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Wednesday News: One step backwards

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COURT RULES GERRYMANDERING NOT SUFFICIENT TO BLOCK VOTER ID AND TAX CAP: "We conclude that the Superior Court erred in holding that our General Assembly lost its power granted by our state constitution ... simply because a federal court had determined that the maps contained too many majority-minority districts, such that some members elected to that body were from districts that were illegally gerrymandered based on race," Judge Chris Dillon wrote for the majority. "It is simply beyond our power to thwart the otherwise lawful exercise of constitutional power by our legislative branch to pass bills proposing amendments." Judge Donna Stroud wrote in a concurring opinion that declaring the General Assembly invalid because of some gerrymandered districts wouldn't allow any legislative action – even drawing new voting districts – which would create chaos.
https://www.wral.com/nc-appeals-court-upholds-voter-id-tax-cap-amendments/19287208/

Tuesday News: Purple state fever

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DONALD TRUMP IS REALLY WORRIED ABOUT NC, COMING TO FAYETTEVILLE SATURDAY: President Donald Trump plans to host a campaign event in Fayetteville on Saturday, his latest visit to North Carolina. The event is at 6 p.m. at Fayetteville Regional Airport. People can register for up to two tickets at events.donaldjtrump.com. Doors open at 3 p.m. The Republican president has visited Winston-Salem and Wilmington in recent weeks, in addition to a trip to Charlotte for the Republican National Convention. Gov. Roy Cooper has limited outdoor gatherings to 50 people in response to the coronavirus pandemic. His order exempts the exercise of First Amendment rights, but urges people taking part in such activities to avoid mass gatherings, follow social-distancing recommendations and wear masks.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article245737295.html

Monday News: Three thousand fifty two

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NC'S COVID 19 CASES APPROACH 185,000: At least 184,936 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 3,052 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 1,196 new COVID-19 cases, down from 1,454 reported the day before. Five coronavirus-related deaths were reported Sunday. About 4.9% of tests were reported positive as of Friday, the latest date available, in line with health officials’ goal of 5% or lower. At least 831 people in North Carolina were reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, down from 870 the day before. Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state health department, said last week the state is “simmering” but still has too many cases to open additional businesses.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article245709045.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DEJOY IS MERELY A TOOL IN TRUMP'S EFFORT TO DISRUPT THE ELECTION: Louis DeJoy, the Greensboro businessman and GOP mega-donor, may think of himself as a big shot with a lofty federal government appointment – U.S. Postmaster General. But to President Donald Trump, DeJoy is just another convenient bit-player in his dangerous and unrelenting effort to disrupt the 2020 elections. So far in North Carolina, it appears that request for mail-in ballots are both being handled expeditiously by local Elections Boards and mail service has been delivering requested ballots in a timely manner. Regardless, President Trump is determined to concoct an election crisis and plant distrust. First, he raised unfounded suspicions of potential fraud in connection with mail-in voting. Then he comes to North Carolina and tells voters to break the law – calling on voters to cast ballots by mail and then on Election Day try to vote again – to see if efforts to double vote are detected. He’s sought to raise doubts about the legitimacy of counting votes cast whether those delivered by mail or cast in person at early voting sites.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-dejoy-is-tool-in-trump-s-effort-to-disrupt-the-election/19280490/

Saturday News: And where's the General Assembly?

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FACING BUDGET SHORTFALL, UNC-CH PONDERS FURLOUGHS AND EARLY RETIREMENTS: "We are going to be faced with some difficult decisions in the coming months," Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz told members of the Faculty Council in a Friday afternoon meeting. Becci Menghini, vice chancellor for human resources, said UNC-Chapel Hill has a limited number of tools to address the lost revenue: Some furloughs have already happened, and more are possible. Some employees may be required to work reduced hours for reduced pay. There could be temporary reductions in base salary for those making more than $45,000 a year. Some faculty and staff could be asked to take early retirement. Administrators also told faculty that they haven't made any decisions yet on the spring semester, including when and how it will start and whether there will be a spring break.
https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/unc-chapel-hill-weighs-furloughs-salary-cuts-to-offset-potential-30...

Friday News: Invasion of the Trumps

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IVANKA SWOOPS IN AT NC FARMER'S MARKET, JUNIOR IN HENDERSONVILLE: Ivanka Trump visited the N.C. State Farmers Market in Raleigh Thursday to tout a U.S. Department of Agriculture program meant to provide hungry families with food boxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the 2020 presidential election less than two months away, the Trump campaign, and members of the Trump family, are showing a renewed focus on North Carolina, which is expected to be a swing state. Donald Trump Jr., one of the president’s sons, also was in North Carolina on Thursday, visiting Hendersonville. Thursday’s visits come on the heels of dual Trump family visits Tuesday, when the president held a rally in Winston-Salem, and Eric Trump, another son, visited High Point. Last week, the president stopped in Wilmington to name it the nation’s first World War II Heritage City. During a late August visit to Mill River, the president announced he was setting aside another $1 billion for the food box program, bringing its total to $4 billion.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article245623110.html

Thursday News: Bigot on the bench

TRUMP'S SUPREME COURT SHORT LIST INCLUDES NC WOMAN WITH TIES TO ANTI-LGBTQ GROUP: A Duke University graduate with ties to an anti-LGBT group has been included in President Donald Trump's list of nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Allison Jones Rushing was born in Henderson, North Carolina, in 1982 and was nominated to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which represents West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas. On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis tweeted his thanks to Trump, writing, "Judge Rushing is a western NC native I was proud to recommend to serve on the Fourth Circuit and a strong conservative choice who would uphold the Constitution." In March 2019, NBC News reported Rushing has ties to an anti-gay "hate group" called The Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF. According to NBC, ADF "has a long track record of opposing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals."
https://www.wral.com/trump-lists-nc-native-with-ties-to-anti-lgbt-group-as-pick-for-supreme-court/19...

Wednesday News: Every vote should count

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DEM GROUPS FILE LAWSUIT OVER ABSENTEE BALLOT "CURES": Several Democratic groups sued on Tuesday demanding that North Carolina block a provision requiring residents to cast their vote over from scratch if a witness fails to sign or provide an address on the envelope containing their absentee ballot. State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said in a memo last month that envelopes lacking a witness name, signature or address are declared “spoiled," and a new ballot must be mailed to the voter. The requirement violates the state constitution, in part because it places an undue burden on the right to vote for those without the required witness information, the lawsuit filed in Wake County court says. It argues that the registered voter could miss out on voting due to delays in receiving a new ballot.
https://www.wral.com/democratic-groups-sue-to-seek-fixes-for-more-nc-ballots/19276442/

Tuesday News: Wave him off

WINSTON-SALEM TRUMP RALLY TO BE HELD AT AIRPORT: Smith Reynolds Airport has been gearing up for the president’s Tuesday campaign stop since 6 a.m. Monday morning. Fences have been set up around the airport to handle those who show up to hear the president and those who have planned protests. Hand sanitizer stations and temperature checks will happen as people enter the area. If you go, you also have to sign a waiver saying you take full responsibility if you catch COVID-19 at the campaign stop. Winston-Salem police plan to have more than two miles of road blocked off Tuesday. Liberty Street will be closed from 28th Street to Glenn Avenue at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Forsyth County deputies will be on-site working alongside secret service.
https://www.cbs17.com/news/north-carolina-news/winston-salem-prepares-ahead-of-president-donald-trum...

Monday News: Two thousand, eight hundred ninety

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NC HOSPITALIZATIONS DUE TO COVID 19 ARE DOWN TO 830: At least 176,901 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 2,890 have died, NC DHHS reported. The number of completed COVID-19 tests increased by 32,079 Sunday to 2,442,950. About 6% of the tests were positive as of Saturday, the latest date available. The number of those in the state hospitalized for COVID-19 decreased by one on Sunday to 830, according to DHHS. The last time the COVID-19 hospitalization numbers were so low was on June 16, when 829 people were hospitalized. Hospitalizations continued to increase thereafter and peaked at 1,236 on July 29.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article245530830.html

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