Defending Democracy

Defending Democracy

Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Local election officials detail problems with controversial early voting bill

Viola Williams has been crunching numbers and working out possible solutions since last week, when the General Assembly fast-tracked a controversial bill that makes sweeping changes to early voting.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday numbers: All about voting

With midterm elections around the corner, lawmakers have, unsurprisingly, taken aim at last minute changes that would affect voters at the polls. Senate Bill 325 eliminates the last early voting Saturday before this year’s elections and create uniform early voting hours across the state. It was sent to the Governor’s Office Friday. Legislators have also introduced a constitutional amendment that would require voters to present a photo identification before casting a ballot. It’s expected to be voted on next week.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

“Piecemeal” judicial redistricting: Lawmakers pushing a trio of bills that would impact a third of state’s residents

Lawmakers are still trying to sort out their plans for judicial redistricting less than two weeks before candidate filing commences for judicial office and it’s not at all clear where the finish line will be. Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) all but promised last week that a Friday committee meeting at which two bill were approved would be the end of judicial redistricting, but Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) said Monday that there were still imbalances across the state that could be dealt with.

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Defending Democracy Must Reads Original Commentary Top Story

The secretly-negotiated 2018 budget: What’s in it? Why won’t legislative leaders allow real debate?

One would think that legislative leaders would be proud of yet another round of cutting taxes for the wealthiest and shortchanging everyone else. But if they are, why did they develop their budget in secret and why are they limiting opportunities for debate and amendments?

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Legislators seek background checks, fingerprinting for election workers

North Carolina election employees could soon be facing stricter scrutiny. House members rolled out a bill Tuesday night (that has not yet been officially posted online) requiring all current and prospective permanent and temporary employees of boards of elections, including the State Board, to undergo criminal background checks and fingerprinting.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Stealth session? G.A. returns today, but the agenda (including plans for judicial redistricting) remains under wraps

Unsurprisingly, the agenda for the General Assembly's "short session" that commences today in Raleigh is shrouded in secrecy. The recent primary election results — which unseated an unprecedented number of legislative incumbents — have North Carolinians wondering if GOP lawmakers will go into the session guns ablaze or if they will take a tamer approach to prepare for the November election.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Process schmocess: Berger, Moore say 2019 budget changes have already been negotiated

For those who pay only periodic attention to the ins and outs of lawmaking in the North Carolina General Assembly, there was a powerful reminder last week of just how broken things are and how cloistered and detached the conservative powers-that-be in the state Legislative Building have become after several years of unfettered rule.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday numbers: Gerrymandering in North Carolina

Hundreds of North Carolinians turned out over the weekend to run a jagged race around downtown Raleigh in an effort to raise awareness about gerrymandering. It’s an issue that has plagued the state for years. Here are some numbers to provide further context: 7 — the number of redistricting legislative bills that have filed this decade calling for an independent redistricting commission or impartial process blind of political consideration.

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