Wake Dems Weekly Update: BOE Updates

Welcome!

The March for Our Lives was held on March 24th in Washington, DC and locations around the globe. Raleigh hosted a sister event that drew thousands to Halifax Mall to demand action by the GOP-led NCGA and the federal government to pass common sense gun control laws.  

Speakers at the event included Fourth District Congressman David Price, State Senator Jay Chaudhuri, and WCDP volunteer and organizer, Aaron Wolff, a survivor of the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007.

Thank you to all who participated in the rally!

Update on the Board Of Elections and Ethics Enforcement

Dallas Woodhouse, the Executive Director of the NC Republican Party, let the cat out of the bag last week. Although the GOP-majority NCGA added a ninth seat to the Board last month to address possible legal concerns about its makeup, Woodhouse is now threatening a constitutional amendment this November to allow an even number of Democrats and Republicans to serve.

Last week, Governor Cooper named Damon Circosta of Raleigh to the ninth seat on the Board, reserved for an Unaffiliated member.  Prior to his appointment, the Board had held round after round of tie votes, split along party lines, to name two possible unaffiliated voters to fill the vacant ninth board seat, from whom the Governor could select one. Circosta, who won a unanimous vote from the Board, is the Chair of the AJ Fletcher Foundation and previously ran the NC Center for Voter Education.

Even though Circosta has served both Republican and Democratic lawmakers throughout his career, Woodhouse did not like the outcome and threatened to change the rules once again to get his way.

Woodhouse now admits that merging the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission was never about efficiency, nor was it best for citizens of NC, as the GOP claimed at the time. Rather, it was never anything more than s a power play to restrict Governor Cooper’s Executive authority and keep him from having a majority on the State Board of Elections. It’s unbelievable to watch Republicans try to rig the rules of a system they’ve already gamed," stated Ford Porter, a spokesman for Governor Cooper.

All hands on deck!

The Brennan Center for Justice has recently published Extreme Gerrymandering & the 2018 Midterm. The report highlights the challenges that Democrats face in winning majorities in highly gerrymandered states in 2018. North Carolina, one of the most gerrymandered states in the country, is called out in particular.

  • In North Carolina, even if Democrats win three seats with 29.66 percent of the statewide vote, they are not projected to compete for a fourth seat until their statewide vote share reaches 52.78 percent, an increase of 23.12 percentage points.

Using sophisticated computer programs, Republicans have gerrymandered these Districts to withstand the normal six to seven point swing we typically see in midterm elections, thus increasing the percentage of the statewide vote we must carry to win.

This report does not indicate that a #BlueWave2018 is impossible. It does, however,highlight the importance of Get Out the Vote initiatives in places like Wake County, where the Second Congressional District is flippable if Democrats show up to vote in larger than normal numbers for a midterm election. A high voter turnout is also essential to #BreaktheMajority in the NCGA.

What can we do to help build the base for the #BlueWave2018 now?

  • The first step is already in place. We are running at least one Democrat in every local and federal election!

  • The second step is also already in place. We are running well-qualified Democrats with common sense solutions for the issues that matter to voters.

  • Organization and a strong volunteer base at the precinct level is essential. Start reaching out to your voters now!  We have so many great ways of reaching out to voters - email, phone banks, social media, even good old “snail mail”. Be creative and enthusiastic!

  • Voter registration runs until April 13th. Encourage your Democratic friends and family to register, if they havenot, and to check their registration for any needed changes, if they already have.

  • We need to see high voter turnout in the May primaries! Absentee ballot applications are available now through May 1st. Early voting begins April 19th at the Wake County Board of Elections and at all other early voting sites on April 26th.

  • Volunteer as a poll greeter on Primary and Election Days! Seeing a smiling Democratic face at the polls is important to voters. Contact your Precinct Chair for more information. Not sure who your Precinct Chair is? Check out this handy Find My Precinct application at wakedems.org.

  • The Orange County Democratic Party has provided County-to-County Campaign Materials to support organization, volunteer, and GOTV initiatives. Check them out!

  • Remember, this is a marathon, not a race. We will need to work from now until November 6th to win. We will continue to provide links to webinars and other resources related to GOTV as they become available.

Fourth District Convention to be held May 5th in Raleigh

Join the Fourth Congressional District Democratic Party as they hold their annual District Convention! They will elect officers to various positions in the Party, consider resolutions submitted from county conventions, and hear from candidates across the Fourth District!

Registration will begin at 9 am and the Convention will start at 10 am at the McKimmon Center for Continuing and Extension Education at NC State University. For more information, check out their Facebook Event.

Keep up with WCDP events and news!

Primaries are underway in Wake County, and WCDP board and staff are making every effort to keep up with the myriad events taking place across the county, from candidate fundraisers to auxiliary meetings. Check out our central calendar here, and if you have events of your own you wish to publicize, send details to WCDP 3rd Vice Chair Zainab Baloch (wcdp3vc@gmail.com).

Want to start receiving emails from WCDP with news and updates? Sign up here!

Wake Dems Weekly Update: Fired Up and Ready for the #BlueWave

Welcome!

What do you get when you put 500+ Wake County Democrats in the Raleigh Convention Center on a Saturday afternoon? You get a group of fired up citizens who are ready to #BreaktheMajority!

The 2018 Wake County Democratic Party County Convention was a great success. With speeches from David Price, NC 4th District Congressman, and Jessica Holmes, the Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, as well as from our many candidates for the November 2018 elections, attendees were “Fired Up, Ready to Go!”. The #BlueWave is rising!

Update on the battle over the State Board of Elections

On Tuesday, the State Supreme Court refused to clarify its order relating to the merger of the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission, as requested by Governor Cooper last week. In response, the Governor has filed a new lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court over House Bill 90 to prevent its implementation on March 16th. The lawsuit cites a separation of powers violation with the new law.

This is the third lawsuit filed over the GOP’s attempts to limit the executive power of the Governor. We will continue to follow this lawsuit.

An ongoing constitutional violation of every child’s right,” judge declares

In 1994, five school districts in NC, and individuals in those districts - Cumberland, Halifax, Hoke, Robeson, and Vance - sued the State. Their claim was that state constitutional mandate for equal educational opportunity has been violated, especially for low wealth districts. Leandro v. State has become a landmark case in the US. In 1997, the State Supreme Court ruled that every child in NC has a right to obtain a sound basic education. As part of the ongoing case in 2004, the State Supreme Court held that at-risk prospective students were being denied their right to the opportunity for a sound basic education. The State expanded Pre-K services as a result, and positive outcomes were achieved.

As part of their first State budget in 2011, the GOP-led NCGA HB 200 capped the number of at-risk students at 20% for NC Pre-K, decreased the overall funding, and required a co-payment for enrollment in the program. The Bill was challenged in court under Leandro. In 2012, the State Court of Appeals upheld that the State must provide free Pre-K to any at-risk 4 year old who applies.

In 2017, the State Board of Education, under Republican State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, requested of the Court to be dropped from the lawsuit, claiming that the Board has made the required changes needed under Leandro. This would mean that only the State of NC would be left as a Defendant.

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge David Lee vehemently disagreed.  In his decision denying the request, Lee stated, "There is an ongoing constitutional violation of every child’s right to receive the opportunity for a sound basic education. This court not only has the power to hear and enter appropriate orders declaratory and remedial in nature, but also has a duty to address this violation." He also noted, “the court record is replete with evidence that the Leandro right continues to be denied to hundreds of thousands of North Carolina children.”

Lessons from Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District

As of the writing of this week’s update, it appears that Democrat Conor Lamb has won the special election in the PA 18th Congressional District, one which went for Donald Trump by more than 20 points in 2016. What are our takeaways as the Wake Dems head into the 2018 midterms?

  • In order to win, you have to show up (Part 1): Democrats had not run a candidate in the PA 18th in 2014 and 2016. Wake Dems have met this challenge, with at least one Democratic candidate in every race in 2018!

  • In order to win, you have to show up (Part 2): Get Out the Vote is an essential winning strategy in 2018! Our voters are motivated at all levels. GOTV begins with the primaries in May and continues up to November 8th.

  • Real Issues = Real Wins: Democrats must focus on the issues that matter to Wake County residents. Education, Jobs, Access to Affordable Healthcare, and Local Infrastructure impact our citizens every day. Wake Dems are lucky to have strong candidates who can not only speak to these issues, but also offer real solutions.

  • It Can Happen Once in a Blue Moon: 2018 is a “Blue Moon Election”. What does that mean? Every twelve (12) years in NC, we have an election cycle where there are no statewide elections held. For 2018, it also means we have a unique opportunity to focus and take back control of the NCGA as citizens look for positive change.

As we move into the 2018 election cycle, there are numerous opportunities for Wake Dems to learn more about the elections and to volunteer. One great source of information is the Events Calendar at wakedems.org. You can find out about candidate forums, volunteer opportunities and social activities!  You can also check out our Facebook page for more information.

How is your Social Media Game?

We are looking for some team members to join the social media committee. Email WCDP3vc@gmail.com if you are interested in joining the team.

Wake Dems Weekly Update: 2018 WDCP Annual County Convention

Welcome!

This Wake County Democratic Party Annual Convention is this Saturday from 1pm to 6pm at the Raleigh Convention Center! The Agenda for the event is now available. We look forward to seeing everyone!

State Board of Elections Confusion Continues

On Monday, the three judge panel hearing the case of Cooper vs. Berger I, relating to the merger and makeup of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, issued a decision. They agreed with the North Carolina Supreme Court that a law passed by the Republican-led General Assembly in 2016 should be partially struck down. However, the panel did not address the underlying issue of the case - the constitutionality of the GOP-lead NCGA’s merger of the two Boards.

Adding to even more confusion, House Bill 90, which the NCGA passed back in early February, expands the Board of Elections to nine (9) members - four Republicans, four Democrats, and one Unaffiliated - which are all chosen by the Governor from lists provided by the parties. The law also gives the Governor power to fire Board members at will. Governor Cooper did not veto the Bill but is allowing the Bill to become law on March 16th without his signature.

At this time, Wake is one of twenty-five (25) County Boards of Election to have only two seated members on a three-member board. These appointments are made by the State Board of Elections, which is the subject of the current merger lawsuits. Without a fully-functioning State Board of Elections, these county boards are unable to fulfill their duties.

On Wednesday, Governor Cooper officially asked the state Supreme Court to clarify and enforce its mandate to the three judge panel. The Governor requested that the Court declare the merger of the boards “void and without legal effect.”

DACA in Limbo

In September 2017, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, put in place by President Obama in 2012, was being terminated. A final date of March 5, 2018, for the program was announced.

The DACA program provides legal protections for undocumented persons who were brought to the US as children. It allows for recipients to work and pursue higher education without fear of deportation. Participants are required to be under the age of 31 and enrolled in school, the military, or working full time, and to have no criminal record. Recipients must be reapproved every two (2) years.

That deadline passed this week and the DACA program is still in limbo. Multiple lawsuits were filed across the United States to stop the termination. Two of those cases have resulted in rulings halting the federal government from ending the program and forcing the continued acceptance of DACA renewal applications. Congress has been unable to come to a bipartisan resolution to the issue.

DACA is a federal issue, but is one that hits close to home for North Carolina and Wake County, in particular. Our state is home to 27,385 approved DACA recipients, one of the largest populations in the country. Estimates project that ending DACA will cost NC $1.2 billion over the next decade.

Early Voting and Absentee Ballots for May Primaries

The #BlueWave and our plan to #BreaktheMajority begins with the May 8th primaries. Be sure to mark your calendars!

Is your voter registration up to date? You can check the status of your registration and view your primary ballot at the Voter Search page offered by the State Board of Elections. Be sure to confirm that your address and affiliation are correct. You have until April 13th to make any updates prior to the May 8th primaries.

Voters can begin requesting absentee ballots for the May 8th primaries on March 19th. You can request your ballot using this form from the State Board of Elections. Absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before May 8th to be counted.

Early Voting for the May 8th primaries begins on April 19th at the Wake County Board of Elections and on April 26th at all other Early Voting sites. Early voting runs through May 5th.

What Are Your Budget Priorities?

Did you know local government impacts your life more than some federal issues? We need to stay active and make our voices heard.

If you live in Raleigh, your city wants to hear from you! The FY2018 Resident Budget Priorities Survey is now available. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and provide your input on the direction of the city.