Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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FIND WAYS TO EASE VOTING, NOT RESTRICT IT: This needless “Elections Integrity Act” bill demands mail-in ballots not only be cast by Election Day, but if mailed, must be RECEIVED no later than Election Day. It is a change that is not necessary, won’t make elections any more secure and simply erects another unnecessary impediment to casting a fair ballot and getting it counted. There was no problem to be fixed. Things worked better than ever! The quest should be for ways to get MORE people to vote and get MORE properly cast ballots counted. A legal vote legally cast on or before Election Day (including placed in the mail) should be counted. The current practice for receipt of mail-in ballots is basic common sense. To seek a political advantage, regardless of whether done to help Democrats or Republicans, under the guise that appointed elections officials or staff professionals acted improperly is disingenuous at best.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-find-ways-to-ease-voting-not-restrict-it/19617716/

Saturday News: Privatization push

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LOUISIANA INVESTMENT COMPANY TARGETS NC MUNICIPAL UTILITIES FOR TAKEOVER: A private-equity management company has been quietly reaching out to communities across North Carolina offering tens of millions of dollars to manage their utilities for as long as 30 years. Bernhard Capital Partners and a local subsidiary formed in August 2019, North Carolina Municipal Utility Services, have pitched “concession agreements” to more than 10 cities over the past two years. But what Bernhard is proposing in each case is somewhat of a mystery. The company required some community leaders to sign nondisclosure agreements and would not disclose key details in an interview. “Obviously they are in business to make money,” she said. “That is what their goal is and so they are going to have to find ways to do that. Whether it’s raising rates or cutting expenses, there’s going to have to be a way they can make money."
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250519894.html

Protect the NC Constitution: Anti-union amendment needs to be blocked

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It's like déjà vu all over again:

Sens. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, and Jim Burgin, R-Harnett, have introduced a bill — Senate Bill 624 — that would guarantee N.C. workers would not be forced to join a labor union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

North Carolina has had such a “right-to-work” law in place since 1947, but it could be repealed by a future General Assembly. Putting this language in the state constitution would all but guarantee that North Carolina would remain a right-to-work state for the foreseeable future.

I was afraid this would become a regular thing, slapping 4-6 Constitutional Amendments on the ballot every two years. For those inclined to allow the voters to make these decisions, just remember Amendment One from nine years ago. 61% of the voters chose to block gay marriage. Back then, a lot of people I know weren't worried about it. It wouldn't pass, because we had "outgrown" such bigoted concepts. Aside from the potential hazards of each Amendment voted upon, the more they show up on ballots, the less "important" they become in the eyes of voters. Pretty soon it's like changing socks.

Friday News: Common sense

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"RED FLAG" BILL WOULD TEMPORARILY REMOVE FIREARM FROM DANGEROUS INDIVIDUALS: A North Carolina bill allowing courts to temporarily seize firearms from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others was filed Thursday, hours after President Joe Biden recommended states adopt laws to reduce gun violence. But if history is any guide, Democrats will have a hard time passing such “red flag” bills in North Carolina. Three of them, Reps. Marcia Morey of Durham, John Autry, of Charlotte, and Grier Martin, of Wake County, filed House Bill 525 Thursday just before 4 p.m. The 10-page proposal outlines a process for “an extreme risk protection order” that a family member, a current or former spouse or partner, law enforcement or a health-care provider could pursue to have guns temporarily removed from someone who courts deemed a danger. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have adopted similar legislation, Biden said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250524599.html

Born again, again

I got into a gentle argument with a born-again sister the other day. She was foolish enough to claim exalted status by virtue of having been baptized at the tender age of twelve, which meant nothing to me. My own sacred conversion happened when I was ten, dunked in the chlorinated baptismal pool behind the pulpit at the Second First Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia. Under the watchful eye of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, my being born again was witnessed by a huge congregation of foot-stomping, hallelujah-singing racists, not a single black person in sight.

The crushing burden of Voter ID on people of color

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Not everybody lives in the mainstream:

Nearly three dozen states require voters to show identification at the polls. And almost half of those states want photo IDs. But there are millions of eligible voters who don't have them. A 2012 survey estimated that 7 percent of American adults lack a government-issued photo ID.

While some organizations have sued to overturn these laws, a nonprofit organization called Spread The Vote has taken a different tack: It helps people without IDs get them. And people over 50 years of age have presented some of their biggest challenges.

Just a quick personal anecdote: when we had to move my mom into a nursing home, it was right at the beginning of a primary early voting period. When she asked me if I would take her to vote, my brain was pushed into overdrive as I tried to figure out "how" to make it happen. Yes, she could change her voter registration thanks to same-day voting. But her driver's license still had her home (house) address. So I would need to take her to the DMV and get that fixed before doing anything else. When I told her that, she just said, "Forget about it, that's too much." I briefly contemplated just taking her to vote under her old, no-longer-valid registration. But then I remembered pricks like Jay DeLancey and McCrory's goons who challenged voters all over the state, and didn't even mention the idea to my mom. Understand, this is somebody who already had ID and voted regularly. A lot of folks are further behind:

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