Charlotte Observer/Raleigh News & Observer. June 21, 2022.
Editorial: The January 6 hearings show the threat to election workers. The NC bill would confront this
Donald Trump’s slogan for 2016 and 2020 – Make America Great Again – has changed as he weighs in again in 2024.
Now his rallying cry is “Save America!”
The transformation from a nostalgic appeal to an urgent appeal reflects the determination of Trump and his supporters to treat the upcoming election as a kind of war in which the very existence of the nation is at stake.
What will count will not be the process, but the result. Forget about encouraging everyone to vote and count votes fairly. The goal is to win at all costs, even if one of the casualties is democracy. Defenders of democracy must confront this threat with an urgency of their own. On Tuesday, North Carolina State Sen. Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake) took such a step. He filed SB916, The Safeguard Fair Elections Act.
The bill aims to defend those on the front lines of the democratic process – voters, election workers and election officials. It would be a crime to intimidate or threaten them.
“This legislation ensures that elections in the future will be decided by the voters, and not through intimidation, threats or even violence,” Chaudhuri said. “These protections are important because they defend the citizens and public servants who work every day to uphold our democracy.”
The bill addresses a real and growing problem. The Jan. 6 committee hearing in Washington on Tuesday focused on threats made against state and local authorities in Georgia and Arizona as Trump and his allies sought to undo his losses in those states. Chaudhuri also noted several instances of bullying in North Carolina.
Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said the invective directed at volunteers and election officials after the 2020 election caused retirements and made it more difficult to looking for people who will work at the polls and oversee the elections.
In a statement Tuesday, Brinson Bell endorsed the law’s goal of safeguarding fair elections. North Carolina’s top election official, who herself has been the subject of unfounded allegations that she tried to help Democrats in 2020, said:
“Election officials and election workers should never be harassed or intimidated for doing their jobs. There is no place for such threats or harassment in a civil society, and sadly, it is increasingly seen across the country. I applaud legislative efforts to strengthen protections for our “heroes of democracy” and further ensure that eligible voters can participate in elections without fear of intimidation. »
The voting process is about to come under more attack. The election results will also face more powerful challenges than those mounted by Trump and his clumsy, conspiratorial legal team of Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and John Eastman.
The Washington Post reports that the Republican National Committee is “spending millions this year in 16 critical states in an unprecedented push to recruit thousands of election workers and observers, adding firepower to a growing right-wing effort to find electoral irregularities that could be used for challenge results.
How far Trump was willing to go to overturn a fair election is on display during the Jan. 6 committee hearings. The former president tried to coerce local election officials and Vice President Mike Pence. He instigated an assault on the United States Capitol to stop Congress from certifying the election results and he still promotes the “big lie” about how his “landfall” fictional victory was stolen.
This combative approach puts democracy at risk. The key battles this fall and in 2024 will not be about winning the majority of votes. This will include monitoring who votes, how votes are cast and how claims of voter fraud are resolved.
Chaudhuri’s bill defends those who administer the voting process. He said, “Instead of demonizing our neutral and trusted local election officials who are just doing their jobs for voters, let’s choose freedom over fear. Evidence on the charges. Country on the party. People on politics.
The Safeguarding Fair Elections Act provides protections that are sadly needed. How much of that is likely to be demonstrated by the Republican-led legislature’s refusal to make those protections law.
Winston-Salem Journal. June 24, 2022.
Editorial: A radical change in the right to abortion
The Supreme Court’s reversal of abortion rights on Friday — signaled by a draft opinion leaked in early May and awaited with dread by many — is historic for many reasons, including that it is the one of the few times in our history that the court decided to contract a constitutionally recognized right rather than extend one.
This is not the end of the abortion issue either. This is just another chapter in the saga of a conscience-challenging, stomach-churning and divisive subject that will throw the nation into further turmoil – just when we need it least.
The court’s 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization says Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the day they were decided.
“We feel that Roe and Casey should be canceled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s majority opinion.
At first glance, this statement seems superficial to the point of misleading. Many topics are not specifically addressed in the Constitution, but we still expect constitutional principles to determine their validity.
Alito also asserted that the court’s decision should have no influence on other issues: “Nothing in this opinion should be interpreted as casting doubt on precedents that do not relate to abortion,” he said. writing.
But in a concurring opinion, Judge Clarence Thomas said the exact opposite – that this decision warranted the court reconsidering rulings on contraception and same-sex marriage. Conservative activists had already signaled their intention to attack those rights, if that were the case. Overall, the majority opinion seems steeped in dishonesty and/or naivety. It’s no wonder that a majority of Americans consider the Supreme Court to be too politicized.
After the announcement on Friday, abortion immediately became illegal to some degree in about 22 states, thanks to trigger bans. North Carolina is one of the last states in the South to protect abortion rights, and likely will remain so for now — unless the Republican-led legislature regains a supermajority in November that allows it. to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto.
But the idea that we’ll simply be divided into blue states that allow abortion and red states that don’t is overly simplistic, when abortion opponents are already pushing laws to punish individuals and corporations. who help women who have abortions by traveling across state lines. — as well as pushing for a federal law banning the medical procedure.
To a large extent, that’s why many tolerated former President Trump — because of his promise to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overthrow Roe. Despite every Trump appointee’s insistence that they abide by legal precedent, Trump spoke the truth for once. No one should have believed them.
Yet the court’s decision is ultimately the result, not just of a presidential election, but of decades of Republican strategy — including its support for “originalist” organizations like the Federalist Society — and Democratic complacency, by absenting themselves from off-year elections and failing to plead their case effectively before the American people. No one should take politics lightly anymore, not when political decisions can be so consequential.
Many likely spent the weekend feeling despair and/or anger at the decision, especially women who feel their bodily autonomy, their ability to make decisions about their own lives, being ripped out of their hands and kicking out indifferent government agents.
“Removing a woman’s right to choose to pursue a pregnancy does not mean no choice is made,” Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote in their dissents. “It means that a majority of today’s court has snatched that choice from women and given it to states. Women have relied on Roe and Casey for 50 years. Many have never known anything else.
“When Roe and Casey disappear, the loss of power, control and dignity will be immense.”
Senator Thom Tillis noted his agreement with the decision in a Friday press release, but added, “This is a very emotional and sensitive issue for many Americans, and I urge calm and respect for the decision of Court and I hope people who have strong feelings on both sides will express them peacefully.
We agree. Reacting impetuously in the heat of the moment will accomplish nothing.
But there is still time to act – and to organize for the November elections, which will represent a dramatic turning point for the nation – for better or for worse.
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