NCGA

COVID 19 is devastating minority populations in NC

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Forsyth County's LatinX community is suffering at an alarming rate:

COVID-19 is surging through the Latinx community in Forsyth County with a ferocity that lays bare challenging employment and housing realities that make it difficult for many members of the community to protect themselves from the virus.

Latinx people account for 68.1 percent of COVID-19 positive cases recorded by the Forsyth County Public Health Department, but only 13.0 percent of the county’s overall population, according to the most recent Census numbers, although some say that their actual share of the population is higher. Six out of 25 people who have died from COVID-19 in Forsyth County — 24 percent — are Latinx.

I wanted to highlight this particular problem, but I also wanted to give a hat-tip to NC's independent news outlets, which (very often) give us a deeper look into issues that mainstream media tends to fly over. Triad City Beat was formed from former Yes Weekly contributors, and has done some astounding work since then. But they are also under attack by anonymous actors, having their Facebook page closed down a few times in the last week. Here's more on this story:

And here's the cure: Gail Young for HD 83

Jerry Wayne Williamson has all the deets:

Incumbent Republican House member Larry Pittman decided to emulate Trump by saying yet another outrageous thing (he has a history) -- that Black Lives Matter protestors are "vermin" and need to be shot down in the street if they don't obey -- which prompts me to highlight this a.m. his Democratic opponent on the November ballot, Gail Young. I've been following her since she ran the first time in 2018 (in both a Democratic primary and in the General), and she earned a very respectable 47.22% of the vote against Rev. Pittman (yes, he's a preacher of the Gospel, though it's a version I don't recognize).

Lillian's List of North Carolina made her a featured candidate. Now or Never NC, an independent political action committee that backs "top challengers who strongly support public education, redistricting reform, voter access, and who have an appreciation for local governance," has promoted her. The NC League of Conservation Voters, the NC Sierra Club, Equality NC, Moms Demand Action, and Planned Parenthood have all endorsed her.

Learn more about Gail and contribute to her campaign right here.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This is a serious problem:

Not sure how many of these operations were able to secure government loans to stay afloat, but just from anecdotal evidence I've seen on social media, probably not many.

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:

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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