Opinion Roundup: Sept. 12, 2016 -- Gerrymandering, HB2's hidden authors, voting rights, presidential picks and more

Posted September 12, 2016

Voting map, redistricting

How our districts could be drawn (Southern Pines Pilot) -- The Common Cause map was just a theoretical exercise designed to provide an example of what could be accomplished. But the chairmen of the committees that drew up the now-discredited 2011 maps, Sen. Bob Rucho and Rep. David Lewis, reacted with angry and nonsensical accusations that Duke and Common Cause were somehow violating the state constitution by attempting to snatch away the legislatures redistricting responsibility. The whole thing is a “charade,” they said. No, it’s not. If anything, it is a rational attempt to point out how a rather disgraceful existing charade could be corrected — if only there were anything resembling an actual desire for fairness and equitability in Raleigh.

Guarding against gerrymandering (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Partisan gerrymandering — the drawing of legislative districts to benefit one political party at the expense of another — is a venerable feature of American politics. It's also an insidious and anti-democratic practice.

HB2 authorship pits McCrory vs. Chamber (Fayetteville Observer) -- It's no surprise that North Carolina's "Bathroom Bill," HB2, is an election issue, especially in the contest between Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper. But last week, it became an issue - and maybe a crisis - for the state's Chamber of Commerce as well.

Is McCrory or Chamber telling the truth about HB2? (Charlotte Observer column) – Election analyst Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia has moved the McCrory-Cooper race from ‘toss-up’ to leans Democratic in part because JB2 is dragging McCrory’s numbers down.

TIM WHITE: Voting-rights wars are still with us (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Fayetteville voters got what they needed on Thursday. We were lucky.

Legislators' intent was issue, not actual voting laws (Wilmington Star-News) -- It’s important to understand that the 4th Circuit court did not have a problem with voter ID itself. In fact, in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana's voter ID law. There also is nothing unconstitutional about limiting early voting. Some states have no early voting. The problem the 4th Circuit court found is that the General Assembly passed all these laws at once and targeted a specific class of people. It’s not so much what the General Assembly did, but how they went about it and the reason they did it.

Pasquotank needs to alter plan, offer more early voting (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Given the incredible interest in this year’s presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, voter turnout in November could, despite both candidates’ high unfavorability ratings, still reach a record high. All the more reason, then, for elections officials to do all they can to accommodate the large numbers of voters likely to show up Nov. 8. In North Carolina, elections officials have even more incentive this year to ensure voters’ interests come first.

‘Are you serious?’ On voter fraud, these republicans sadly are (Charlotte Observer) -- A Mecklenburg election board member gets called out for spinning conspiracies out of hearsay.

Good day for voting (Greensboro News & Record) -- Reason and compromise generally prevailed during a marathon meeting of the State Board of Elections Thursday — proving that bipartisan cooperation is still possible in Raleigh.

Gary Johnson for president (Winston-Salem Journal) -- We’ve surprised even ourselves with this endorsement, our first for a Libertarian for president. But the timing has never been better for this particular Libertarian, Gary Johnson of New Mexico. He is everything the presidential candidates for the two major parties are not, thank God.

My student missed class... To sue the government over climate change (Charlotte Observer column) -- I call that an excused absence

Lumbee recognition effort rekindled in Washington (Fayetteville Observer) -- This is an old story. Too old. It's about the Lumbee Tribe. Any tribal members younger than 60 weren't even alive when it began.

GENE SMITH: Messing with success pays no dividends (Fayetteville Observer column) -- If I hadn't been in the room when Cumberland County commissioners were briefed on the progress of the North Carolina Civil War History Center some months ago, their finance committee's freeze-up last week might make sense to me.

Confronting the still-real burdens of history (EdNC column) -- As traditional-calendar schools welcomed their students over the past two weeks, state authorities rolled out fresh data with moderately good news about educational achievement in North Carolina. But the bad news was old news — which is what makes it especially troubling.

The wages of injustice (Greensboro News & Record) -- How does it feel to live a nightmare, locked away for nearly a quarter of your life for something you didn’t do?

New state law gives local slumlords a break (Fayetteville Observer) -- Either someone in City Hall wasn't paying enough attention, or special interests beat up on the little guys - again.


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