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Thousands March in Raleigh, NC for Equality, Push Back Against Republican Legislature: VIDEO

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Citing the “immoral” legislation enacted by Republican lawmakers in the state, thousands of dissatisfied North Carolina voters and activists rallied at the capitol in Raleigh over the weekend pushing for social justice. WUNC reports:

BarberOn Saturday morning, tens of thousands chanting and holding banners filled downtown Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street from side to side for five blocks. They were there to hear The Rev. William Barber of the state NAACP. At the end of the street in front of an American flag that snapped over the old State Capitol building, Barber preached, his voice thundering through speakers.

“We are people, we are natives and immigrants, we are business leaders and workers and unemployed, we are doctors and the uninsured, we are gay, we are straight, we are student, we are parents, we are retirees,” Barber said. “We are North Carolina. We are America. And we are here, and we ain’t going nowhere.”

The “Mass Moral March” was organized to push against much of last year’s Republican-led legislation in the state, including new abortion restrictions, voter identification requirements, and cuts to unemployment benefits.

Check out footage of the rally, AFTER THE JUMP... 

Newsobserver reports than there were few counter-protesters at the march itself, but conservative organizations and leaders in the state later criticized the rally for its “divisive rhetoric” and “far-left agenda.”

“The so-called Moral March on Raleigh is anything but moral,” Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition, said in a news release. “It is spearheaded by groups that support abortion and homosexual marriage."

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Voting Makes You Gay: VIDEO

Voting_quinto

Zachary Quinto, Jane Lynch, Ellen DeGeneres, and Andy Cohen appeared in an amusing mock PSA at the end of the previously-mentioned Wednesday night Daily Show segment on voter suppression.

Enjoy, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Voting Makes You Gay: VIDEO" »


Racist NC GOP Official Forced to Resign Over 'Daily Show' Interview: VIDEO

Yelton

A Daily Show segment on voter suppression containing an interview with Buncombe County, NC Republican precinct chairman Don Yelton, who called African-Americans "lazy" and "stupid", among other things, has cost Yelton his job.

Also said by Yelton:

"When I was a young man, you didn't call a black a black, you called him a negro."

"I had a picture one time of Obama sittin' on a stump as a witch doctor and I posted that on Facebook. I was making fun of the white half of Obama, not the black half."

"If [the law] hurts the whites so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it."

Watch the stunning segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

The disgusting comments have cost Yelton his post, WRAL reports:

Buncombe GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell called the remarks "offensive, uniformed and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party."

"Let me make it very clear, Mr. Yelton's comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe Republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon," Mitchell said in a press release. "This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party."

...The state party leadership also issued a statement calling for Yelton's resignation.

Yelton told the Asheville media on Thursday that he stands by his comments.

"I've been laughed at by Democrats since I left the party. They try to make me look like a fool," he told WLOS-TV. "This is being picked up in Raleigh, across the state. They're trying to say, 'Look at this guy. He's racist.' The whole question isn't about racism."

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North Carolina Gov. Signs New Voter ID Law, Lawsuits Follow Shortly Thereafter - VIDEO

Pat McCrory


North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed into law yestarday a new voter ID law which, according to the Huffington Post, "requir[es] photo identification at the polls and eliminat[es] a slew of voting measures designed to protect against voter disenfranchisement." The new law, tentatively set to take effect in 2016, would require voters to provide photo ID such as a driver's license or passport, but does not accept others such as a student ID. This worsens fears held by the law's opponents, who argue that the law is designed to target and disenfranchise certain voter demographics. HuffPo goes on to report:

"The bill also reduces early voting by a week, eliminates same-day registration, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds and a student civics program, kills an annual state-sponsored voter registration drive and lessens the amount of public reporting required for so-called dark money groups, also known as 501(c)(4)s."

Rather than conduct the traditional signing ceremony, Gov. McCrory opted to simply announce the newly-signed law via a YouTube video, which currently has all feedback features disabled. 

VoterprotectscreenFor those registered voters in North Carolina who currently lack the required forms of ID, anywhere between 203,351 and 318,643 as estimated, the state will be offereing a "free ID" that will be made available at DMVs. When asked why McCrory chose to back this new piece of legislation, despite the fact that voter fraud seems to be a highly rare occurrence, he responded by saying, in a Raleigh News and Observer op-ed:

"Even if the instances of misidentified people casting votes are low, that shouldn’t prevent us from putting this non-burdensome safeguard in place. Just because you haven’t been robbed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lock your doors at night or when you’re away from home."

This new law has already been challenged by the ACLU of North Carolina, as well as a coalition of others, by a lawsuit that was filed just hours after the new law was signed. The lawsuit charges that Gov. McCrory's new law violates the Constitution's equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The North Carolina NAACP and Advancement Project filed a similar suit shortly therafter. It is worth noting, however, that a large portion of the Voting Rights Act was recently declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Many analysts cite the SCOTUS' recent ruling as among the chief reasons why the bill was passed in the first place. 

The Huffington Post also added some more noteworthy and potentially troubling analysis:

"The bill has the potential to reduce turnout for key Democratic constituencies -- minorities, the elderly and students -- with the slew of new requirements, even beyond the new measures for identification. President Barack Obama narrowly won North Carolina in 2008 but lost it in 2012, and in 2016, the state is likely to be a battleground.

"The legislation, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature over the objections of Democrats before heading to McCrory's desk, is the latest of a string of conservative legislation signed into law in the state. McCrory has also signed measures introducing new restrictions for abortion clinics (attached to a motorcycle safety bill), expanding concealed-carry permits to bars and restaurants, and cutting unemployment benefits."

The NC Governor has also previously repealed a law that allows death row inmates to challenge their sentences based on allegations of racial bias. You can view his announcement AFTER THE JUMP. Since comments are disabled on the video itselg, feel free to leave one below instead. 

Continue reading "North Carolina Gov. Signs New Voter ID Law, Lawsuits Follow Shortly Thereafter - VIDEO" »


The Supreme Court Says Racism is No More, Strikes Down Key Section of Voting Rights Act

By ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Today, the Court made it harder for the federal government to protect us from states and localities that engage in voter suppression and discrimination.

SupremesThe Voting Rights Act (VRA), a key provision of which was struck down in a case called Shelby County v. Holder, is one of the paradigmatic success stories of the civil rights movement. At issue in this case was the part of the VRA that applied to 9 states (and several other municipalities) that had particularly bad histories of disenfranchising blacks in the Jim Crow South. The law states that before these states can do anything to their voting laws, they have to get the Department of Justice to approve the plan. That way, a white majority could not use its voting power to continue to frustrate African American voting.

Therefore, the law requires and implements fairness in elections because without the right to vote and without the right to have that vote heard (and not be silenced by gerrymandering and other burdens), equality under the law means nothing. It harkens to a time when Congress was both functional and brave, willing and able to confront large national problems -- vast disenfranchisement of African American populations, for example -- and solve them. That the VRA proved to be so good at addressing the problem it was meant to solve is why we're here today: the VRA is a victim of its own success.

Vra_johnsonOr, at least, that's what the Supreme Court's conservative majority would have you believe. The VRA worked, the five conservatives said; there no longer is such egregious and widespread voter discrimination in the South. It's time to move on. But any cursory look at the last election cycle -- voter suppression, gerrymandering, unprecedented burdens and ID requirements for voting -- shows how out of touch the conservatives are.

Shelby County, by hobbling one of the most important legacies of the mid Twentieth Century, is a victory for anti-government conservatives, a win for ethnic majorities worried about losing their stranglehold on the political process, and a long-sought accomplishment for the conservative legal movement. It is a loss for just about everyone else, including basic principles of equality, democracy, and fairness.

AFTER THE JUMP, I briefly discuss the Shelby County decision and explain how it relates to the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions coming tomorrow.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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