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Defending Democracy News Top Story

PW special report: News and commentary on surprise NC House veto override vote

[Editor's note: In an extraordinary move unprecedented in modern state history, a narrow quorum of the membership of the state House of Representatives voted to override Gov. Cooper's veto of the state budget bill early this morning. Throughout the day, Policy Watch has been providing up-to-the-minute news coverage and commentary on the day's events, which are summarized below.]

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

PW special update: Lawmakers commence court-ordered redistricting process

The North Carolina General Assembly is embarking on a historically transparent redistricting process without the use of partisan election data, but it’s been slow-going and not without snags. Lawmakers were ordered by a court to redraw House and Senate districts after a three-judge panel found they used unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering to harm Democrats when they created the 2017 legislative maps.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Gerrymandering in NC: Not dead yet

Nomination of longtime conservative financier and partisan as possible referee makes clear that GOP is still resisting real change There has been a great deal of understandable celebrating in recent days in the aftermath of the September 3rd ruling by a bipartisan panel of Superior Court judges that struck down North Carolina’s state legislative maps as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. Across the state and nation...

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Defending Democracy Progressive Voices Top Story

NC could be on a path to fairer maps and better government

If politics can be described as a contact sport, it’s perhaps fitting to say that when the Republicans who control North Carolina’s General Assembly went to court to defend the extreme gerrymandering that has helped keep them in power, they suffered no less than an epic beat-down. Three judges capped years of litigation with an explosive Sept. 3 ruling that scraps the current state House and Senate election district maps and requires them to be redrawn so they treat all voters...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

In historic ruling, judges strike down North Carolina’s gerrymandered legislative maps

North Carolina voters may have a front row seat over the next two weeks to watch Republican lawmakers correct their redistricting wrong of using extreme partisan gerrymandering to dilute Democrats’ collective voting strength and to entrench their own political party in power. A panel of three Superior Court...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Board of Elections dismisses security concerns; votes to allow barcode ballots

The North Carolina Board of Elections went against the request of thousands of voters Friday when they voted 3-2 to certify a barcode elections system susceptible to hacking.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

GOP megadonors fill Tillis’ campaign coffers

WASHINGTON – GOP megadonors and allies of President Trump are helping Sen. Thom Tillis bulk up his campaign war chest as he heads into a 2020 re-election race that promises to be one of the most expensive in ...
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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story Trump Administration

Advocates, officials: New Trump anti-immigration rule is harshest yet

The Trump Administration’s new public charge rule will do more to keep families separated than it will to discourage immigrants from using public benefits by implementing a “wealth test” and defining the type of foreigner they’re willing to let stay in this country.

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Billy Ball Commentary Defending Democracy Top Story

In N.C., the last days of gerrymandering can’t come too soon

Today we wait. We wait for the judges, who retired to their chambers weeks ago in the Common Cause v. Lewis case, a case that asserts political gerrymandering is a betrayal of the “equal protection” provision of the North Carolina constitution.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Board of Elections does a 180 on decision to delay certifying voting machines

The North Carolina State Board of Elections plans to move forward with certifying new voting machines ahead of the 2020 elections after a member mistakenly voted Monday night to delay the process to create stricter requirements out of concern for cyber security. The reversal of course came as a surprise to voting rights advocates and citizens who had praised Board members last night for postponing certification in the name of voter integrity.

The reverse course came as a surprise to voting rights advocates and citizens...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Expert witnesses, lawyers offer dramatically different assessments at state gerrymandering trial

They say the best defense is a good offense, and GOP legislative leaders appear to be attempting heed that old adage. The legislative defendants in North Carolina's partisan gerrymandering trial, Common Cause v. Lewis, started presenting their case this week and, simultaneously, started sending out daily...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina court begins high-stakes partisan gerrymandering trial

North Carolina voting rights groups and Democrats were compared to the legendary Pied Piper at the start of a highly-anticipated partisan gerrymandering trial on Monday – actors who would lure a state court with their legal flutes into a "thicket" of thorns. “There is no need for the thicket under our current constitutional order,” said Phil Strach, an attorney for the legislative defendants. “The court should resist the flute, avoid the thicket and uphold the constitutional order by dismissing these claims.”

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina partisan gerrymandering trial could provide roadmap for other states

All eyes will be on North Carolina next week as partisan gerrymandering takes center stage, once again. The trial in the case of  Common Cause v. Lewis – the state constitutional partisan gerrymandering challenge – will begin at 10 a.m. Monday

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Will the Hofeller files make it to trial in partisan gerrymandering case?

North Carolina Republicans believe the files from deceased mapmaker Thomas Hofeller shouldn’t be used at the upcoming partisan gerrymandering trial because he’s not around to testify. “There are lots of things, your honors, that we are never going to know about those files and that, frankly, we can’t know about those files because Dr. Hofeller is not here to testify about them...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court halts Trump Administration’s citizenship Census question for now

In a surprising move Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the Trump Administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. It wasn’t the citizenship question in and of itself that gave the high court pause, but rather the rationale behind it, which Chief Justice John Roberts wrote “seems to have been contrived.”

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to address partisan gerrymandering fuels state court fight

The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative-leaning justices ruled Thursday that federal courts are incapable of solving partisan gerrymandering challenges. “Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the 5-4 opinion. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is ‘incompatible with democratic principles’ does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary. We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.

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