Tuesday, November 21, 2017

NY City Council Speaker Candidates Support Extending Council Term Limits

New York City Council Members looking for their fellow Members' votes for Speaker are getting behind an Extension of Term Limits for the Council.

All the Speaker Candidates who spoke at a Forum Monday night said they'd back giving current Council Members a Third Term, up from the current Two.

The idea was first proposed by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan). "I will work hard to change the charter so we can give three terms for each Council member," said Rodriguez, who is already in his own Third Term.

Councilmen Jumaane Williams, Mark Levine, Robert Cornegy, Corey Johnson, and Jimmy Van Bramer all backed a Third Term for the Council, with most saying it would have to be decided by Voters in a Referendum.

Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg got Term Limits Extended after a fierce fight, a move that applied to Him, the Council, and all Citywide Offices. But the Limit was later returned to Two Terms, which will apply to everyone Elected in 2013 or later.

The Extension backed by the Speaker Candidates would only cover the Council.

Levine (D-Manhattan) stressed the need for a Referendum, but said he'd support an Extension. "There's a good argument that losing 38 members on one day is not in the best interest" of the city, he said, referencing the Exodus set to happen after 2021. "But this is a decision that has to be made by the people."

Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) made a different argument, saying many People would not Run for Office if they didn't have a chance to claim Full City Pension Benefits, which happens after Ten Years on the Payroll. "It doesn't really make sense," he said.

Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Queens) did not chime in on the Issue during the Panel, but told the Daily News he would Support a Third Term but that it should not apply to Sitting Legislators, only those Elected in the Future.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Trump Administration to End Immigration Protections for Haitians

The United States in July 2019 will End a Special Status given to about 59,000 Haitian Immigrants that Protects them from Deportation after a devastating 2010 Earthquake, Senior Trump Administration Officials said on Monday.

The decision by acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke gives Haitians 18 Months to Return to their impoverished Caribbean Country or Legalize their Status in the United States.

Former President Obama’s Administration granted Haitian Nationals in the United States so-called Temporary Protected Status (TPS), for 18 months after a 7.0 magnitude Earthquake struck near Haiti’s Capital, Port-au-Prince, in January 2010, killing more than 300,000 People.

The Obama Administration extended the Status several times after the initial designation.

Duke decided to Terminate the Special Status after a U.S. Review of the conditions in Haiti found the Country had made considerable progress, a Senior Official with President Trump’s Administration told a Briefing. “It was assessed overall that the extraordinary but temporary conditions that served as the basis of Haiti’s most recent designation has sufficiently improved such that they no longer prevent nationals of Haiti from returning safely,” the Official said.

In May, then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly Extended the Status for Haitians for Six Months through January 2018. At the time, Kelly told Reporters that TPS “is not meant to be an open-ended law but a temporary law.”

The decision to End TPS for Haitians is part of Trump’s broader efforts to tighten Restrictions on Immigration, and comes despite calls from even some Fellow Republicans to continue the Relief.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida Published an Opinion Piece in the Miami Herald on Friday urging the Administration to Renew Haiti’s TPS designation for another 18 Months, citing Ongoing Natural Disasters, Health Epidemics, and Security Issues since the 2010 Quake.

Duke in September Ended TPS for Citizens of Sudan as of 2018, but extended it for Citizens of South Sudan through mid-2019.

This month, Duke decided to End the Status for Nicaraguan Immigrants, but extended the Program for Honduran Immigrants until July 2018. Thousands of Nicaraguans and Hondurans received TPS in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America. The Washington Post reported that Kelly pressured Duke to End the Program for Hondurans, but Duke denied the Reports.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Judge Permanently Blocks Trump's Executive Order on Sanctuary Cities

A Federal Judge on Monday Permanent Blocked President Trump’s Executive Order that attempted to Cut Funding to so-called Sanctuary Cities, another legal blow to White House efforts to ramp up Deportations and curb Undocumented Immigration.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco called Trump’s January Order “Unconstitutional on its face” in his Ruling, which made Permanent his Injunction from April. The White House had threatened to Cut Federal Law Enforcement Grants from Cities that fought Trump’s efforts to Combat Undocumented Immigration and said it would publicly Shame Localities that Failed to Comply with attempts to Increase Deportations.

“The counties have demonstrated that the executive order has caused and will cause them constitutional injuries by violating the separation of powers doctrine and depriving them of their Tenth and Fifth Amendment rights,” Orrick wrote.

The City and County of San Francisco and the County of Santa Clara had argued they could lose Billions of Dollars in Federal Funds each year. Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice said the Order would apply to only a few Grants and would involve far less Money, an argument rejected by Orrick, who said it was written broadly in an attempt “to reach all federal grants.”

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who filed Two Lawsuits against the Trump Administration, called the Decision “a victory for the American people” and said the Case was “a check on the president’s abuse of power.” “This executive order was unconstitutional before the ink on it was even dry,” Herrera said in a Statement. “This president and his administration have been trying to twist facts, stoke fears and demonize immigrants to score cheap political points. The American people are too smart for that.”

The term “Sanctuary City” has a Broad Definition but generally refers to Jurisdictions that limit Compliance with Federal Immigration Authorities, including some that Bar Local Police Officers from asking about Immigration Status or others that may Refuse to turn over Undocumented Immigrants being held in Local Jails.

Trump’s own words were used against him in Orrick’s Ruling, including an instance where the President said he would use the Executive Order as “a weapon” against Jurisdictions that disagreed with his Policies.

There also is another reason the Order should be rejected, it violates existing Grant's Agreements. But I can see the Trump Administration changing future Grant's Requirements and not Approve them for Sanctuary Cities. Then the Courts might say the new Requirement is Unconstitutional.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Monday, November 20, 2017

Generation Vote NYC 2017

Generation Vote NYC, a Collaboration between Common Cause New York and Rock the Vote, is a Project that works to Mobilize the Next Generation of Young Voters to Engage in New York City’s Municipal Elections.

Twenty-Five Community Partners participated in the Project, including Minkwon Community Action Center, Generation Citizen, CAIR NY, United Neighborhood House, Queens Civic Congress, and the Council of Urban Professionals.

They Promoted and Launched a successful Social Media Campaign and introduced Voters to a Short-Code that allows them to Send Updates to Voters on important Election Deadlines.

They Recruited and Trained over 150 Volunteers, placing them at Summer Outdoor Movie Showings, Street Fairs, Concerts, and Famers Markets at various locations in New York City.

Their Interns and Staff surveyed Young Voters and created a Candidate Questionnaire addressing the Issues Millennial Voters care most about and Distributed it to Hundreds of Candidates Running for City Council and City Office.

The Questionnaire, on Rock the Vote’s Website, garnered over 8,800 Unique Visits.

Almost 40,000 Young Voters received Text Messages from GenVote NYC reminding them to Vote and providing them with Nonpartisan Candidate Info.

Generation Vote NYC is looking forward to Expanding the Program in 2018.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Different Types of Primary Elections

It has been brought to my attention, the definition of Primaries, need a review.

Primaries first began in the early twentieth century as a response to increasingly strong Party Control over Elections. At the time, Voters wanted a larger say in who would be chosen as their Candidate, instead of the long-standing tradition of Party Bosses choosing who would run for Office. Progressive Reformers viewed Direct Primaries as a way for Constituencies to increase Transparency and allow for Citizens to Participate in the Electoral Process. As Primaries became a feature of Local, State, and eventually National Elections, each Municipality had the Ability to Shape their own Process.

Today, most systems fall under two Broad Categories: Partisan and Nonpartisan Primaries, with variations falling under each.

Partisan Elections

Partisan Primary Elections are, by their very nature, Elections which Select a Candidate based on their Party Affiliation. Most States have utilized a Partisan Primary for much of the Nation’s History. When Primary Elections became Popular, what developed was a process in which each Major Political Party held “Mini-Elections” prior to the General Election to see who would Represent their Party. What differed in these Mini-Elections was generally who could participate, a standard that was set by each State. These processes include: Closed, Open (Partisan), semi-Closed, and Partisan Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).

Closed Partisan Primary

Closed Primary systems are only Open to those that are Registered with a Major Political Party. Therefore, a Democrat may Vote in the Democratic Primary, Republicans may Vote in the Republican Primary, but Unaffiliated, “Decline-to-State”, and Minor Party Voters are denied participation. While some groups have challenged Closed Primaries over the right to “not affiliate with any party,” Courts have held that Closed Primaries are constitutional. States that have a closed Primary include: Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. New York has one of the Strictest Closed Primaries in the Country, Voters who change their Affiliation, must claim an Association almost a Year before the Actual Vote.

The Affiliation Requirement stems from one of the main difficulties of Closed Primaries: a fear that Primaries could be “raided” by Outsiders who might seek to influence the Primary Election so a weaker Candidate ends up running against their preferred choice in the General Election.

Closed Primaries, however, vary in other States. In New Jersey, Voters can Declare the Day of an Election. However, both systems of a Closed Primary have been challenged in the Court. Plaintiffs claimed that the Right to Vote under the Fourteenth Amendment should not be predicated on the Voter giving up their Right not to Affiliate with a Political Party. The Supreme Court though has upheld the Constitutionality of a Closed Primary to date.

Semi-Closed Partisan Primary

The main difference between Semi-Closed and Closed Primaries is that Semi-Closed Primaries allow a Party to Choose whether or not to allow Non-Members to Vote. However, this system still requires Voters not Registered with one of the Major Parties to Change Party Affiliation to Participate in Primary Elections. Voters are often given an Extended Amount of Time to Change Registration after Voting, some States up to Election Day.

While some States require that All Political Parties have the same method, other States like Utah allow the Party to pick their Primary Election process. Therefore, Republicans have a Closed Primary and Democrats Open theirs up to Non-Democrat voters. In Idaho, Parties can select to Open or close their Primary, but Voters are required to Vote in the Next Election with that Party Affiliation.
Semi-Closed Primaries are lauded by some for “Allowing” Unaffiliated and Minor Party Voters Full Participation in the Political process. Some Opponents, however, argue that allowing these Constituencies to Vote will Dilute the Preference of Party Members. Advocates of Nonpartisan Reform argue that requiring Independent or Third Party Voters to Change their Affiliation to Participate Violates their First Amendment Right of Non-Association because their Ability to Participate is Conditioned on the Parties' Permission. Twelve States with Semi-Closed Primaries: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, and West Virginia, and some allow Voters to Register or Change Party Preference on Election Day

Open Partisan Primary

Open Partisan Primary Elections allow Voters to Vote in the Partisan Ballot of their Choice. Nineteen States: Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming use Open Primaries. In these States: Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wyoming, Voters must state Publicly their Affiliation at the Polling Place to Vote. Voters may select from the Republican or Democratic Ballot.

Recently, the Democratic Party of Hawaii (DHP) challenged the Open Primary system in Hawaii, arguing that Open Primaries place a severe Burden on its First Amendment Right of Association and the Ability to “limit its association to people who share its views.”
A Federal District Court Ruled against the Plaintiffs and upheld the State’s Primary System. While the DHP believes that Crossover Voting can spoil the Candidate Selection Process of a Private Organization, the Court said they Filed a Lawsuit only on the assumption that this could happen instead of presenting Evidence that it was happening. The Court could not make a Ruling based on an assumption.

In may States, their Primary Ballot also contains Party Elections for Party Officials, Local and State Committee Members, and Presidential Electors. In this case, I recommend they print Two Ballots. One for Party Members and the other for Non-Party Members with out Party Elections.

Instant Runoff Voting

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is aimed at encouraging Candidates to reach out to a Broader Constituency and can work in both Partisan and Nonpartisan Elections. In this Voting system, Voters are allowed to Rank Candidates in Order of Preference. They are not required to Rank all the Candidates, usually three or four. How IRV works: if a Majority, set by State Law, is achieved on the First Count, the Election is over and the Majority Candidate Wins outright. However, if that is not the case, the Candidate who receives the fewest First Choice Rankings is Eliminated. Then, all Ballots are Re-Tabulated, with each Ballot Counting for One Vote for the Highest-Ranked Candidate who has not been Eliminated. Therefore, Voters who had the Last Place Candidate now have their Votes Count for their Second Choice. The Weakest Candidates are Eliminated successively, with each New Tabulation including their Next Choice that is listed. Once the Field is Reduced to Two, the Candidate with the Most Votes will Win the Election.

Proponents of this system argue that it allows for Better Voter Choice and Wider Participation by allowing Multiple Candidates in a Race. However, some Opponents argue that it doesn’t allow for Voters to fully Weigh their choices, arguing that a Straight-Up Runoff in an Election might allow less Popular Candidates an Opportunity for Greater Exposure among the Electorate and it would take time for the Voters to make their Decision. I approve of RCV and in New York City would reduce the High Cost of current Run-Off Elections with Very Low Turnout.

A Form of IRV was first used in 1912 in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The Appeal of this system increased in the past Two Decades. Since 2000 alone, over 20 State Legislatures considered Bills that would implement IRV, including Maine, Alaska, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, and Louisiana. Even the U.S. Congress introduced a Bill to Study this process in early 2003. Some Cities, such as Minneapolis, Oakland, and San Francisco, allow RCV or Instant Runoff Voting.

The process was most recently promoted in New York City, that uses it for Mayor, Public Advocate, and Comptroller, after a separate Runoff Election in the Democratic Primary for Public Advocate cost the City $13 Million. After the Election, which was both Costly and had an extremely Low Voter Turnout, Legislation was introduced in the State Legislature to Implement IRV. Recently, there is discussion about approaching the New York City Council to change the City Charter to RCV for these positions.

Nonpartisan Elections

Nonpartisan Primaries operate as one Election, where all Voters and Candidates participate on a Single Ballot. California, Washington State, and Louisiana which only Votes once in November, are currently the only States to adopt some form of Top-Two system, but there are other types of Nonpartisan Reform that differ in the amount of candidates that Move on to the Second Election.

Top-Two Primary

A Top-Two Nonpartisan Primary system, like the systems in California and Washington State, is a Two Stage system where all Candidates, regardless of Party Affiliation, appear on the Same Ballot. Parties do not hold their own Primaries and if they do, it is done outside the Public Election System. The Top-Two Vote getters move on to the General Election. Louisiana has a similar system, but if a candidate gets over 50% of the Vote in the first stage, he or she Wins the Election outright.

Supporters of Top-Two Primaries argue that not only does the system give Equal Access to the Ballot for Voters and Candidates, it results in more Robust Competition, especially in Districts that are purely Dominated by One Party.

Steve Peace, a former Democratic State Legislator in California, Authored the State’s Top-Two Initiative, Proposition 14, which was Approved by Voters in 2010. Peace believes this system helps Politicians act in the State’s Best Interest because candidates must Appeal to a Broader Base of the Electorate instead of a Small, Partisan base.

However, critics of the system in California lambasted Top-Two, claiming that the increased Threshold to get on the Ballot, No Write-In Candidates, in the first place ensured that Minor Party and Independent Candidates had less of chance to appear on the General Election Ballot.

Top-Four Primary

A Top-Four Primary is another option for Nonpartisan Primaries, but it differs from Top-Two by increasing the amount of Candidates that move on to the General Election. After the First Round of Voting, the Electorate Votes for their First Choice. The General Election then has the Names of the Top Four Vote Getters. I like this method, but would take the Top-Two and then use a % of the Vote as a Qualify for who would move on to the General Election. The % of Vote should be defined by the State.

RCV for General Election

If IRV is added in the General election, Voters would Rank a First, Second, Third, and maybe Forth choices. Then using the RCV process, will repeat the count Top Two choices. The Candidate with the Majority in that Round is Elected.

While Nonpartisan Primaries are increasingly being considered around the U.S., Proposals are generally limited to the Top-Two process. Colorado, however, is proposing a more Radical System that includes a Variation of the Top-Four system.

The Proposal would allow the Top-Four Candidates to Advance, as well as anyone with 3% of the Vote in the First Round. Ryan Ross, who is the main force behind this New Proposal, believes that this system would allow for Multiple Democrats, Multiple Republicans, and maybe some Independents and Third Party Candidates to Advance to the General Election.

The Unified Primary

A Unified Primary is a New System being proposed in Oregon to combine the Top-Two Primary system with Approval Voting, which allows Voters to Select One or More Candidates on the Ballot, but does not use a Ranking System. While only the Top-Two Vote getters will Advance to the General Election, Approval Voting ensures that the Widest Consensus of the Population will support the Candidates who Advance to the Final Stage of the Election.

The Initiative is being Spearheaded by Entrepreneur Mark Frohnmayer, who argues that “compared to other primary systems, the ‘Unified Primary’ is Less restrictive for voters because it does not limit them to selecting only one candidate in a field of many, and it does not Limit them to selecting only from only one party’s candidates.”

I would want a Primary system that lets me pick the Candidates I support regardless of Political Party on One Ballot. Then use RCV in the General Election so there is no need for a second Run-Off Election.

If you were looking at States Budgets and the Cost to Voters, the best system would be Louisiana's but add RCV. There is No Primaries, all Candidates are on the Ballot, and there is ONE Election. The Parties could have separate Party Elections at their own Cost.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Nebraska Regulators Approve Alternative Route for Keystone XL Pipeline

Nebraska Regulators on Monday allowed the Keystone XL Oil pipeline to clear its final major hurdle, granting a Victory to President Trump and Republicans who have for years pressed for the Project. But the Pipeline company will not be allowed to Build along its Preferred Route, the Regulators announced, opening up new Questions about how the Project will Proceed.

Monday’s decision came just four days after another Pipeline operated by the same Company spilled 210,000 Gallons of Oil in neighboring South Dakota, blackening a swath of Rural grassland. Opponents of Keystone XL said that Episode underscored the Risks of Crude Oil Pipelines. But under Nebraska Law, the State Public Service Commission is not allowed to consider Pipeline Safety and Spill Risks when deciding on a Permit.

Nebraska emerged more than seven years ago as an unlikely Center of Opposition to Keystone XL, which would run more than 1,100 Miles from Alberta, Canada, to Southern Nebraska and connect there with existing Pipelines. Permits and Land-Use Easements have long been in place along the Pipeline’s Route through Canada, Montana, and South Dakota, leaving Nebraska as the last Major obstacle to Construction.

Supporters of Keystone XL, including many Labor Unions and Business groups, have called the Pipeline an Economic necessity that would bring more North American Oil to market, Create Jobs and provide a Safer alternative to Transporting Oil by Rail or Truck.

But the number of Jobs will be small, and this Oil would not be sold in the U.S. as it will go to the Tax Free Zone in Texas, then sold to other Countries, and because of the Fee Tax Zone the U.S. will not receive any Export Tax income.

The Opponents in Nebraska, a Bipartisan Coalition of Landowners, Native Americans, and Environmentalists, stalled the Pipeline during Obama’s Presidency by forcing a Route Change and then tying up the Project in Court. They questioned the Project’s Economic Merits and said it posed a grave Threat to their State’s Groundwater and Farmland.

President Obama eventually denied a Border-Crossing Permit in 2015, citing Climate change, but President Trump reversed that Decision this year. Trump was quoted at the time saying that he believed “Nebraska will be good” and that he would call Gov. Pete Ricketts, a fellow Republican who supports the Pipeline. But the Permitting Decision fell not to Ricketts but to the Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC), an Elected Panel of Four Republicans and one Democrat that Functions in relative obscurity and Regulates the State’s Pipelines, Electric Lines, and Telecommunications. That Commission considered Arguments at a multiday hearing in Lincoln in August that was preceded by a Large Anti-Pipeline Protest outside the Nebraska Capitol.

An interesting point is the Pipeline could have started in the U.S. without the State Department and the Presidential Approval.

The pipeline Company, TransCanada, said in its written Arguments that the Project was safe and a Potential Economic boon for Nebraska, noting that about 90% of Landowners along the Route had already Signed Easements allowing for Construction. Company Officials said that “if Keystone XL truly impacted the future use of land, it would be expected that a far greater number than 10 percent of landowners would not have agreed” to Easements.

But Lawyers for a group of about 90 Holdout Landowners pleaded against the Permit and Predicted that “the pipeline with its sludge inside” could eventually be Abandoned and “waste in Nebraska’s soil until landowners left with the mess are required to remove it.”

“The rental value of nearby Nebraska real estate will be depressed by the pipeline’s presence,” Lawyers for the Landowners wrote. “It causes long-term operating efficiency losses for farm and ranch operators. The land will be permanently impaired.”

Some have questioned whether there would still be enough Interest among Oil Shippers to support the Pipeline, but TransCanada reiterated its support of the Project in early November. “We anticipate commercial support for the project to be substantially similar to that which existed when we first applied for a Keystone XL pipeline permit,” a Company Statement said.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Lawmakers Say Race-Based Redistricting Imposed on NC Against Its Will

Lawmakers and the Challengers of Maps proposed for Electing North Carolina’s General Assembly Members waited until the 11th hour to respond to Districts suggested by an Unaffiliated Mapmaker. Lawmakers were critical of the Process, saying the Federal Judges who tapped a Stanford University Law Professor to draw Maps for them had done so Prematurely and allowed him to consider Race as he looked at Election Districts in Cumberland, Guilford, Hoke, Mecklenburg, Wake, Bladen, Sampson, and Wayne Counties.

The Three Federal Judges presiding over the Case that will determine what Districts North Carolina’s State Senate and House Members come from in the 2018 Elections have yet to Rule on Maps the Lawmakers adopted in August. The Judges, James Wynn of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Catherine Eagles and Thomas Schroeder, both of the U.S. Middle District of North Carolina, Ordered New Lines after the U.S. Supreme Court Affirmed their Ruling last year that found 28 of the State Legislative Districts were longstanding Unconstitutional Racial Gerrymanders.

With North Carolina Elections set for next year, and the Filing Period for Candidates opening in February, the Judges have laid out a Schedule that attempts to have Court Rulings on the New Maps in place to meet the 2018 Election Schedule. To help with the Process, the Judges tapped Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University Law Professor, to show them how Districts could be Drawn in Eight Counties to alleviate their concerns that some of the Districts might be designed to Weaken the Influence of Black Voters.

Phil Strach, the Raleigh-based Attorney representing Lawmakers, contends the Judges were Premature in Appointing a “Special Master,” Unaffiliated with either Party, as their Mapmaker. “Judges do not issue provisional sentences before a defendant is found guilty,” Strach stated in the Lawmakers’ response to the Mapmaker submitted shortly before the Midlight Deadline Friday. “(J)uries do not make provisional damages awards before adjudicating liability; and courts do not craft provisional remedies before finding a constitutional violation.”

“Those kinds of anticipatory remedial proceedings are alien to our legal system not only because of the presumption of innocence that applies across all legal contexts, but also because of the fundamental unfairness that would result from forcing a defendant to expend resources helping to craft an anticipatory judicial remedy for a wrong that has not even been proven to exist,” Strach added.
Strach also contends that Maps drawn by Persily appear to rely on Racial Data when Republican Leaders have said Thomas Hofeller, their Mapmaker, did not consider Racial Data in the Drawing of the 2017 Lines.

New Election District Maps were adopted in August, almost three months after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that Districts used to Elect General Assembly Members in 2012, 2014, and 2016 included 28 Unconstitutional Racial Gerrymanders. The Election Maps packed Black Voters, who often vote Democratic, into Districts where their Candidates already were likely to be successful. By doing that, the Courts found, the overall Influence of Black Voters had been Weakened in North Carolina.

The Maps have helped Republicans in North Carolina, often considered a Swing State in National Elections. Republicans dominate both Chambers of the General Assembly, holding 35 of the 50 Senate Seats and 75 of the 120 House Seats after Rep. Bill Brisson of Dublin recently changed his Party Affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Their numbers allow them to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s Vetoes. It is unclear what impact Persily’s Maps would have on those numbers. The Lines could change before he gets them to the Judges in the next two weeks.

Strach contends the way Persily drew the Districts “imposes race-based redistricting on the state against its will.” He says the Lawmakers should get another chance to Draw the Lines. The Judges, frustrated by the slow pace with which Lawmakers were proceeding to change Election Lines stated: “The State is not entitled to multiple opportunities to remedy its unconstitutional districts.”
In their Order appointing Persily to help with the Mapmaking, the Judges said that some of the Districts in the 2017 Plan “preserve the core shape of the unconstitutional district, divide counties and municipalities along racial lines, and are less compact than their benchmark version. Strach said the judges provided no explanation or evidence to support their “concerns. Nor did the Court explain how the General Assembly’s use of incumbency and political data in drawing its proposed remedial districts ‘embedded, incorporated and perpetuated the impermissible use of race,’ ” Strach said.

The Challengers have argued in Court that just because the Lawmakers have said over and over that Race did not play a role in the Map Drawing, that doesn’t make it so. Some of the Districts in the 2017 Plan looked similar to Districts in the 2011 Maps, they argued. The Judges raised similar concerns amid questions of how the Lawmakers could correct Racial Gerrymanders without checking new Lines against Racial Data. “There is no precedent for authorizing racial sorting as a remedy for ‘correcting’ allegedly racially gerrymandered districts,” Strach stated in his response to Persily’s request for Feedback on his Maps.

The Challengers of the Lawmakers’ Maps offered suggested tweaks to the Districts presented earlier this week by Persily, but overall they said his Maps were a vast improvement to the ones approved by the General Assembly. Allison Riggs, an Attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and Edwin Speas, a Raleigh-based Attorney, said in their response to Persily that the Challengers have concluded his Plan “does remedy the constitutional flaws in the legislature’s 2017 enacted plan.”

The Lawyers who have represented the Challengers in the long-running Redistricting Disputes suggested Changes to Persily’s Districts in Guilford County, where incumbent Lawmakers from both Parties are “Double-Bunked,” or placed in Districts where they would have to compete with each other. The Republican Lawmakers who led the Redistricting Process in the General Assembly stated that one of their criteria was to protect Incumbent Lawmakers.

The Federal Judges said Persily could consider the Addresses of current Legislators in shaping his Lines, but doing so should not play a Greater Role than creating Lines that did away with any Racial Gerrymanders and other Unconstitutional Issues. In Guilford County, Black Democrat Amos Quick would be in the same District as White Republican Jon Hardister, the Challengers pointed out.
Democrat Pricey Harrison, a White Woman who often has the support of Black Voters, would be in a District with White Republican John Blust under Persily’s Draft Plan. Two House Districts in Guilford County would be left with No Incumbents under Persily’s Plans. If those District Lines were changed slightly, the Challengers said, Hardister and Quick could be in Districts where they would not Compete for the same Seat. They also suggest shifts of Lines in Two House Districts in Wake County that would not force Democrats Grier Martin and Cynthia Ball to Run against each other if they were both to seek Re-Election.

Strach used a Legal Argument that Challengers used in protesting Persily’s District Lines, saying the Professor had created Maps that unnecessarily changed Districts in the middle of the decade, violating the State Constitution. Strach contends that the Federal Judges and Persily do not have Jurisdiction to consider the State Constitutional claim. Strach said the process ordered by the Judges and used by Persily “defies precedent, ignores state sovereignty, and imposes race-based redistricting on the state against its will.”

Persily has until Dec. 1st to get his Maps to the Federal Judges. He could hold Public Hearings on his Plans but has not Scheduled any yet.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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