(Okay, no, not technically, but amusement parks are about to close on weekdays and pools are shutting down after this weekend and we’re no longer supposed to wear white for some reason, so in the lay, non-astronomical sense, I think we’re all agreed that summer spiritually ends with Labor Day.)
(Which is, like, here.)
But before we all take off for the holiday that heralds the last hurrah of the season, let’s check in on what’s happening in the states. Because, while most legislatures aren’t in session in the summers, that doesn’t mean statehouse action takes a vacation.
Because, thanks to the GOP-controlled legislature and its never-ending series of power-grabs and general assaults on democracy, there’s ALWAYS something happening in North Carolina.
Two weeks ago in this space (my vacation was lovely, thank you), I wrote about a court fight over the GOP’s super-brazen (even for them) attempt to change the rules in the state’s Supreme Court race mid-game, so to speak.
Two weeks was, like, forever ago, so let me catch you up:
Last year, Republicans passed legislation specifically designed to impact the 2018 elections by allowing any candidate running for office to change his or her party affiliation right up to the time they officially file as a candidate.
That candidate—Raleigh attorney Chris Anglin—filed to run as a Republican, sparking GOP fears that he’d siphon votes away from Jackson, splitting the party’s vote and easing Earls’ path to the bench.
Until June 7 of this year, this fresh Republican face in the race was a registered Democrat.
The state Republican Party vowed to treat Anglin as “the enemy he is.” Both Anglin and state Democrats aver that no shenanigans are afoot here; rather, Anglin is just a concerned citizen who wanted to run as a “constitutional Republican.” (Yeah, I don’t know what that means either, but whatevs, cool, you do you.)
While Anglin’s not mentioned by name in the bill, it applies only to judicial elections, and it only allowed candidates to display their party affiliation on the ballot if they were a member of that party 90 days prior to filing to run.
The bill passed along party lines, of course.
And it was immediately challenged in court, of course.
A Wake County judge swiftlyissued an injunctionto prevent the state from printing ballots unless the candidates are identified on them by their preferred party, and the court ultimately ruled in favor of Anglin appearing on the ballot as a candidate of his party of choice.
This week, the state Court of Appeals declined Republicans’ request to stay the lower court’s ruling.
Giving the legislature (read: Republicans) the ability to choose members of the State Board of Ethics and Elections enforcement, taking that power away from the governor and preventing the Democrat currently occupying the office from appointing a Democratic majority to the board.
Requiring voters to present a photo ID to cast ballots.
Two weeks ago, a court issued an injunction on printing ballots (by now a familiar experience for the GOP) in response to a lawsuit disputing the deceptive wording Republican lawmakers are using to explain some constitutional amendments they want passed this fall.
Yup, the Republicans’ lawyer basically argued that lawmakers have a right to mislead voters.
Never mind that the GOP is asking voters to make fundamental shift to the balance of power among branches of government, obstruct ballot box access, and dramatically undermine the state’s tax base, resulting in inevitable cuts to schools and other essential government duties.
Specifically, the one concerning stripping the governor’s power to appoint the elections board and giving it to the legislature, and the one giving the legislature control over who the governor can select to fill judicial vacancies.