Tuesday News: Smoking fraudulent gun

WOMAN ADMITS TO WITNESSING AND COLLECTING BALLOTS FOR MCCRAE DOWLESS: What Channel 9 found appears to be a targeted effort to illegally pick up ballots, in which even the person picking them up had no idea whether those ballots were even delivered to the elections board. Many times, people on that list witnessed ballots together. Channel 9’s political reporter Joe Bruno went door-to-door in Bladen County trying to find out who these people are. No one answered at Woody Hester’s home. James Singletary wasn’t home either and Lisa Britt doesn’t live at the address she said she did on the ballots. Bruno then visited Ginger Eason. She told him why her name appeared so many times as a witness. “I was helping McCrae pick up ballots,” Eason said. Eason said Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr. paid her $75 to $100 a week to go around and pick up finished absentee ballots. Dowless is the Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor who appears to be at the center of the state investigation. He was named twice in sworn affidavits as a worker for the Mark Harris campaign.

HUNDREDS PROTEST DECISION TO ERECT EXPENSIVE STRUCTURE FOR SILENT SAM: North Carolina's flagship university proposed Monday to move a toppled Confederate statue into a new $5 million building on the outskirts of campus, seeking to balance security with strict state historical laws in a step that triggered an uproar by chanting demonstrators who took to the streets after nightfall. The plan presented by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt called for relocating the statue at a site a mile south of where the monument once stood. The proposal was overwhelmingly approved by the campus trustees, though at least one voted against it. An estimated several hundred protesters marched peacefully but noisily against it hours later Monday night. The trustees proposed a site south of the university's hospital to build a new history and education center that would house the statue torn down by protesters in August. The proposal said the new building in the Odum Village area of campus would cost about $5 million to build, with an estimated $800,000 in annual operating costs.

JOSHUA MALCOLM WILL REPLACE ANDY PENRY AS CHAIR OF NC ELECTIONS BOARD: Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday he has named Joshua Malcolm the new chairman of the state board of elections. Andy Penry announced Saturday he was resigning effective immediately as chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The Democrat resigned after he came under fire from Republicans for his posts on social media, including criticism of President Donald Trump. Malcolm is a lawyer from Pembroke and a Democrat. Cooper also appointed former board member Robert Cordle to the board’s vacant position on Monday afternoon. Cordle, who previously served on the board of elections until 2013, was selected from a list of nominees provided by the North Carolina Democratic Party, Cooper said in a release.

DURHAM/ORANGE LIGHT RAIL LEAPS ANOTHER HURDLE WITH REZONING APPROVAL: The plan to connect Durham and Chapel Hill with a light rail can move forward after the Durham City Council approved a rezoning request near midnight Tuesday. The approved zoning request change allows the Durham-Orange light rail to run from UNC Hospitals all the way to Durham. The meeting Monday night was crowded, with the room at capacity and people listening from a hallway. Five hours passed between the meeting’s start time and when council members voted. Those in favor of the light rail said it would help cut down on traffic congestion. “I am from New York City; we have transit,” said Leslie Nydick. “It is just a part of life, and it will be a part of life in the suburban area here.” Those opposed said the GoTriangle route would close major downtown streets for construction and be noisy. Construction for the 18-mile light rail is slated to begin in 2020. The light rail would have stops at and between North Carolina Central University, UNC Hospitals and Duke University Hospital.

THE GHOST OF WILLIE HORTON OVERSHADOWS BUSH MEMORIALS: To many African-American people, the scars from that campaign attack remain fresh. Whatever Mr. Bush’s intentions, they said, the campaign encouraged more race-based politics and put Democrats on the defensive, forcing them to prove themselves on crime at the expense of a generation of African-American men and women who were locked up under tougher sentencing laws championed by President Bill Clinton, among others. “The reason why the Willie Horton ad is so important in the political landscape — it wasn’t just about a racist ad that misrepresented the furlough process,” said Marcia Chatelain, a Georgetown University professor of African-American history who teaches a class on race and racism in the White House. “But it also taught the Democrats that in order to win elections, they have to mirror some of the racially inflected language of tough on crime.” Michael Nelson, an editor of a book of essays on the Bush presidency called “41,” said the Horton episode led to far more overt plays to race in American politics, all the way up to President Trump. “In some ways, the Willie Horton ad is the 1.0 version of Trump’s relentless tweets and comments about African-Americans,” he said.