By Cash Michaels
SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW? – To be transparent, this is being written the day before the election, so I have no knowledge who won, who lost and why. Thus, I can’t jump up and down and go “Yippee,” or if the results are what I didn’t expect (or want) go, “Oh hell!” So without any knowledge of what happened on Election Day, or after Election Day, here goes my concern.
This presidential election is being seen as perhaps one of the most divisive in US history, and there is a huge question about what kind of country we will be afterwards, given how many of us have behaved before it was over. There is no question that this nation is split right down the middle, divided politically, socially and racially. When we heard candidates literally urging thousands of their supporters to express their profound hatred for the other candidate (“Lock her up, lock her up”), or encourage followers to beat people up, or call a particular ethnic group “rapists and murderers,” then there is no question that our future together is going to be tense.
One side, if it loses, is going to angry and frustrated, but they’ll lick their wounds and gear up for the next election. The other side, if it loses, has already signaled that they will be the sorest of losers. They’re already chanting that “the system is rigged” if their candidate comes up short. Some of them believe that the system is so corrupt, they may have to take up arms at some point.
And they don’t mind aligning themselves with avowed racists, while avowed racists are move than happy to align themselves with their movement. Why? Because thanks to the nonsense from their candidate, this country was great only before “other folks” got their rights.
So the divisions are deep, very deep. Bridging that divide will take leadership, not necessarily from the next president, but on the ground and in the neighborhoods. Supporters from both sides will have to learn to stand the sight of one another, and be able to have civil conversations.
But wait a minute – one of the reasons why there are people who feel that their government has left them and done nothing for them is because they are suffering economically. Either they’ve lost their jobs, or their wages and benefits have not improved in many, many years. Add to that the fact that the country is slowly but surely losing its white majority, and that foreign countries have become more competitive with us in almost every area we used to pride ourselves as dominating.
And, of course, as we all know, blaming people of color for alleged “advantages” they supposedly receive from the government during hard economic times is a classic excuse for other folks to manufacture anger. It come as no surprise when we turn on Fox News and see conservative negroes (yes, some prefer to still be called that, raging against the term “African-American” because they don’t agree with hyphenated Americanisms.
So yes, we have an awful lot of work to do as a nation to unify this nation in the aftermath of one of the worst presidential campaigns ever. Let’s just hope that things don’t get too far out of hand before we get it together.
NC VOTERS RETURNED TO
THE ROLLS AFTER RULING
By Cash Michaels
On Election Day, thousands of North Carolina voters who had been illegally removed from the voting rolls of Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties because their voter registrations were cancelled, were able to cast their ballots, thanks to a federal judge’s ruling which called their removal “insane.”
The NCNAACP charged that the black voter removal by the three county boards of elections was another attempt by Republicans to suppress the black vote right before the crucial 2016 general election, and filed suit Oct. 31st in federal court in Winston-Salem against the State Board of Elections and three county BOE’s cited.
US District Court Judge Loretta Biggs, in her Nov. 4th ruling, agreed.
“[T]here is little question that the County Boards’ process of allowing third parties to challenge hundreds and, in Cumberland County, thousands of voters within 90 days before the 2016 General Election constitutes the type of “systematic” removal prohibited by the [National Voter Registration Act],” Judge Biggs wrote.
As outlined in the NCNAACP lawsuit and petition for an emergency injunction, members of a right-wing organization called “The Voter Integrity Project (TVIP) purportedly sent out thousands of pieces of mail addressed to mostly black voters in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties just a few weeks before the Nov. 8th general election. Any single mailing that came back marked “undeliverable” by the post office was then taken to the local county board of elections as “proof” that the voter no longer lived at that address, and therefore should be removed from the voting rolls. “…without written confirmation from the affected voters or compliance with federal voter registration laws.”
According to the suit 3,951voter registrations were challenged in Cumberland County, 400 in Moore County and 138 in Beaufort County.
But as the lawsuit maintained, the “undeliverable” scheme was in violation of the federal National Voter Registration Act, which clearly states that voters cannot be removed from the county rolls inside of 90 days before an election. That clearly wasn’t done, and the removals were deemed “systematic” because the challenges came from members of TVIP were “coordinated.”
Because of North Carolina’s notorious recent history of legislatively attempting to suppress the black vote through the 2013 voter ID law, the US Department of Justice [DOJ] filed a “statement of interest” supporting the NCNAACP complaint.
“[T]he purge program at issue here rested on a mass mailing and the silence of voters largely unaware of the potential injury to their voting rights,” the DOJ stated. In fact in many cases, the black voters targeted still lived at the addresses the alleged undeliverable mail came back from, or at the very least, were still living in the very county they were registered and eligible to vote in.
“The voter purges have a long history of being racially-motivated and terribly inaccurate, said Penda Hair, an attorney for the NAACP. “It’s a timeworn GOP strategy to suppress the black vote that is being recycled in the run-up to Election Day.”
The case was so outrageous, even President Barack Obama talked about it on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton as he urged crowds to vote.
On its website, the Voter Integrity Project blasted the NCNAACP for its action, maintaining that the civil rights group, was “…indirectly "attacking the race-blind research techniques of election integrity watchdogs in North Carolina."
“We will not take these false accusations lying down,” TVIP stated on its website. “Our supporters work for the integrity of US elections by exposing vulnerabilities and recommending corrective action. We question the motives of the NAACP and other groups who respond to our research by calling us names and entangling us in legal maneuvering.”
TVIP added that as a result of NCNAACP suit and media attention it garnered, the organization has been receiving numerous threats.
“The NAACP is defending rights of all North Carolinians to participate in this election and we will not back down and allow this suppression to continue. said Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.
Meanwhile the NC Republican Party touted in a pre-election press release that African-American early voting was down 8.5 percent from 2012, adding that the “North Carolina Obama Coalition [is ] crumbling.”