Tuesday News: A big, stinking mess

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BLADEN COUNTY COUNTED EARLY VOTES BEFORE ELECTION DAY, LEAKED RESULTS: Bladen County election workers tallied the results of early voting before Election Day in violation of state rules and are accused of allowing outsiders to view them, a precinct worker wrote in an affidavit released by state Democrats. The allegations raise new questions about missteps in an election fraud case in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District race that has garnered national attention and held up certification of the U.S. House contest. The report showing totals from Bladen County’s only early voting location was run on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 from 1:44 p.m. to 1:46 p.m., according to a copy released by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, which is investigating voting irregularities among mail-in absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties. Under North Carolina election law, “if one-stop ballots ... are counted electronically, that count shall commence at the time the polls close.” Polls closed in North Carolina on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article222898975.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Not fake news:

Russian spy Mariia Butina is singing like an opera star, and the lyrics are all about the NRA rolling in Russian cash and buying politicians for both of them. And it takes a survivor of the Parkland shooting (David Hogg) to remind us of this fact, which is sad on so many levels I don't know where to begin.

NC GOP's school safety plan fails to mention firearms

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The first rule of Gun Club: You don't talk about Gun Club:

It is a stark reality when your General Assembly feels it necessary for all public school students to learn how to control bleeding in order to keep schools safe. It is even more stark when, even though it isn’t explicitly said, that bleeding is likely to come from a gunshot wound. But here we are.

The House Select Committee on School Safety approved its report to the full General Assembly, along with draft legislation, Thursday, and without talking about guns, it ends up being all about them.

The really sad (and disgusting) thing is, the main reason NC Republicans refuse to discuss guns, even when it comes to school shootings, is because they're afraid of gun nuts like Paul Valone of GRNC. They're afraid they will be a target in the GOP Primary, which for many of these gerrymandered empty suits is the only electoral danger they face. They would rather do nothing of substance than risk popping up on the radar of these groups, which makes them complicit in whatever future school shootings occur. And it's doubtful if the gun debate will even happen in the near future:

Monday News: Snowmageddon

WINTER STORM LEAVES NC ROADS TREACHEROUS FOR DAYS TO COME: "There could be an additional inch of snow, and this is toward [Monday] morning as an upper-level system that is to our north and west moves in, " Maze said. "There could be some light icing." The Triangle has a 55 percent chance of getting more than an inch, he said, and the probability drops to about 25 percent in Fayetteville. The system should clear out of the Triangle by Monday afternoon, but precipitation could linger to the southeast into the evening, Maze said. The greater threat for black ice comes Tuesday, Wednesday and even Thursday morning, when temperatures are forecast to be in the 20s, he said. "We're concerned about that hard freeze come Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, because you know there will still be a lot of moisture left on the roads," he said.
https://www.wral.com/temps-rise-above-freezing-but-refreezing-on-roads-remains-a-concern/18053181/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC SHOWS TRUMP GETS IT ALL WRONG ON VOTER FRAUD: Midterm election update from the Department of Irony: Republicans have been warning us about the danger of voter fraud for ages. And now it does appear that a major congressional race was impacted by that very type of evil-doing. Feel free to chortle/snort/howl at the moon when I tell you the accused fraudsters are Republicans. The fictional version of voter fraud involves sinister characters — possibly illegal immigrants! — showing up at the polls repeatedly, perhaps disguising their nefarious intent by wearing different hats or an occasional false mustache. “In many places, like California, the same person votes many times ... Millions and millions of people,” said Donald Trump. He’s been running on this theme since he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. We will not even bother to envision what Election Day would look like if millions and millions of extra voters were standing in line.
https://www.wral.com/trump-gets-it-all-wrong/18043132/

Absentee ballot fraud in NC09 may do more damage than we thought

We might just win this race, but still lose the war on voters:

At this point, it is easy to take a victory lap and point out the hypocrisy of the voter fraud outrage machine, the members of the fraudulent fraud squad who proclaim voter fraud at every turn but ignore what’s going on in Bladen. Follow-up investigations have revealed many of the unsavory details of a history of potential problems in Bladen, history which Republican Party officials apparently ignored for at least a few elections.

There’s likely going to be a new election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, and Harris might even win again if there’s no way of connecting him directly to the election crimes. But the facts of Bladen will be elided into a general sense that elections can be “stolen” and that “voter fraud” remains a major problem.

Republicans have long since embraced the idea that Crisis = Opportunity (fun fact: The Chinese symbol for weiji does *not* actually translate to that, but the philosophical cat is out of the bag, so just roll with it). The GOP views any new development, even embarrassingly negative ones, as a chance to grab more power for themselves. And usually at the expense of others. It is also no comfort that North Carolina is not alone in these GOP voter suppression efforts:

Saturday News: No Sam is also an option

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STUDENTS INTERRUPT MEETING ON DISPOSITION OF CONFEDERATE STATUE: During Friday's meeting, student protesters briefly interrupted and members of the faculty council stood in solidarity. Their message was straightforward - Silent Sam should not be resurrected on campus. "Our safety means this statue does not belong on campus. We don't want it anywhere on campus," said Angum Check, a senior at UNC. Check said the physical and mental health of students is at stake if the statue stays. "I'm tired of her (Folt) trying to please everyone," said Check. "She can't please everyone. She needs to pick a side and she needs to stand firm in that side that she picks." Students in opposition of Silent Sam have also encouraged teaching assistants to join a strike, in which TAs and instructors have threatened not to grade some assignments and withhold grades. The UNC Board of Governors is expected to review the Silent Sam proposal at its Dec. 14 meeting. It's unclear whether they would have the final word, or whether the North Carolina Historical Commission would have to sign off as well.
https://www.wral.com/-we-don-t-want-it-silent-sam-discussion-briefly-interrupted-by-student-proteste...

$34,310 debt owed by Harris campaign for fraudulent ballots

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Buying a Congressional seat can be costly:

In a filing with the Federal Election Commission, Mr. Harris’s campaign listed an obligation of $34,310 for “reimbursement payment for Bladen absentee, early voting poll workers; reimbursement door to door.” The disclosure form said the campaign owed the money to Red Dome Group, the Charlotte-area consulting firm that Mr. Harris hired for his campaign.

Red Dome, in turn, contracted with L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a Bladen County political operative who has been accused of collecting absentee ballots from voters in a potentially illegal effort to tip the election toward the Republican nominee.

Which exposes an exceptionally nasty side to this story: A lot of those small donors, squeezing fifty bucks out of their family's budget in support of an evangelical pastor, only to have their money used to steal or stifle the votes of their fellow citizens. Of course they can't see that side, because there's a bible waving in their face. But I see it. And so does Nancy Pelosi:

Friday News: Pocketful of excuses

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PITTENGER COMPLAINED OF "BALLOT STUFFING," WOODHOUSE IGNORED HIM: The executive director of North Carolina’s Republican Party on Thursday defended GOP candidate Mark Harris as an “innocent victim” and downplayed a report that incumbent Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger’s campaign alerted the party to voting irregularities in Harris’ primary upset in May. Pittenger recognized something right away as results came in on Election Night, mentioning a “ballot stuffer,” according to one person in the room that night. The Washington Post reported Thursday that several Pittenger aides contacted NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse and someone from the National Republican Congressional Committee. ‘It’s likely that they said something. What could we have done?” Woodhouse told The News & Observer. “It’s not an excuse, but the reality is we hear from a lot of people during primary election campaigns. But we can’t take a role in them.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article222751275.html

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