There have been several instances where courts have instructed Boards of Election to reinstate voters who have been removed from the voter registration rolls for good and documented cause and recently, a judge struck down a provision allowing voters who have been determined to no longer reside at a certain address to be removed from the voter rolls.

On August 8, a federal judge invalidated part of North Carolina’s election law – the provision that allows one voter to challenge another’s residency. This provision was used successfully by watchdog and election integrity groups to scrub thousands of names off the voter registration rolls in NC ahead of the 2016 election. (Not one error was made and no one was disenfranchised of his or her right or ability to vote). The goal of this provision, of course, was to prevent someone seeking to fraudulently cast a vote or to cast an additional vote by using the name and address of someone no longer living or no longer residing at the address.

Volunteers with the NC Voter Integrity Project had used this provision to purge 3500 – 4000 voters from the voter registration rolls in Cumberland, Moore, and Beaufort counties. The NAACP challenged the removal of those names, and challenged the provision itself, alleging that the purge of voters disproportionately targets African-American voters. (Again, everything negatively impacts only African-Americans).  The NAACP, however, did not make clear how it believes the provision so disproportionately targets them.

Jay Delancy, the director of the NC Voter Integrity Project, said the effort in those counties had one purpose and one purpose only and that was reduce the potential for voter fraud.

In striking down the provision, the judge (Judge Biggs) said that the provision is pre-empted by the 1993 federal “Motor Voter” law, an initiative by the Clinton administration aimed at expanding voter opportunities by registering teens when they go for their drivers permit and license. The “Motor Voter” law (officially name: “The National Voter Registration Act”) mandates certain procedures to reduce the risk that a voter’s registration might be erroneously cancelled. The judge said that allowing one voter to challenge another’s residency contravenes these procedures and frustrates an important goal of the law.

It should be noted that the residency challenges under the challenged provision are not frivolous challenges, but are in line with established election law. Each residency challenge in Cumberland, Moore, and Beaufort counties followed after a postcard was mailed to a particular voter and it was returned as “Undeliverable.” [This scheme was devised by a member of my Tea Party group].  County Elections Boards are allowed to accept returned mail as evidence that the particular voter doesn’t currently live at the address. But that isn’t the end of the inquiry or determination. Before the name is removed from the voter registration rolls, a hearing is called where the challenged voter can present evidence to show that he or she still lives there. If the voter doesn’t appear for the hearing or cannot or does not refute the evidence, then he or she is removed from the voter roll. In other words, North Carolina election laws ensure that their provisions meet due process requirements.

Regardless of the fact that due process requirements are met, Judge Biggs nevertheless struck down the common-sense provision and ordered the Boards of Elections in Cumberland, Moore, and Beaufort counties to reinstate all of the 3500-4000 cancelled voter registrations.

Jay is asking the state legislature to revise state election law to add provisions to once again empower citizens who wish to help minimize the opportunity and potential for voter fraud by helping to identify and challenge illegal and fraudulent voters.

 

References:

Jay Delancy addresses voter fraud on Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/11818728/videos/10105605658577189/?id=11818728

Voter Identification Requirements – Voter ID Laws –  http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx

Governor Cooper’s Injunctive Order, issued on August 21 –  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4779492-18-CVS-9805-Order-on-Injunctive-Relief.html

NC state constitution –  https://www.ncleg.net/Legislation/constitution/ncconstitution.html

Heritage Foundation Explains Voter Fraud –  https://www.heritage.org/election-integrity/heritage-explains/voter-fraud

Maintenance of State Voter Registration Lists: A Review of Relevant Policies and Procedures –  https://nass.org/sites/default/files/reports/nass-report-voter-reg-maintenance-final-dec17.pdf

 

APPENDIX:

MAINTENANCE OF STATE VOTER REGISTRATION LISTS:  A REVIEW OF RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Referenced at:  https://nass.org/sites/default/files/reports/nass-report-voter-reg-maintenance-final-dec17.pdf

Verification of Voter Registration Information —

The voter registration system attempts to match driver’s license numbers with the motor vehicle database. If the last four digits of the voter’s social security number (SSN4) are provided, the number is checked against the Social Security Administration (SSA) database through the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). If no match is found, the voter will be notified. If the information remains unverified, the applicant must show identification before voting.

Address Confirmation Procedures —

County boards of elections attempt to verify the address of initial voter registration applicants by sending a notice to the applicant by non-forwardable mail, at the address provided on the application form. The county will register the applicant if the Postal Service does not return the notice as undeliverable to the county board. If the first notice is returned as undeliverable, then the county board will send a second notice by non-forwardable mail to the same address to which the first notice was sent. If the second notice is not returned as undeliverable, then the county board will register the applicant. (See NCGS § 163-82.7)

Each county board of elections conducts a program to remove from the registration list voters who have moved out of the county, and update registration records of persons who have moved within the county. (163-82.14)

After every congressional election, each board of elections sends a confirmation mailing to every voter if the board has not confirmed the voter’s address by another means. (163-82.14)

If a voter fails to respond to a confirmation mailing, and does not vote in an election from the date of the notice through the next two general federal elections, the voter will be removed from the voter registration list. (16382.14)

Removal of Names –

A voter will be removed from the registration list if the voter:

  • dies;
  • is convicted of a felony;
  • confirms in writing a change of address outside of the county;
  • fails to respond to a confirmation notice and does not vote or update the voter’s registration through two general elections. (163-82.14)

Obtaining the Names of Voters who are Deceased or Convicted of a Crime –

Each month the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services provides the State Board of Elections with the names of deceased persons who were residents of the state, and the Board distributes the appropriate information to each county board of elections. (163-82.14)

Each month the State Board of Elections provides the county board of elections with the names of persons from that county who have been convicted of a felony. (163-82.14)

Upon receipt of a notice of felony conviction from the US Attorney, the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections will notify the appropriate county.

Two Ways of Educating

Education - Indoctrination Center        by  Diane Rufino, December 24, 2013

At some schools, usually independent (not accepting federal dollars) and religious, students read old books, including Plato’s Republic.  In the Republic, they read the story of Gyges’ ring that makes the wearer of it invisible.  One of Socrates’ conversants in the Republic, a young man named Glaucon (who happened to be Plato’s older brother; both were students of Socrates), raises the question: ‘Why would a man in possession of such a ring not use it to do and obtain whatever he wishes?  Why would he not use the ring’s powers, for instance, to become a tyrant?’  In response, Socrates turns the discussion to another question: ‘What is the right way for a man to live?  What is just by nature and what is unjust?’

In parochial schools, such as John Paul II Catholic High School (where I teach), students are also regularly guided by the teachings of the Bible. With respect to the teachings of Jesus, it was Jesus himself who boiled the lessons down to two commandments. When asked by a teacher of law which of God’s laws are most important (Mark 12:28-31), Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  As with books like the Republic, the teachings of the Bible emphasize the proper way for a man to live.  They establish a value system of love, compassion, and charity.  They teach that individuals should use their talents, their abilities, their powers to do good, and not just for themselves but for others as well.

These Socratic questions were once at the center or core of education. But in American education as a whole, and thanks in great part to policies directed by the federal government, these questions have been abandoned. Teaching ‘morality,’ as it turns out, is too offensive.  Even sadder is the tacit denial that such a focus in education serves no sound social purpose.  Thankfully, these Socratic and Socratic-type questions remain at the center or core of education at many institutions that believe that a proper education includes an emphasis on morality and ethics.

At John Paul II Catholic High School, St. Peter’s, and other parochial schools, and perhaps some charter schools as well, there is often a core group of course that all students, regardless of their path, are required to take. This core has a unifying principle, as explained above, such as the idea that there is a right way to live.

Compare this to the “core” that defines the latest bright idea of the education establishment – Common Core.  At its core is the imposition of national one-size-fits-all, copyrighted and licensed educational standards on American public schools all across the country for top-down universal control over the teaching of our children. When one looks into Common Core, it becomes clear that it has no unifying principle, such as I have described above.

Absent the kind of questions posed by Socrates in the Republic or the lessons of community found in the Bible, or in the plays of Shakespeare that pit good versus evil/right versus wrong, modern educators treat students chiefly as factors of production, as moldable young adults to be trained for productive jobs, as dictated by the economy at the time.  And although we all wish productive jobs for our children, as parents we know that they are not chiefly job-seekers or factors of production. “After all, how many of us, if we were given the choice between having our children earn a lot of money and being bad, or struggling economically and being good, would choose the former?”

Another example of the turn taken by modern education is exemplified by a passage from the Teacher’s Guide for Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition, published in 1991 by the College Board – the influential organization that, among other things, administers the SAT exam. It was written by an English professor from Agnes Scott College in Georgia:

“AP teachers are implementing the best of the new pedagogies that have influenced leading institutions of higher learning. Perhaps most importantly, as Arthur Applebee explains, ‘objectivity’ and ‘factuality’ have lost preeminence.  Instruction has become ‘less a matter of transmittal of an objective and culturally sanctioned body of knowledge,’ and more a matter of helping individuals learn to construct their own realities.  This moves English courses away from the concept of subject matter to be memorized and toward ‘a body of knowledge, skills, and strategies that must be constructed by the learner out of experiences and interactions within the social context of the classroom.’  Emphasis is on the processes of language and thought, ‘processes that are shaped by a given cultural community and which also help students become part of the cultural community.’  Contemporary educators no doubt hope students will shape values and ethical systems as they engage in these interactions, acquiring principles that will help them live in a mad, mad world.”

Thomas Jefferson, perhaps one of our more prolific Founding Fathers, wrote or had his hand directly in at least four of the five organic laws that provide the ideological and legal foundation of our country. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, gave direction to James Madison in his drafting of the US Constitution, and provided the voice of reason and conscience to Madison again when it came time to add a Bill of Rights.  The Northwest Ordinance, adopted in 1787, and passed again in 1789, contains the following beautiful sentence: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind, the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”  Accordingly, Congress proceeded to give 1/36th of the land in the vast Northwest Territory – including Michigan and four other states – as an endowment, controlled by the states, to support education in each township.

Consider the current text of the North Carolina state constitution (the constitution of 1971; see below), which sets forth government’s obligations in the state. Article I, Sec. 15 (Education”) provides:  “The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right.”  Article IX, Sec. 1 deals specifically with Education in the state.  That section (“Education encouraged”) reads: “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, libraries, and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Could the difference be more stark between the older and newer goals of education?  Between leading students toward an understanding of the right way to live in a comprehensible world, and telling them they must shape their own values and make their own reality in a world gone mad?  And why aren’t more states, like my state of North Carolina which has vowed to guard and maintain its right to provide education to its citizens (and to promote morality), rejecting Common Core?

So, what is the right way for a man and a woman to live?

Do we trust that question to a government that has vowed to remain neutral on religion and on morality (tipping clearly towards immorality) and conducts itself in every instance without ethics?  Or do we reflect on that question in our own states and ask ourselves what we would like to expect from our own citizens?  Ultimately, parents want to be proud of their children.

 

[Note: The NC state constitution has been amended several times. The original constitution, adopted in 1776 by the general assembly (no input from the people) created the government for the new state; the constitution of 1868 was adopted and submitted to the US Congress for approval as required for re-admission to the Union after the Civil War (later amended to end discrimination against African Americans); and the constitution of 1971, which reorganized the entire state government in light of the requirements of the modern economy and society (more of a reorganization rather than adding anything new)].

 

**  [This short article is based on an article by Larry P. Arnn, Hillsdale College, Dec. 2013, Vol. 42, No. 12.]