scharrison's blog

Parsing the changes to Absentee voting by mail in NC

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It's been made easier, but it's still complex:

You can now request an absentee ballot via e-mail or fax with an electronic signature. And starting in June, you only need one witness to fill out a ballot.

"Making sure elections are safe and secure is more important than ever during this pandemic, and this funding is crucial to that effort," Cooper said in a press release Friday. The state will receive over $10 million in funding from the federal government to prepare for the effects of coronavirus on the 2020 election; $424,000 of that will be spent creating a ballot request website.

You need to e-mail or fax that request to your county board of election (as opposed to state website), and you still have to use the proper request form, and it doesn't appear that you can fill it out electronically (save document and make changes). So you'll need to print it out, fill it out, and then scan it (or fax it) as an image. That is until the above-mentioned "ballot request website" becomes operational. But I wouldn't hold your breath and wait for that this year; NC is notorious for taking a long time in developing new platforms such as this. And now to dispel the rumor of Roy Cooper signing Voter ID back into law:

Quarantine Pods: Your isolation doesn't have to be complete

This is either a brilliant idea or a recipe for disaster:

One idea that some families are considering — and that infectious disease epidemiologists think might be a smart way to balance mental health needs with physical safety — is to create quarantine “pods” or “bubbles,” in which two or three families agree to socialize with one another but no one else. In a pod, families hang out together, often without regard to social distancing — but outside of the pod, they follow recommended social distancing rules.

I will freely admit, I only clicked on this article because of the odd name. I've never been one to explore trendy lifestyle changes, or self-help guru advice, and if Marie Kondo tried to pack up my books, she would be escorted out of my house somewhat rudely. But we're all living this quarantine nightmare right now, and some form of social adaptation is going to be necessary. But before you pick up the phone and call your favorite family, explore these recommendations:

Chief public defender in Fayetteville resigns over racist social media post

With friends like this, black defendants don't need enemies:

Cumberland County Chief Public Defender Bernard Condlin submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday after coming under scrutiny for posting a meme on his personal Facebook page showing people being assaulted with water cannons. His resignation is effective June 30.

The words “The next riot at the Market House” appeared with the post before it was removed. It appeared to refer to a May 30 incident at the Market House that followed a peaceful march held to protest the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

It's even worse than just the firehose gif. In the comment section on the Facebook post, he jokes about them setting themselves on fire, and then getting the government to pay for their medical treatment. Trump has really brought the racists out of the closet, hasn't he? People are saying and doing things they would have been way too ashamed to do in the past, and these apologies just don't cut it:

Georgia's voting nightmare is the 2nd canary fatality in the election coal mine

And proof the NC GOP needs to stop fighting mail-in voting:

Problems have been building for weeks as precincts closed, poll workers quit and the primary was postponed because of the health danger posed by the coronavirus crisis. Some voters south of Atlanta waited eight hours to vote on the last day of early voting Friday.

But the election went worse than expected Tuesday, especially in metro Atlanta, when poll workers couldn’t get Georgia’s new $104 million voting system system running. The system uses touchscreens and printers to create paper ballots.

I used this new system when I voted in the NC Primary a few months ago, and it went relatively smoothly. But there were about 9 BoE folks working there that day and no lines of voters backed up. Many of those volunteers I've seen before in previous elections, but most of them were in their late 60's-70's and may not be so willing to expose themselves to COVID 19 come November. Every county BoE needs to be filling their rosters of volunteers, and not just the "maybe" people. And the new systems need to be tested, along with the new volunteers. Because this is crazy:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Keep your eyes on November:

And keep your eyes on your county commissioners, because many are poised to cut funding for boards of elections.

Beware the right-wing misinformation campaigns

Now they've discovered neighborhood chat rooms:

And in Raleigh this week, a message that was posted to neighborhood boards and texted amongst people suggested that “antifa” planned to come into wealthy areas and steal from residents.

“Antifa may be heading into the wealthy neighborhoods tonight to take what should be theirs,” one text said on June 2.

That was in Raleigh, but one that was eerily similar surfaced in Greensboro in the last week, specifically mentioning Old Irving Park as the targeted neighborhood. Mayor Vaughan has been trying to choke this thing for several days, and of course she is being blamed for helping spread the rumor:

Despite pandemic behavior changes, atmospheric carbon is still rising

And these numbers should be truly frightening to you:

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the highest ever recorded — 417.1 parts per million, according to an announcement yesterday by NOAA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Even the economic crash related to the pandemic didn’t slow the uptick in CO2, a greenhouse gas and main driver of climate change. Levels didn’t decrease in part because CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for a long time. There is also natural variability in CO2 levels based on plants and soils. So to make a dent in carbon dioxide levels, NOAA said, would require a sustained 20% to 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for six to 12 months.

That debris you see on the beach in the photo all came from one house in Rodanthe, and happened about a week ago. Luckily nobody was occupying it at the time, but several others in nearly the same condition had to be evacuated. The fact the town was even allowing occupation of these homes just gives you an idea of the reckless and negligent approach to development there, but that's a discussion for another time. Governor Cooper and the NC DEQ are making an effort to combat climate change and prepare us for resilience:

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