Blood and ballots: African-Americans’ battle for the vote in WNC

REGISTRATION: In its Sept. 28, 1867 publication Harper's Weekly included this engraving, titled: "Registration at the South--Scene at Asheville, North Carolina." Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina

The history of the African-American vote in Western North Carolina is “a long and tangled thing,” says Dr. Dan Pierce, history professor at UNC-Asheville.

African-American men first exercised their right to vote in the 1868 election. While their numbers were not high in Western North Carolina, Pierce notes, the state’s white party affiliation was evenly divided, which put the Republican Party at a distinct advantage, as former slaves heavily favored the party of Lincoln.

The possibility that the state’s Democratic stronghold would go to the Republican Party led to “fears of the elections turning violent,” says Dr. Steven E. Nash, assistant professor of history at East Tennessee State University. These fears quickly manifested in bloodshed.

THE HISTORIANS: Dr. Dan Pierce (left) teaches at UNC Asheville; Dr. Stevene E. Nash is based in Weaverville, but teaches at East Tennessee State University. His book, "Reconstruction's Ragged Edge," was published earlier this year.
THE HISTORIANS: Dr. Dan Pierce (left) teaches at UNC Asheville; Dr. Steven E. Nash is based in Weaverville, but teaches courses at East Tennessee State University. His book, “Reconstruction’s Ragged Edge,” was published earlier this year. Photos by Audrey Keelin Photography (left); East Tennessee State University’s Division of University Relatoins

This history continues to shape North Carolina’s political landscape. Most recently it played a role in the federal appeals court decision to strike down the state’s voter identification law. In the unanimous decision by its three judges —  Diana Motz, James A. Wynn Jr. and Henry F. Floyd — the court writes, “Examination of North Carolina’s history of race discrimination and recent patterns of official discrimination, combined with the racial polarization of politics in the state, seems particularly relevant in this inquiry.” Within the same 83-page document, Motz adds, “Unquestionably, North Carolina has a long history of race discrimination generally and race-based vote suppression in particular.”

In Nash’s recent book, Reconstruction’s Ragged Edge: The Politics of Postwar Life in the Southern Mountains (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), the historian chronicles the political and social struggles that arose in Western North Carolina in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. Nash argues that there remains a significant gap in our understanding of this history. When the Civil War began in 1861, African-Americans made up roughly 10 percent of the mountain counties’ populations. “That fact,” writes Nash, “led many popular observers and historians to conclude that the region was less committed to slavery, hence less devoted to the Confederacy and finally, less affected by emancipation.”

Both Nash and Pierce concur that this is far from the case — that racial tension filled the valleys and mountains of Western North Carolina before, during and after the Civil War, leading to intimidation, violence, murder and eventually the disenfranchisement of the African-American vote. This issue would not be rectified until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, before again finding its way back into the national conversation following the initial passing and subsequent invalidation of North Carolina’s voter ID law.

‘The hotbed of rebellion’

A series of surrenders in the spring of 1865 led to the end of the Civil War. The 13th Amendment, which freed the slaves, was ratified by the states on Dec. 6 of that year. Over the next five years, the 14th and 15th Amendments would be ratified. The former granted citizenship to the recently freed slaves, while the latter gave black male citizens the right to vote.

Tension mounted leading up to the gubernatorial and Constitutional Election of 1868. The Reconstruction Act had been passed the previous year, converting all the former Confederate states into military districts. The Freedmen’s Bureau, a government agency, was brought in to help the South adjust from slave to paid labor. One of its members, Oscar Eastmond, deemed Asheville “the hot-bed of rebellion in this section of the state,” following an attack on members of Asheville’s Union League, a Northern organization cultivating loyalty to the Union and the Republican Party, which spread throughout the South following the war. The attack was carried out by Southern Democrats (who at that time identified as conservatives).

THE KU KLUX KLAN: The white supremacy group was first reported in Western North Carolina in 1868. This photo, taken in 1922, shows members of the organization with members of the Asheville police and fire departments.
THE KU KLUX KLAN: The white supremacy group was first reported in Western North Carolina in 1868. This photo, taken in 1922, shows members of the organization with members of the Asheville police and fire departments. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville

By April of 1868, the Ku Klux Klan was reported in the region. Its members, writes Nash, “permeated the conservative-controlled courts and local law enforcement.” The historian adds that conservatives embraced the organization out of a sense of “powerlessness and racial alarm.”

Much of this worry stemmed from the rhetoric of such prominent conservative leaders as North Carolina’s former Civil War-years governor, Zebulon Vance. In a party meeting in Rutherford County, Vance gave a three-hour speech during which, Nash writes, Vance urged his listeners to “defend their white skin. … To oppose the integration of the militia, to denounce social equality as black supremacy, and to save their children from the indignity of integrated schools.”

Escalating tensions

Such alarm predictably led to violence against blacks, as well as whites who supported equal rights. While Nash writes of numerous accounts throughout  the region, in conversation he highlights two events that took place in Asheville.

“Virgil Lusk was a white man from Buncombe County,” Nash says. “He was a lawyer who volunteered and served as a Confederate cavalryman during the war.” After the war, however, Lusk became a Republican. “This made him a ‘scalawag,’” Nash continues, “which is somewhat of a derisive term that white Southerners gave to other white Southerners who became Republicans.”

As solicitor of the 12th Judicial District, Lusk would challenge the Klan, making several enemies in the process. One such foe was former Confederate, Klan member and founder of the Asheville Citizen, Randolph A. Shotwell.

ON THE GO: This photo's date is unknown, but it is believed to have been taken somewhere between 1900-1910. hoto courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina
ON THE GO: This photo’s date is unknown, but it is believed to have been taken somewhere between 1900-1910. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina

In 1869 Shotwell chastised Lusk in the public square (Pack Square) for his accusations against the white supremacy group, raising a rattan cane and dealing numerous blows to the solicitor’s head and back. Lusk fell to the ground as Shotwell continued to beat him. Lusk managed to pull out his .32-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol, shooting Shotwell in the leg. “It’s this big local event,” says Nash, adding that Shotwell would go on to be “one of the few Klansmen in the South that [went] to federal jail.”

The Asheville Riot of 1868 marks another significant event in the city’s history. On Nov. 3 of that year, James Smith, a black resident, was denied the right to vote by a white county clerk on account of a previous criminal record. “Following the exchange of heated words and a brief altercation, angry blacks and whites took to the streets, waving clubs and voicing their discontent with the other side,” writes Nash.

The exact cause of the escalation remains unclear. Nash cites historians who attribute it to an altercation between Smith (a Republican) and a fellow African-American named Silas, who had voted conservative. Court testimonies assert that Smith threw a rock at Silas. Whites came to Silas’ side, hoisting guns and taking aim from nearby storefronts.

By the time the final shot rang out, Smith was dead. Eighteen other African-Americans were wounded, as were two whites. A letter written by Harriet Jones, daughter of Congressman Alexander H. Jones (who coincidentally had been housing Smith until his death), attributed the violence to the Klan.

Double-edged effect

Amid this violence and unrest, the Republican Party managed to win the election. William Holden was elected governor. The victory, Nash notes, had a double-edged effect. In one sense, it showed intimidation could not deter the will of the people. But it also led national policymakers to view the Republican win as evidence that congressional Reconstruction had worked. The Freedmen’s Bureau agents were ordered to leave North Carolina by Jan. 1, 1869.

Without the agency’s presence, the Klan became a prominent force throughout the state. On Feb. 26, 1870, Wyatt Outlaw, a black Republican, was found dead, hanging from a tree outside the Alamance County Courthouse. Three months later, John W. Stephens, a white Republican, was stabbed to death in the Caswell County Courthouse. Between 1868 and  1872 there were over 100 whippings of African-Americans in Rutherford County alone.

Yet the Rutherford Western Vindicator, much like the Raleigh Daily Sentinel, denied the very existence of the Klan. Nash writes that both papers accused “the Republican victims of fabricating stories of violence for political purposes.”

That same year, Democrats regained control of the legislature. By 1871 Gov. Holden was impeached, a result of fallout from his mobilization of the state’s militia against the Klan. In 1876, Zebulon Vance returned to his former position as governor.

It wouldn’t be until the 1898 election, however, that the Democrats began their white supremacy campaign, referring to themselves as the “white man’s party.” Following the Democratic victory, new voting laws were put into place. “But because of the 15th Amendment,” says Pierce, “they couldn’t just disenfranchise black voters, so they had to find a way to do it.” Pierce points out this was done primarily through the poll tax and literacy tests.

‘The South is the best place in the world for a decent negro to make a decent living”

In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of “separate but equal.” The case marks the start of what is known as the Jim Crow era in the South. In the decades that followed, African-Americans would not fare well.

In North Carolina, the black population steadily dropped. Immediately after the Civil War, African-Americans constituted a third of the state’s overall population. By 1940, the number was down to 27.5 percent. In 1900 there were 18 black majority counties; by 1940, this number fell to nine. A Chatham County study conducted in the 1920s showed that the average annual income of 102 black tenants was $257; comparable statistics revealed an average white tenant’s income was $626.

LIFE IN THE MOUNTAINS: A woman and child sit on their Western NC home, circa 1899. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina
LIFE IN THE MOUNTAINS: A woman and child sit on the front porch of their Western North Carolina home, circa 1899. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville

Black citizens faced many health issues. In A History of African Americans in North Carolina, by Jeffrey J. Crow, Paul D. Escott and Flora J. Hatley, the historians write that in 1940, black “deaths from tuberculosis, syphilis, and malaria were one-and-one-half times as great as whites’ deaths from the same diseases.” Crow, Escott and Flora go on to note that there was “one white physician for every 1,127 white persons, but only one black physician for every 6,499 black persons.”

Housing was yet another need. The historians write that a 1939–40 report showed that “80 percent of black families lived in substandard housing, and two thirds of black households earned less than $800 per year.”

These factors influenced the large number of African-Americans who left the state. A 1919 Department of Labor report quotes one migrant who left for Iowa, who noted that there were better educational opportunities in the North, as well as better wages, shorter hours and “the privilege of voting.”

Problems arose with the departure of so many of the state’s residents. In 1916, 87 percent of the state’s counties reported labor shortages. In 1920, Governor Thomas Bickett addressed the General Assembly, proclaiming that the state would welcome back 25,000 African-Americans. “[T]he South is the best place in the world for a decent negro to make a decent living,” the governor said. He went on to note, however, that the state was not interested in “negroes [who] have become tainted or intoxicated with dreams of social equality or of political dominion … for in the South such things are forever impossible.”

Five years later, Bickett’s successor, Governor Angus W. McLean, addressed a crowd at the Negro State Fair. During this speech he chided, “There is no longer a real race problem in the South. It exists only in the minds of those, white and colored, who are seeking selfish advancement; who are trying to intimidate others, and have no better weapon than the cowardly appeal to racial prejudice and racial antipathy.”

One hundred years later

Boycotts against segregation began as early as the 1930s. Historians Crow, Escott and Hatley write that in 1932, black ministers in Raleigh refused to attend the dedication ceremony of the new War Memorial Auditorium, on account of the small section of the balcony blacks were confined to. In Greensboro in 1938, black citizens boycotted theaters.

School boycotts began in the 1940s, with the help of the NAACP. The 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education put an end to segregation in public schools (although Crow, Escott and Hatley note, “Complete desegregation of North Carolina’s public schools did not occur until the 1970s”).

By the 1960s, North Carolina students adopted civil disobedience as a way to protest segregation in public facilities. The F. W. Woolworth in Greensboro took center stage on Feb. 1, 1960, when four black students from North Carolina A&T College sat at the lunch counter at the five-and-dime. The students remained at the counter until the store closed without being offered service. Crow, Escott and Hatley write, “This action by the four Greensboro students is generally credited with being the opening salvo of the sit-in movement of the early 1960s.”

On Aug. 6, 1965, 100 years after the Civil War, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act. It put an end to the very laws that had disenfranchised black voters at the turn of the century.

Between 1965 and 2013, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act prohibited North Carolina — along with six other Southern states that had used literacy tests and other voting impediments — from making any changes to its statewide voting laws without first gaining approval from either a federal court or the Department of Justice.

On June 25, 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court ruled that the supervision dictated by Section 5 imposed an unconstitutional intrusion on state autonomy. The following day, the North Carolina state legislature moved forward with what would become the voter ID law. In it, early voting was reduced from 17 to 10 days; same-day registration, as well as provisional ballots for those voting at the wrong precinct, were eliminated.

Three years later, the law was struck down in federal court. Among the 4th Circuit’s findings was that members of the General Assembly “requested and received a breakdown by race of DMV-issued ID ownership, absentee voting, early voting, same-day registration, and provisional voting (which includes out-of-precinct voting).” The court goes on to write, “This data revealed that African-Americans disproportionately used early voting, same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting, and disproportionately lacked DMV-issued ID.”

The 4th Circuit further contends that “The record reveals that, within the time period that the district court found free of ‘official discrimination’ (1980 to 2013), the Department of Justice issued over fifty objection letters to proposed election law changes in North Carolina — including several since 2000 — because the State had failed to prove the proposed changes would have no discriminatory purpose or effect.”

Within its ruling, the 4th Circuit notes that its assessment does not deem any member of the General Assembly as harboring “racial hatred or animosity toward any minority group.” However, according to the ruling, the law did target voters based on race; regardless of whether or not this was done for partisan ends, it still constituted racial discrimination.

Differing opinions

Opinions on the ruling remain hotly contested. Jay DeLancy, founding member of Voter Integrity Project, based out of Raleigh, argues that the law’s repeal opens the door to voter fraud in the upcoming election.

Anita Earls, executive director at Southern Coalition for Social Justice, disagrees. She cites the 4th Circuit’s finding that the state “failed to identify even a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.”

OPPOSING PERSPECTIVES: Retired lieutenant colonel, Jay DeLancy (left) founded Voter Integrity Project in 2011. Anita Earls is executive director at Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
OPPOSING VIEWS: Retired lieutenant colonel, Jay DeLancy (left) founded Voter Integrity Project in 2011. Anita Earls is executive director at Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

In an email follow-up, DeLancy writes, “Voter impersonation fraud is the perfect crime, since there is no way to detect it unless the crook is VERY unlucky and happens to get caught by both an observer who knows the person is lying about his/her name AND by an election employee who cares.”

DeLancy goes on to cite the November 2015 conviction of Pasco Parker, a former resident of Lake Lure, as evidence of how easy it is to register and vote in multiple states. In 2012, Parker voted three times in the general election. Two of those votes were cast through absentee ballots (in North Carolina and Florida), while the third was an in-person vote in Tennessee. Parker, who is white, pleaded guilty, receiving two years’ probation.

“It seems to me the fact that he was convicted in the first place, shows the system works,” Earls maintains.

DeLancy argues the conviction took three years, and that the crime itself is a Class I felony. “It’s such a low-level felony,” says DeLancy. “Rarely does anyone ever prosecute [it].”

Earls points out that, within the former voter ID law, absentee voting was exempt from the photo ID requirement. That means Parker would have been able to commit the crime whether or not the law was in place. The 4th Circuit noted this issue in its report, along with many other issues. Unlike early voting, same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting, which were all disproportionately used by African-Americans, the court highlighted that the General Assembly’s data showed absentee ballots were disproportionately used by white voters.

DeLancy maintains that eyewitnesses have brought forward other accounts of voter fraud. “Either all these fine, upstanding citizens are pathological liars, or they just realize their hands are tied and nobody cares and the legislators won’t do anything about it. Voter ID is the only way to prevent it. We have a system that is fraud-friendly that’s designed in such a way that detection is difficult and prosecution is impossible.”

In his email follow-up, DeLancy continues, “The problem is that nobody has yet created a way to measure a crime that goes on [with lots of eyewitnesses] but without an evidence collection method that would meet probable cause. In short, the academics cannot see the fraud because their instrumentation [or measurement method] is inadequate. To then claim that the thing they were looking for ‘does not exist’ is a logical fallacy. Carl Sagan summed it up as this: ‘The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.’”

Earls insists in-person fraud “defies logic.” She points to the fact that impostors would need to know not only a person’s name, but their address and what precinct they vote in. “If you’re going to try and impact an election, absentee ballot fraud is a much more effective way.”

Does common ground exist?

Both DeLancy and Earls agree that North Carolina needs to prioritize its values. In DeLancy’s opinion, fraud deserves just as much attention as disenfranchisement. “There needs to be a balance between those two and there is none. You’ve got zero percent toward anything preventing fraud and 100 percent toward [preventing] anything that would cause disenfranchisement.”

Earls agrees that these considerations are important, but asks, “Who should be able to vote who won’t be able to, in the pursuit of further deterring the one or two people who commit in-person voter fraud?… I’m all for making [elections] better, but I want to make them better in a different way — by making sure that everyone who wants to vote is able to vote by making it easy and convenient. I think we can do that while still making elections secure and accurate.

“I think that it’s fine to ask people if they have an ID,” continues Earls. “Because the vast majority of us do have them. That isn’t the problem. … The [problem] is what do you do about someone who doesn’t have an ID? I say, you let them vote anyway, and have them sign the paper saying they are who they say they are. I think that’s a reasonable compromise.”

A future verdict

In the 4th Circuit’s repeal of the voter ID law, Motz wrote, “Because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.”

Like the debate surrounding the law itself, however, opinions on what future generations will think of the case vary.

“I think it’ll be part of the context of the history of the battle for political power in this state,” says  Pierce. “It’s about staying in power and using every means that you can.”

“Historically, we’re not in possession of everything,” says Nash. “We don’t have the advantage of seeing the correspondents. We don’t have the documents that are all behind the scenes. … As a historian that’s always a caveat. But what came out of the decision from the federal bench certainly appears to be damning.”

DeLancy worries less about posterity’s assessment, and more about the potential threat that he considers inevitable if voter fraud continues. “The logical conclusion to voter fraud is totalitarian government. That’s it. … We’re going to wake up one day with a government that’s totally stolen. And people like me, who tried to tell them what would happen, will either be laughed at or [they’ll] haul us off to concentration camps.”

Earls isn’t sure what the future holds. She can only speak to the past. And the more recent past, she notes, suggests promise. “I’ve been doing voting rights work for almost 30 years now. The kind of protests at the legislature, when the bill was being contested and passed, with students in the gallery with tape across their mouths, with people at the Moral Monday protest willing to be arrested and articulating the reasons they were willing to be arrested … I haven’t seen that level of personal commitment so broadly across an electoral state the whole time I’ve been doing this work.

“It’s a sign of the time,” she continues, “that there’s a real strong feeling about the importance to partake in elections and to protect the right to vote.”


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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70 thoughts on “Blood and ballots: African-Americans’ battle for the vote in WNC

  1. Negrodamus

    What a crap, one-sided article. Voter ID doesn’t infringe voter rights anymore than showing an ID to the bank teller infringes cash checking rights.

    WNC and E TN have a very interesting civil war history. They leaned union (but not exclusively) because mountain folk for the most part weren’t interested in spilling their blood for the sake of lowland aristocrats.

    • Negrodamus

      OK I take the “crap, one-sided” comment back. A little harsh. And there is some balance. An emotional reaction on my part.

    • I find it ironic that Democrats were raising hell over the photo ID for voting, because it “might” disenfranchise a few Democrat voters, (disclaimer, I do not feel you should have to show an ID to merely exercise any right) yet these same folks will vote for the one person who HAS disenfranchised millions of Democrat voters. I give you, Queen Hillary, who owned the super delegates that voted for her despite the choice of millions of Dems, and then she hired the DNC chair who had to quit when she got caught disenfranchising millions of Bernie voters. There is a letter to ed in the ACT for Thursday, about this, and none of the liberal there had an answer to that hypocrisy.

    • luther blissett

      “Voter ID doesn’t infringe voter rights anymore than showing an ID to the bank teller—”

      BZZT. No.

      Ari Berman for The Nation has been doing sterling work here. The implementation of Voter ID typically makes no allowances for people who lack birth certificates, people whose names have changed over the course of their lives, people whose names were mis-transcribed onto certificates either at the outset or during computerization of records, and so on. Most of those affected are African-American, but here’s another example:

      The NC GOP specifically sought out data on which forms of ID were most available to African-Americans and excluded them as options.

      There’s a fundamental dishonesty in how states ignore the legacy of their own vital records systems.

  2. Negrodamus

    “Anita Earls, executive director at Southern Coalition for Social Justice, disagrees. She cites the 4th Circuit’s finding that the state “failed to identify even a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.”

    This is such a straw man. If there’s no way to track who’s voting, there’s no way to prove who committed voter fraud.

  3. bsummers

    Everyone knows that the intent of the Voter ID law was to diminish turnout among Democratic-leaning constituencies, especially African-Americans. You didn’t need Don Yelton to come right out & say it. The fact that they specifically exempted absentee voting, which is used more by Republicans and whites than Democrats and blacks, is the giveaway.

    Barack Obama only won North Carolina by 14,000 votes in 2008. If Voter ID had been in place, he probably wouldn’t have. This is what it’s all about: shaving a few percentage points off of Democratic turnout. Thank goodness this abomination was struck down.

    Why do these people hate America?

    • Negrodamus

      “Everyone knows…”

      Argumentum ad populum logical fallacy.

      “If Voter ID had been in place, he probably wouldn’t have. ”

      Another fallacy. He could have lost because voter fraud was prevented.

      “Why do these people hate America?”

      Loaded question fallacy. You’re on a roll.

      • Peter Robbins

        The evidence of intentional racial discrimination by the North Carolina General Assembly is set forth in the Fourth Circuit decision. Everyone knows it. Everyone who read the decision, that is.

        • boatrocker

          Huh. my money was on another poster being Negrodamus’ secret identity, but oh well.
          Sock puppets always remind me of the frustration I felt reading Superman comics as a kid-
          “Look! Can’t you see Clark is obviously Superman? Yeah, he wears glasses, but they’re fake! Sputter sputter”.

        • The Real World

          The shtick is not nearly the same. However, I have noticed that a certain “sockpuppet” name has not published at all since I identified that shtick as yours a few months ago and you got wildly defensive. (Hhmm, he doth protest the loudest…..)

          Meanwhile, back to the topic:
          The Washington mall shooting suspect, who killed five women, may face a new investigation into his allegedly illegal voting history. A watchdog group claims the Turkish immigrant faked his voter registration and participated in several elections.

          A very long list of articles about Bernie voters getting shafted by HRC in Calif resulting in their Sec of State getting sued for the second time.

          Clean and fair elections, folks! Ain’t America grand?

          • bsummers

            a certain “sockpuppet” name has not published at all since I identified that shtick as yours a few months ago

            And I recall I reminded you about the repercussions of committing libel. I do not, and never have run sockpuppets. I post here, under my own identity, and that’s it.

  4. bsummers

    It’s hard to know how many people who still flog the Voter ID canard, actually believe it, versus cynical political types who know very well what the intent was, but just don’t care that real, honest Americans would have their voting rights hindered.

    I suppose that there are people gullible enough to believe that there are thousands of criminals out there who are willing to risk thousands of dollars in fines, and years in prison… just to cast one fraudulent vote. (“Busloads of them, paid for by George Soros… oh, the horror!”) It’s alluring to seize upon something scandalous and frightfully important, that no one can really disprove. Heck, part of me still believes I have a chance in the NBA.

    But the people behind it knew very well what they were up to. The absentee voting exemption is the giveaway.

    • Negrodamus

      “I suppose that there are people gullible enough to believe that there are thousands of criminals out there who are willing to risk thousands of dollars in fines, and years in prison… just to cast one fraudulent vote”

      It’s easy. Just show up and ask for a name that you know is registered and you will be allowed to vote as that person. There’s plenty of videos online showing people doing exactly this. If that registered person is dead, then there’s no risk of getting caught. Voter ID would prevent this kind of fraud.

          • bsummers

            Great, speaking of fraud… heeeeeeeere’s James O’Keefe!

            It’s a great fantasy, but when you ask yourself is anyone willing to risk a year in prison for every single fraudulent vote cast… any reasonable person will say ‘not a chance’. That’s why there’s no evidence of this ever happening – just a wet dream from a convicted liar.

          • Negrodamus

            Criminals in the DNC are not “reasonable persons”. Also go back and read the article. IT’s a low-level crime. Guy voted 3 times and got probation. Pay hundreds or thousands of criminals to do this and it’s little risk.

          • Negrodamus

            “there’s no evidence of this ever happening – just a wet dream from a convicted liar.”

            O-Keefe proved it’s easy to pull off and no one can ever know because there;s no voter ID to prove who voted. Like the article said – it’s the perfect crime.

            Democrats sure are fighting tooth-and-nail something that any reasonable person would say makes basic, good sense. IMO that’s because they’re terrified that their gig is up.

        • The Real World

          9/28/16 – The FBI and local police are investigating how at least 19 dead Virginians were recently re-registered to vote in this critical swing state.

          10/6/16 – Nine counties in Indiana are under investigation for voter fraud after it was discovered that hundreds of voter registrations contained some combination of fake names, addresses, and birth dates.

          Other states have been investigating voter fraud allegations. In Colorado and Virginia, dead people were found to be still listed as registered voters. In one instance in Colorado, a dead woman “voted” in multiple elections after her death.

          There’s more………..but, let’s not let facts get in the way.

  5. bsummers

    I’ve looked into the eyes of people who were too mean, stupid, or ignorant to understand how voting works in America. In 2012, when Christina Merrill was losing to Ellen Frost, thus keeping the County Commission in the hands of the Democratic majority of Buncombe County, the Board of Elections held a special meeting. At issue were 15 – 20 ballots cast by Warren Wilson College students. Not surprisingly, ol’ Jay DeLancey up there had a couple of suggestions for the Board:

    “An unpopular but prudent solution would either have been to let the students vote by absentee ballot from their home of record {thereby erasing their votes for Buncombe County Commission} or for the Buncombe County Board of Elections to count their ballots as “partials,” only applying their votes for the bigger races but not the problematic district ones {“problematic” ie: those pesky 18 votes keeping the minority Republicans from seizing control of the Buncombe County Commission}.”

    Out in the audience, a WWC student was having a discussion with a woman sitting in front of her, over whether college students should be allowed to vote at all. The young student said, “But you know it’s in the Constitution, right?” The older woman turned & said, “Sure, but we don’t lahk it!!”

    I asked her if she thought the WWC student ballots should be thrown out. She said, “That’s why we’re here.” I asked her if she was prepared to apply the same standard to Montreat College (conservative, Christian…), just up the road, in the same District. She just stared at me with loathing.

    Of course, they didn’t want to throw out the votes of the good kids. Just the lib’ral ones. This is the mentality behind the Voter ID law. Again, thank goodness that it was thrown out.

  6. Peter Robbins

    Let us not, in our outrage, be too quick to draw unfavorable historical comparisons. For our current Republican leaders — poor barefoot wretches — are but products of their time.

  7. It is sad the Democrats of the KKK days, who passed a lot of Jim Crow laws because they feared and hated blacks, have not changed at all. Today, they “aim” that hatred at any one who has the balls to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights, and elect officials who will pass laws that hinder the law abiding, and disarm the victims. Just like they did up to the 1960’s.

      • Negrodamus

        No, they just changed the form of oppression, i.e., make them dependent on government handouts. As LBJ (supposedly) said (I paraphrase): “I’ll have those n*****s voting Democrat for 200 years.”

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            Thanks for the opening. I’m a little tired of that name, so I’m going to change it.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            btw, that name was just an off-the-cuff experiment to see if it would trigger PC outrage, at which I would laugh because it’s a creation of the left.

          • Peter Robbins

            I’m sure Comedy Central will be relieved.

            Back to the topic. I believe you were explaining how the Voting Rights Act oppressed minorities and how, twenty minutes after being liberated from some of its strictures, the North Carolina General Assembly freed them through the Omnibus Voter Suppression Act. Tell us everything the Fourth Circuit got wrong.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            No I never touched on those topics.

            If by Fourth Circuit you mean the current nullification of the peoples’ will, that is simply a matter of judicial activism, ie, legislating from the bench.

          • Peter Robbins

            Now that was funny. Kinda funny. In a sick, twisted sort of way. I’ll pass it on to Mr. Mooney.

      • bwa hahahaa, you whine about repubs possibly disenfranchising a few dems (they did not, in 2013, more blacks voted than in a lot of previous ones) yet you will vote for a shrew who actually did disenfranchise millions of dem voters. bwa hahahaha, I can’t tell if you guys are hypocrites or suffer from cognitive disconnect.

    • boatrocker

      Man, this false argument is still being thrown out there? Everyone with access to a library card or old newspapers knows both parties flip flopped in terms of ideology after LBJ passed the Civil Rights and Voting laws in 64/65. Wallace? Remember him? How is this still being used as a talking point?

      Also, let’s not forget Gov Reagan who in 1968 passed numerous gun control laws in order to disarm all those pesky Black Power types. Strange the NRA doesn’t mention that more.

      The modern GOP is a far, far cry from the party of Lincoln.

      • It is easy to compare todays Democrats with yesterdays Democrats. Same bigots, they just have different law abiding citizens to violate the rights of. Those pos have not changed in the least, they just moved their aim. And today’s Repub acts an awful lot like a Democrat, in that we agree.

        Strange how the NRA makes no distinction between a pos gun grabber in either party.

        I guess fair and balanced is tough for a liberal to understand.

    • luther blissett

      “Today, they “aim” that hatred at any one who has the balls to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights”

      Once again, we see how Pat ” Gunz!” Orsban considers any comments thread on any topic the place for him to shout about How They’re Coming After Hiz Gunz.

      Should gunz have the right to vote, Pat?

      • While gunz would always vote smarter than a liberal, an inanimate object has no rights (just like it has no will) and including it in human responsibility is like blaming Ford for drunk drivers. But then, it does not take much to vote smarter than a liberal.

        • boatrocker

          Because Ford autos/knives/baseball bats swimming pools etc. are designed specifically to kill, right?
          Who uses that kind of messed up logic?

          Guns are for hunting, sport (target shooting, etc) and war. Period. Don’t kid yourself by believing they make you, your family or your home safer, and anyone who would kill to protect private property is pretty messed up.

          Give a criminal 10 un-interrupted minutes in your empty home with a tool kit, and voila! Your locked away tight gunz are unlocked, you come home from work dog tired and not ‘sweeping’ your home with a drawn gun like Rambo and boom! lights out on you with your own gunz
          and a whole home to plunder at the thief’s leisure.

          But of course the NRA Mob can hit a target with 100% accuracy and always have their gun out ready to use all the time, even on the toilet or in the shower or while having the sexy times with their sweety.

          Reagan- 1968- his CA gun control measures were pretty selective, eh?

  8. bsummers

    We’re going to be besieged with these kind of Trump/alt-right lies, rumors, fantasies, and misrepresentations over the next month. Oh look, here’s another one that tumbled out of Trump’s pie-hole just today:

    Trump suggests immigrants allowed in illegally to vote

    He/they smell defeat coming in November, and we’d better be prepared for those mentally-challenged thugs (like the Governor of Kentucky) who will violently refuse to accept the results.

    Kentucky Governor Suggests Violence if Hillary Wins

    I post that here so one of our alt-right propagandists can try to creatively edit out the Guv’s words suggesting violence… again. But the dogs have already heard the whistle. Anyone who tries to pretend otherwise expose who they really are.

    • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

      It’s a presidential election, not one to elect the pope. Who gives a crap what Trump says in private?

      • bsummers

        I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the fact that he’s an serial adulterous misogynist doesn’t deter your support for the guy. But consider that he’s not exactly a genius saying those things into a live microphone fixed to his clothing, while the tape was rolling.

        But it’s not you or me that really matters here – Drumpf just lost another couple percentage points off the women’s vote. What a dumbass pig.

        • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

          Don’t kid yourself. Most women want a rich, powerful man like Trump.

        • at least he is not married to one, and you had no problem voting for one (misogynist) in 1992 and 1996. Is it you hate it when Repubs act like Dems???

          • bsummers

            I never voted for Bill Clinton. Didn’t like him then, don’t like him now, But there’s worlds of difference between him & Trump. In any case, Bill’s not running. I’ll hold my nose & vote for Hillary, rather than see Fascist Psycho Clown in the White House.

          • Well shit, you have a point. Unfortunately, a lot of us are in the same boat. I believe a large number of Democrats can’t vote for hillary because she lied to and disenfranchised millions of Dem voters, and a large number of repubs will not vote for trump because the message from the repub elite, who fear him (same with the liberal elite). I have a feeling the “new nobility” in today’s world has a lot to fear from Trump. They do not fear hillary.

            I would vote for Putin before hillary. I have not figured out if Putin is a member of the “new nobility”. Maybe if one of his kids goes into politics.

            I suspect this race generates feelings not seen since 1860. Back then, it was state rights vs Fed Authority. Today, it is feelings vs rationality. And plenty of both on both sides.

            Damn, but we seem to be living in interesting times.

    • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

      It’s the two-for-one double standard thing leftists are addicted to. Every day is double coupon day to the hip-ocracy.

    • bsummers

      Weak. The Democratic Party primary rules process, as messed up as it is, is not equivalent to making it harder for 100s of 1000s of North Carolina voters from getting to the polls on Election Day. Apples are not oranges, my friend, even if you put a cheap orange wig on them. Sorry.

      • you are correct about apples and oranges, but got the meaning backwards. Zero Democrats were disenfranchised during the NC laws effect. The one time it was in effect for an election, more blacks showed up to vote than in many previous years. Therefor, ZERO disenfranchisement.

        Yet Hillary disenfranchised MILLIONS of Dem voters, with her super delegates, who felt their constituents were to stupid to vote for the “anointed one”, and then she hired the woman most responsible, in the DNC, that sabotaged Bernies campaign, ALSO disenfranchising MILLIONS of Dem voters.

        Why is that so hard for you to see??

        You condemn Repubs for “possibly” disenfranchising a few, yet will vote for a Dem who actually did disenfranchise millions, This is why so many Dems will not vote for her. She violated their rights, BEFORE she was Pres.

        Not sure where you get your facts from, but i would like to see you refute any fact I just posted.
        I concede only Al Franken said his Dem constituents were to stupid. So that is a little fact.

        • bsummers

          Why is that so hard for you to see??

          Sure, I get it – you’ve got some partisan talking point in your teeth, and you don’t want anyone trying to take it away. But sorry, no matter how carefully you spin it, the internal primary policies of a political party are not equivalent to how the government administers the right to vote. Besides, one primary race has come and gone – legislation restricting voter access to the polls could be on the books forever… until the courts step in, thank the gods.

          And you have no basis for claiming there was “ZERO” disenfranchisement from the Voter ID law. You can’t claim to know how many voters would have cast their ballots had Voter ID not been in effect. It’s likely that the controversy itself drove more minority voters who had ID to vote, not to mention the high-profile Sanders/Clinton race.

          But you have convinced yourself that you have a great point slamming Democrats on their primary race, so chew away.

          • forgive me for not being willfully ignorant ”

            The Increase in Black Turnout in the Recent Primary Elections Compared
            to the Last Such Elections Shows That Injunctive Relief is Not Warranted.
            On May 6, 2014, thirteen days before the filing of the instant motion for a
            preliminary injunction, the State of North Carolina held primary elections for federal and
            state offices, including statewide prim
            aries for the office of U.S. Senator. The North
            Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) posted turnout data for these elections on its
            soon after the elections, which data subsequently was updated. It also posted
            turnout data for the last off
            -year primary held in May 2010.
            This data was analyzed by Dr. Steven A. Camarota, an expert retained by
            He confirms that the “May 4, 2010 election makes for a good comparison with the May
            6, 2014 election because both were primary elections held in May of a non-presidential
            year.” Camarota Decl., Ex. A at 1. He describes the result as a “natural experiment,”
            because the “May 6, 2014 election is the first and only election to occur” after HB 589
            repealed same-day registration and out-of-precinct ballots and restricted early voting.
            The results of this analysis – which may be reproduced using the publicly
            available data files – show that black turnout increased in 2014 by every meaningful
            measure. Black share of the total electorate increased.
            at 2; Table 2. The percentage
            of black registered voters voting increased.
            ; Table 4. Using Census Bureau estimates,
            is the Declaration of Steven A. Camarota, Ph.D., which amici respectfully request the Court to consider
            . Exhibit A of
            that declaration is a report on turnout in the May 2014 primary elections, entitled “Estimating the Impact of HB 589:
            Black Turnout Before and After HB 589 was Implemented.”
            Case 1:13-cv-00861-TDS-JEP Document 125-1 Filed 06/18/14 Page 3 of 135
            Dr. Camarota found an increase in turnout among blacks of voting age.
            at 3; Table 5.
            Finally, while turnout increased across the board
            in May 2014, and while white turnout
            increased by 13.7%, black turnout increased much faster
            – by an astonishing 29.5%.
            at 2; Table 1. Dr. Camarota concludes that “a comparison of the May 2010 primary and
            the May 2014 primary indicates that the new law will not negatively impact black
            participation in the election process in North Carolina.”

            from the amicus brief, comparing a 2010 voter turnout, to a similar one in 2014, which showed a “huge” increase in black voter turnout, despite the dire predictions from the liberals.

            Yet those poor fools will vote for a shrew who actually did disenfranchise millions of Democrat voters. Not my fault YOUR ideology does not allow you to see. Good thing millions of other Dems recognize what a shrew she is. SO, not all liberals are brain dead morons, just the ones voting shrillary.

          • bsummers

            That’s your evidence? A brief (which correct me if I’m wrong – was rejected by the Court), from a guy whose job it is to argue complicated issues of race and immigration in the light of how it hurts or helps the Republican Party?

            “So Camarota says the Republican Party faces a choice, one of which is reducing the level of legal immigration from 11 million a decade to three or four million per decade.

            “That would help the Republicans a lot,” he explains.”
            Study of legal immigration: A demographic dilemma, or worse, for GOP

            Color me unconvinced. But hey, you guys see your great white hope going down in flames, and so you’re desperate to try to peel off some Bernie voters from supporting Hillary. I get it. But the rest of us don’t have to recognize your naked partisan spin, as wisdom.

          • bsummers

            Also, hilarious that that brief you cite is the one Christina Merrill signed onto, in the hopes of gaining some pyrrhic victory after her loss in the County Commission race in 2012. She could only win if they threw out selected college student ballots (ie; the liberal ones).

            That was another case where GOP attempts to gain electoral advantage led to unforeseen results. During redistricting, they attempted to draw District 1 around Warren Wilson College, in order to include that enclave of voters into the liberal ghetto of Asheville. But there was a certain, well… lack of competence among the GOP geniuses who did this, and all they accomplished was to cut WWC in half. This created the chaos that sent scores of WWC students to the polls that might not have otherwise voted. This provided the margin of victory to Ellen Frost, keeping the Commission in the majority Democrats hands.

            This losing Judicial Watch/Christina Merrill amicus brief is exactly the type of naked “We’ll win when we can stop certain people from voting” nonsense that turns voters off. But, as Camarota up there says, this is the GOP “dilemma”. You’re losing the demographic race. Better change your policies (as he also suggests “begin moving to the left”), or go the way of the dodo.

          • Peter Robbins

            The irony is that voter ID, standing alone, might have been upheld, as it was in the Seventh Circuit. But our Republicans cleverly tried to conceal the evidence in an omnibus garbage can full of goodies that they just left out on the curb. Its rancid odor simply could not be suppressed the longer it was exposed to light. Our boys were like that one gang member in the movies who couldn’t stop stuffing bills in the bag even after the other robbers warned him about the sirens. But I guess that’s what gerrymandering does to criminal minds. Without accountability, they sooner or later get arrogant, forget to cover their tracks, and wind up blabbing about the whole caper on cable television.

            Which reminds me. I heard Mr. Trump was on a soap opera recently. I don’t watch them myself, but I hear he made a quite an impression. Did anyone catch it?

          • bsummers

            I heard Mr. Trump was on a soap opera recently.

            I believe that when he went to Mexico last month, he did a cameo on the popular show, ¡¡¡Ay, Dejar Ir de mi Coochie!!!

          • yep, evidence, that was rejected by liberal judges who based their decision on feelings rather than facts. Of which, the evidence showed that ZERO blacks were disenfranchised. Does a 29 percent increase in turn out mean nothing to a liberal, in the throws of their ideology????
            I freely admit the evil Repubs were trying to disenfranchise a lot of blacks, THEY FAILED MISERABLY.

            Which is my point. And you pitiful liberals fret and whine over a failed Repub plot to disenfranchise a few thousand blacks, and IGNORE Shrillary doing it to millions of Dems.

            That is the insanity I call you people on. Not that you righteously condemn Repub violations. That is a good thing.

            But you welcome those violations when YOUR Democrat does it.

            And that, is very bad.

          • Peter Robbins

            The court did evaluate the evidence. And the evidence led to the most stinging rebuke of a state’s intentional racial discrimination since Brown v. Board of Education. May the legislators who passed the Omnibus Voter Suppression Act — and the Governor who signed it and the sycophants who now try to excuse them — live in infamy.

          • bwa hahaha, the liberal court “evaluated” the evidence, decided to ignore the fact that blacks INCREASED their presence in that election, despite the evil law, and voted on how they felt, not what the law is actually doing. Which is another reason to keep shrillary out. She will appoint more liberals idiots who vote on their feelings, not the constitution.

            And you liberals ignore what shrillary has done. The cognitive disconnect is powerful in the liberal “mind”.

            We would be better served if you guys had to pass a background check before you polluted democracy with your votes.

          • bsummers

            Pat Orsban said it himself yesterday, Keith Orsban:

            “I freely admit the evil Repubs were trying to disenfranchise a lot of blacks,”

            Thanks for supporting the ruling, Pat. The Court ruled on the intent of the legislation, not on whether it succeeded or not, & certainly not on how they “felt” about it.

          • bsummers

            Wait – “J” Orsban? We already have a “P” and a “K” – is there a third Orsban using that same avatar?

          • Peter Robbins

            It stands for “Jidge.” It’s an honorary Southern thing.

          • bsummers

            So wouldn’t that be: “concurring in jidgment”? Been living here for twenty years, and the fascinating lessons in language never stop.

          • Peter Robbins

            Technical, you might could be right. But I didn’t want people to think I was making light of anyone’s hard-earned pretensions.

  9. The Real World

    It also turns out that dead people have been voting in California. In fact, one dead man in the state has been casting votes since 2004, and authorities have found “hundreds” of similar examples…

    “He took a lot of time choosing his candidates,” said Annette Givans of her father, John Cenkner.

    Cenkner died in Palmdale in 2003. Despite this, records show that he somehow voted from the grave in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

    But he’s not the only one.

    CBS2 compared millions of voting records from the California Secretary of State’s office with death records from the Social Security Administration and found hundreds of so-called dead voters.
    So, let see: verified multiple voter fraud cases in Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington state, California ……and those yet to be divulged. But the denialists persist!!! Go figure….

    Next let’s talk about the legitimacy of electronic voting. USA = Banana Republic ….but with more debt.

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