North Carolina’s Republican-heavy legislature needs to change its name to “Midnight Marauders.” The conservatives once again launched a late night sneak attack on the Democrats. They overrode and gutted several measures vetoed by NCs Governor, Beverly Perdue. Here is what they approved:
- Fracking—which could affect clean drinking water for 2.4 million people from Research Triangle to the Sandhills
- Cut the guts out of the Racial Justice Act—removes race as a challenge in death penalty cases
- Defunded Planned Parenthood
- Zapped the state’s budget--meaning $190 million less for education
Now here is the elephant in the room. NC is sitting on approximately $1.8 million set aside for the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The funds are supposed to be used to upgrade election procedures, voting machines, registration processes and poll worker training. HAVA was enacted to avoid a Florida-like “hanging chad” debacle, and insure the integrity of federal elections.
Senate President Pro Tem, Phil Berger ignored an NC House measure that would have taken money out of the next governor’s inaugural party fund. A GOP liaison, Sara Riggins, responded for Berger in an e-mail:
…the only state expense the State Board of Elections had planned for the funds were upgrades to a software system, which we felt would have a minimal impact over the next year.
Yeah, right. The Repubs deliberately axed $664 thousand from the budget to make sure the federal government could not release an estimated $4 million to improve the state’s election system. County election boards are short on cash. Prediction: broken machines, fewer early voting sites. Additionally, the right-wingers redistricted the state, which amounts to a map Jesse Helms would be proud of. The conservatives have re-segregated North Carolina.
Berger and his ilk are banking on confusion, long lines, damned lies and Art Pope. Pope, a rich crusader/hater, is the embodiment of the Koch brothers in NC. In 2010, he gave millions to GOP candidates. The Tea Party Repubs don’t just want voter disenfranchisement—they want to change the outcome of an event that happened nearly 150 years ago--the Civil War.