Tag Archives: North Carolina

‘Intentional Vandalism’ Leaves Thousands Without Power in North Carolina

One right-wing extremist implied that multiple electrical substations were targeted to disrupt a drag show in Moore County. Local law enforcement authorities and the FBI are investigating.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Police officers survey the perimeter line of the West End substation in Moore County, North Carolina on December 3, 2022. (Photo: John Nagy/The Pilot)

Officials in a North Carolina county where more than 40,000 households remain without power amid freezing temperatures declared a state of emergency on Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after multiple electrical substations were damaged by gunfire in an apparent act of criminal vandalism.

“As utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said in a statement. The massive blackout, which began just after 7:00 pm Saturday night, is “being investigated as a criminal occurrence.” No arrests have been announced. Continue reading

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A brief history of Georgia’s runoff voting – and how this year’s contest between two Black men is a sign of progress

Former President Barack Obama raises hands with Stacey Abrams and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock at a Oct. 28, 2022, campaign event in Georgia.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

 

Joshua Holzer, Westminster College

In the U.S., all elections are administered by the states. But not all states use the same rules.

Georgia uses a version of runoff voting, which entails two rounds of voting. Typically, if a candidate wins more than 50% of the votes in the first round, that candidate is declared the winner. If not, the two candidates with the most first-round votes face off in a second round of voting.

There’s historically been concern that such a runoff system disadvantages Black candidates. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney General John R. Dunne once argued that Georgia’s runoff voting system has had “a demonstrably chilling effect on the ability of Blacks to become candidates for public office.” Continue reading

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Armed ‘Poll Watchers’ in Arizona Heighten Alarm Over Right-Wing Voter Intimidation

“This is obviously totally incompatible with liberal democracy and an open society,” said one commentator.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Two masked individuals dressed in tactical gear sit near a ballot dropbox location in Mesa, Arizona on October 21, 2022. (Photo: Nicole Grigg/ABC15 Arizona/Twitter Screengrab)

Video footage released Friday night showing armed individuals sitting near a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona is heightening alarm over right-wing intimidation efforts as early voting kicks off across the United States.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told a local ABC affiliate that it is investigating several individuals who were watching a Mesa voting location on Friday. The department confirmed that two individuals at the site were armed. Continue reading

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Marches on US Main Streets Center Poor Voters’ Demands Ahead of Midterms

“The priorities of poor and low-income people are on the ballot this election—from healthcare to living wages to social programs that lift the load of poverty and much more,” said Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 10-15-2022 by Common Dreams

The Poor People’s Campaign organized get-out-the-vote marches across the United States, including in Westminster, Maryland, on October 15, 2022. (Photo: Maryland Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

Less than a month before Election Day, low-income people and allies came together across the United States on Saturday as part of a get-out-the-vote push by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

The campaign aims to reach at least five million people by the midterm elections next month, spreading the word that “if we ever needed to vote for democracy and justice, we sure do need to vote now!” However, the effort also has a message for politicians. Continue reading

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‘A True Danger to the Public Post Office’: DeJoy Moves to Consolidate USPS Facilities

“How many post offices will be closed?” asked one union official. “How many clerks and drivers will lose jobs?”

By Jake Johnson  Published 8-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Postal union officials are sounding the alarm about the potentially damaging impacts of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s effort to consolidate post offices across the U.S. as part of his widely condemned 10-year plan to reshape the public mail agency.

Government Executive reported Friday that “more than 200 post offices and other U.S. Postal Service facilities are set to shed some of their operations as soon as this year as the mailing agency seeks to consolidate those functions at larger buildings, according to documents shared by management.” Continue reading

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Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens ‘Future of Voting Rights’

“Buckle up,” implores one prominent legal scholar. “An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-30-2022 by Common Dreams

A rally to end gerrymandering outside the Supreme Court on 3/26/19. Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/CC

As SCOTUS-watchers scrambled to stay abreast of a rush of rulings affecting climateimmigrationIndigenous rights, and other policy areas, the nation’s highest court on Thursday said it would hear oral arguments this October in a case involving a controversial legal theory that one advocacy group says is “threatening the future of voting rights.”

The case, Moore v. Harper, involves North Carolina’s congressional map, which was drawn by the Republican-controlled state Legislature and which the state Supreme Court struck down as racially discriminatory. Continue reading

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In ‘Momentous’ Ruling, Supreme Court Rejects GOP Voting Maps

While North Carolina and Pennsylvania will use evenly-split electoral maps for the midterm elections, the court’s right-wing majority appeared eager to rule further on whether state courts can reject partisan maps.

By Julia Conley.  Published 3-8-2022 by Common Dreams

A rally to end gerrymandering outside the Supreme Court on 3/26/19. Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/CC

Voting rights advocates in North Carolina and Pennsylvania celebrated a victory late Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected district maps that had been approved by Republican-led state legislatures and that critics said would give the GOP an unfair advantage in the midterm elections.

The ruling will allow voters in the two states “to vote in free and fair congressional elections this year,” Stanton Jones, an attorney who represented voting rights groups that challenged North Carolina’s gerrymandered map, told the New York Times. Continue reading

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Just 6% of US House Seats Expected to Be Competitive Thanks to Rigged Maps

Gerrymandered congressional districts come alongside a wave of GOP voter suppression laws.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 2-17-2022 by Common Dreams

A ‘Vote Here’ sign outside an election polling place at Woodbury City Hall in Woodbury, Minnesota during the 2020 general election. Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/CC

In a major blow to the democratic principle that lawmakers are accountable to voters who can remove them from office, the vast majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are becoming non-competitive—a trend that critics say threatens to exacerbate GOP extremism as incumbents in solidly red districts shift further right to fend off more reactionary primary challengers.

Several months into the decennial redistricting process, 335 congressional districts have been redrawn as of Thursday. Just 27 of them are considered competitive—meaning neither Democrats nor Republicans have an advantage of more than five points—according to FiveThirtyEight. Continue reading

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‘Incredible News’ as NC Court Restores Voting Rights to 55,000 Formerly Incarcerated People

While GOP lawmakers ready an appeal, voting rights advocates move to ensure formerly incarcerated people know about the ruling.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-24-2021

Signs from the 13th Moral March on Raleigh – 2019. Photo: Anthony Crider/flickr/CC

Voting rights advocates in North Carolina on Tuesday applauded a ruling by a panel of three state Superior Court judges for taking “the first step” in restoring justice to tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated people convicted of felonies in the state.

A panel of the Superior Court voted 2-1 to restore voting rights to about 55,000 people who have been incarcerated for felonies in a decision that would terminate a state law which bars people from voting if they are still on probation, parole, or serving a suspended sentence. 
Continue reading

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Sea level rise is killing trees along the Atlantic coast, creating ‘ghost forests’ that are visible from space

Ghost forest panorama in coastal North Carolina. Emily Ury, CC BY-ND

Emily Ury, Duke University

Trekking out to my research sites near North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, I slog through knee-deep water on a section of trail that is completely submerged. Permanent flooding has become commonplace on this low-lying peninsula, nestled behind North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The trees growing in the water are small and stunted. Many are dead.

Throughout coastal North Carolina, evidence of forest die-off is everywhere. Nearly every roadside ditch I pass while driving around the region is lined with dead or dying trees. Continue reading

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