Saturday News: Dead mapmaker testifies


HOFELLER HAD EXTENSIVE FILES ON NC A&T STUDENTS: Some spreadsheets "have more than fifty different fields with precise racial, gender and geographic details," the magazine said, and one identified nearly 5,500 college students who appeared to lack the necessary ID to vote. The story suggests that some or all of this may have played into the GOP's decision to split N.C. A&T's campus between a pair of heavily Republican congressional districts, diluting the voting power of black students living in university residence halls. "Hofeller knew which A&T students lived in Aggie Village, on the north side of campus, and which resided in Morrow or Vanstory Halls, on the south side – along with a detailed racial breakdown and information about their voting status," Daley reported. "As Hofeller sought to create two reliably Republican congressional districts, his computer contained information on the precise voting tendencies of one of the largest concentrations of black voters in the area."

ERIC HOLDER HAS CONCERNS OVER CHUCK MCGRADY'S REDISTRICTING BILL: “I have a great deal of reservations about North Carolina’s HB 140 and believe that the North Carolina legislature should take a harder look at the details before moving forward with it,” Holder said in a press release. “The current proposal does little to improve the status quo and falls short in providing North Carolinians with the transparency, voter protection, and fair representation that they deserve. We can do more, and we should.” The FAIR Act would not create an independent redistricting commission, like some other states use. It would allow the state legislature to retain control over the drawing of the maps, but it would add some extra layers of oversight to the process and institute rules banning politicians from protecting incumbents when drawing new maps. It would also ban them from using any sort of demographic or political data like people’s voting history.

NC BOE ORDERS EARLY VOTING TODAY IN BOTH SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL RACES: Early in-person voting for two North Carolina congressional elections next week has been extended in counties that shuttered voting sites this week as Hurricane Dorian brought strong winds and heavy rains. The State Board of Elections said that voting in Cumberland, Scotland, Robeson and Bladen counties resumed Friday for the 9th Congressional District special election and also would be held Saturday, ending in the early evening at some locations. Later Friday, the board's top administrator also ordered early voting on Saturday in 11 counties in the coastal 3rd District, where all 17 counties had closed sites as early as Wednesday due to Dorian and remained closed Friday. The other six mostly northeastern counties in the 3rd District won't have Saturday voting. Early voting began Aug. 21 for two special congressional elections in the 9th and 3rd districts. Election day for both is Tuesday.

TRUMP'S "JUSTICE" DEPARTMENT ATTACKS U.S. AUTOMAKERS OVER FUEL EFFICIENCY AGREEMENT WITH CALIFORNIA: The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation of four leading automakers over an agreement they forged with the state of California to maintain higher fuel efficiency standards than those sought by the Trump administration, escalating the stakes in the long-running battle between the White House and California. The Justice Department declined to comment Friday, but two other federal agencies said the state’s deal with Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW of North America on gas mileage targets may be in violation of the law and warned of legal consequences. California officials, who have repeatedly asserted the state’s rights under the 1970 Clean Air Act, criticized the inquiry as politicization to impose the Republican president’s policies. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the investigation “seeks to weaponize law enforcement for partisan political purposes to advance the Trump administration’s toxic special interest agenda.”

TRUMP'S WHITE NATIONALIST AIDE STEPHEN MILLER WORKS TO DISMANTLE U.S. REFUGEE PROGRAM: One option that top officials are weighing would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people, but reserve most of those spots for people from a few countries or from groups with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who work alongside American troops, diplomats and intelligence operatives abroad. Another option, proposed by a top administration official, would reduce refugee admissions to zero, while leaving the president with the ability to admit some in an emergency. For two years, Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s top immigration adviser, has used his considerable influence in the West Wing to reduce the refugee ceiling to its lowest levels in history, capping the program at 30,000 this year. That is a more than 70 percent cut from its level when President Barack Obama left office. The move has been part of Mr. Trump’s broader effort to reduce the number of documented and undocumented immigrants entering the United States, including numerous restrictions on asylum seekers, who, like refugees, are fleeing persecution but cross into the United States over the border with Mexico or Canada. Now, Mr. Miller and allies from the White House whom he placed at the Departments of State and Homeland Security are pushing aggressively to shrink the program even further, according to one senior official involved in the discussions and several former officials briefed on them, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail the private deliberations.