Thursday News: Voter suppression, by any other name


REPUBLICAN LAW LEADS TO 17% FEWER EARLY VOTING SITES: When a last-minute measure to standardize the hours for early voting wound its way through the legislature during the final days of session earlier this year, opponents worried aloud that the move would be a heavier burden for cash-strapped counties. They were right, according to a detailed analysis of early voting locations conducted by WRAL News. As a result of the new law, the number of hours available statewide to vote early at one-stop locations nearly doubled from 2014. Total early voting hours increased in all but six counties: Henderson, Bladen, Stanly, Polk, McDowell and Halifax. But the total number of early locations dropped by about 17 percent statewide. In all, 43 counties lost at least one voting location. Two counties – Henderson and Buncombe – lost four. That matters, because political scientists say distance from a voting location can have at least a small effect on turnout.

DAN BISHOP WHINES ABOUT BEING EXPOSED AS GAB INVESTOR: “Why I’m being targeted and smeared by a British tabloid for a $500 investment in the final days of a campaign, I have no clue.” Bishop’s involvement was first reported Tuesday in the Daily Mail. It cited an August 2017 Facebook post, in which he said, “I’m about done with SF thought police tech giants’ Big Brother routine, and so ... I just invested in a free-speech social network startup mentioned in a Washington Post article today,,” he wrote. “Free markets are the answer to many kinds of tyranny.” Bishop’s 2017 post came days after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville left one counter-protester dead. Gab, a site similar to Twitter, attracted neo-Nazis and other controversial far right figures, according to the Washington Post. The site was coming under fire after Charlottesville. Google barred the site from its Google Play Store.

CHARTER SCHOOL PIRATES EYEING SECOND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FOR FORCED TAKEOVER: North Carolina's statewide school board could order a second academically low-performing school to be taken away from local control and turned over to hired school operators or be closed. The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether Wayne County school leaders must turn over or shut down Carver Heights Elementary School starting next year. Only about 18 percent of the Goldsboro school's students were proficient in skills expected at their grade level, the lowest of the six elementary schools that were under takeover consideration. The rural, 3rd- through 5th-grade school scored in the bottom 5 percent statewide last year. A state takeover could mean replacing teachers and administrators. Parents and local school officials are resisting losing control.

REPUBLICANS ARE RELYING ON AN ARMY OF WHITE MALE CANDIDATES IN CONGRESSIONAL RACES: The disparity highlights a trend that has been amplified under President Donald Trump, with the two parties increasingly polarized along gender and racial lines as much as by issues. The result is that, in an election season playing out against the backdrop of bomb threats, violence and a charged immigration debate, the parties are presenting voters starkly different pictures of American leadership. Democrats have nominated more than 180 female candidates for the House, a record. But while voters could send more than 100 of them to victory, Republicans could have fewer women than now in their ranks next year due to retirements and tough races, according to election analysts. Overall, nearly 9 in 10 House Republicans will be white men when the new Congress convenes in January.

BORDER WALL OR BORDER WAR? TRUMP WANTS UP TO 15,000 TROOPS DEPLOYED: President Donald Trump says the number of military troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexican border could reach 15,000 — roughly double the number the Pentagon said it currently plans for a mission whose dimensions are shifting daily. The Pentagon says "more than 7,000" troops were being sent to the southwest border to support the Customs and Border Protection agents. Officials said that number could reach a maximum of about 8,000 under present plans. His comments were the latest twist in a story that has pushed the Pentagon unhappily into the political space, prompting questions about whether Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was allowing the military to be leveraged as a political stunt. "We don't do stunts," Mattis said Wednesday. Trump rejected the idea he was "fearmongering" or using the issue for political purposes, but his escalating rhetoric in the waning days of the campaign season calls that denial into question.