Defending Democracy

Defending Democracy

Defending Democracy Education News Top Story

Durham GOP’s “Better Board, Better Schools” candidate slate is soundly defeated

Five Republicans vying to win control of Durham’s progressive school board were soundly defeated in Tuesday’s election. Four of the five finished last in their respective races. Durham’s progressive incumbents – Natalie Beyer, Matt Sears and Bettina Umstead – won three of the five seats up grabs.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

Role of outside money looms larger than ever as PAC-backed candidates surge to primary election wins

State Sen. Valerie Foushee of Orange County won the Democratic primary for the open seat in the 4th Congressional District, defeating Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam and six other candidates in a contest where the millions in independent PAC spending for Foushee became a central issue in the race.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Florida gave voting rights to people with felony convictions. Now some face charges for voting.

Florida authorities arrested a Black man while he was staying in a homeless shelter and charged him with voting illegally in a case tied to Republicans’ drive to root out election fraud. But Kelvin Bolton’s arrest raises questions about the rollout of Amendment 4, passed by Florida voters in 2018 to restore voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

National prognosticators say NC Senate race will favor whichever GOP candidate emerges from May 17 primary

Presumed Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley faces an uphill fight, but will bring plenty of experience and funding to the effort Absentee ballots are starting to roll in and in-person early voting began Thursday in this year’s U.S. Senate primary, an election in which nearly all of the focus is on the bare-knuckled fight in the Republican race. But even before that’s decided, the country’s top political prognosticators are out with predictions for the fall.

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Congress Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pressed to recuse himself from Jan. 6 cases

NC's Deborah Ross among 24 members of Congress speaking out Two dozen congressional Democrats are calling for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases involving the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, following revelations his wife communicated with the Trump White House about overturning the election. In addition, it appears likely that the U.S. House committee probing the attack will ask Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a Nebraska native and longtime conservative activist, to answer questions about her recently disclosed text messages as the panel’s investigation steps up.

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Defending Democracy News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the counties where unaffiliated voters top Democrats and Republicans

North Carolina marked a major milestone last week. Unaffiliated voters surpassed Democrats and Republicans as North Carolina's largest group of voters. Independent now make up 34.6% (2,503,997 ) of North Carolina's registered voters. That edges out Democrats at 34.5% (2,496,434) and Republican at 30.3% (2,192,073). Libertarians (48,654) make up 0.7% of the state's voters.

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Congress Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

What senators asked Ketanji Brown Jackson on the third day of U.S. Supreme Court hearings

Attempt at "gotcha" moment by NC's Tillis ends up backfiring U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis took part in the historic confirmation hearing of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the  first Black woman to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, with questions Wednesday suggesting that as a judge, she is not tough enough on defendants. Unlike some of his Republican colleagues, Tillis spoke in even tones, but he cut off Jackson as she tried to answer some of his questions.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Who are the voters in this year’s Senate race?

It’s an overworked phrase, but for all the focus put on fundraising, polls, gaffes and dark money PACs, elections really do come down to turnout. This year, the mix of voters who show up at the polls, what motivates them to do so and, of course, the totals they post when the ballots are counted will determine the outcome of North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race and, in this era of razor thin partisan margins, perhaps control of the chamber itself.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Ketanji Brown Jackson defends her record under grilling from U.S. Senate Republicans

WASHINGTON – Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday sharpened their criticisms of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, probing her work as a public defender on behalf of terrorism suspects, the judicial sentences she has handed down for child pornography offenses and her views of critical race theory.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the political pressure on local election officials (and the problems it’s causing)

"We will make sure not one single vote in this state is either cast or counted without Republican observers and attorneys in the room," said state Republican Party chair Michael Whatley at last week's Wake County Republican Party convention. The pledge to ramp up political scrutiny of polling sites ahead of the mid-term elections comes at a time that election officials nationwide are raising an alarm about the polarized voting environment.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

In many parts of the U.S., people in jail can still go to the polls

HOUSTON — Damien Lewis had been detained in the Harris County Jail for a week. Other than the one hour a day he was allowed to walk around indoors and trips to court, he had been under quarantine and hadn’t left his cell. But on the day of the Texas primary earlier this month, a jail staff member escorted him down to a hallway on the jail’s first floor, which was lined with eight voting machines.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Voting snafus in Texas primary show what may be on the way for other states

HOUSTON — Standing outside a polling location in the historically Black neighborhood of Kashmere Gardens on Election Day, lieutenant governor candidate Carla Brailey predicted that Texas’ performance in 2022’s first primary would gain national attention — no matter the outcome. Texas is already a model for other Republican-controlled states for its new law that makes it much tougher to vote for many elderly, low-income and non-white citizens, said Brailey, who went on to lose in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Judges replace the NC congressional redistricting plan. The state Supreme Court denies all requests for a stay.  

A panel of Superior Court judges on Wednesday replaced a new map for North Carolina’s congressional districts with their own, while deciding that the state House and Senate plans the legislature adopted last week meet constitutional standards set by the state Supreme Court. The trial court decision on this second set of redistricting plans may not be the last word. Republican architects of the district plans and their challengers are all appealing.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

State judges across the U.S. face growing GOP pushback against rulings in election cases

In mid-December, Texas’ highest criminal court revoked the state attorney general’s ability to use his office to prosecute election-related cases without the request of a district or county attorney. In an 8-1 opinion, the all-Republican court weakened Attorney General Ken Paxton’s power to independently go after perpetrators of voter fraud, a problem he says is rampant but is actually exceedingly rare.

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Defending Democracy Progressive Voices Top Story

Republic? Democracy? Deconstructing the political right’s favored terminology

“We’re a republic, not a democracy” is a thing Republicans are fond of saying. Michele Fiore, whose insatiable thirst for right-wing celebrity status has led her to run for governor of Nevada, said it during a forum with five-sixths of the rest of the GOP gubernatorial field the other day. Except Fiore, always the innovator, turned the tired phrase around to put the “we are not a democracy” part first and then firmly pronounced...

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Defending Democracy Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

So Trump broke another law. Will anyone actually do something about it?

The Presidential Records Act exists for a reason. Republicans who complain about erased history should appreciate that At this point in our sick national saga, is there any law that Trump hasn’t broken? A federal statute on the books – Title 18, Section 2071 of the U.S. Code – spells out the provisions of the Presidential Records Act of 1978.

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