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North Carolina and Georgia, you’re not done yet!

November 7th, 2020, 10:10am by Sam Wang


The Presidential race is resolved:


…however, y’all are not done yet in the South!

The importance of the election for redistricting is still unfolding. There’s one more item: the Chief Justice of the North Carolina state Supreme Court. As of today, that race is within a margin of 3,500 votes – 0.06% of the over 5.3 million votes counted so far. There are an estimated 60,000-100,000 ballots still to be counted: mail-in ballots and provisional ballots to be verified, many of which must be “cured” between now and November 12th. Curing is a repair process that is done by phone or door-to-door contact. To help, volunteer here. (I welcome more suggestions for links.)

This is important because redistricting in North Carolina is now under single-party control. The state Supreme Court ordered a redrawing last year. If the General Assembly tries another gerrymander, they will face a court with at least 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans. The incoming Chief Justice will provide the 7th vote. Paul Newby (R) or Cheri Beasley (D) will have a lot of say!

And of course there are the Georgia Senate races, both of which are headed for a January 5 runoff. Those potentially determine control of the U.S. Senate. New voters can participate if they register by December 7th. Register online or by mail!

Tags: 2020 Election · Redistricting · Senate

28 Comments so far ↓

  • Joseph Bland

    “New voters can participate if they register by December 7th.”

    That’s totally different from what I’ve been hearing, which is that only those who voted in the election can vote again. That gives me tremendous hope!

    And thank you SO much for all you and your team do to bring basic fairness back to our elections! You folks truly deserve to take a bow!

    • Sam Wang

      Yes, that appears to be wrong. I have to look into that more, but I believe every registered voter can participate in the January 5 runoff. If wrong, I will correct.

    • Pechmerle

      Per the Georgia Election Code, only the voters who were registered for the first round can vote in the runoff:

      “Only the electors who were duly registered to vote and not subsequently deemed disqualified to vote in the primary, special primary, election, or special election for candidates for that particular office shall be entitled to vote therein, ….” (therein refers to the runoff)
      GA Elect. Code Sec. 21-2-501(a)(10).

    • Sam Wang

      That’s what I thought too, but then somebody corrected me. I see the statute you cite.

      But yet the Georgia government website says otherwise.

      Has the law changed?

    • Pechmerle

      On the other hand – despite what looks like a clear statutory directive – the Georgia state government website does say that you can register by Dec. 7 and participate in the runoff election voting. They don’t cite the legal authority for that, though obviously “they should know.”

      This would make a registration drive critical, esp. for Warnoff.

    • Pechmerle

      I will do some more digging, and see if I can determine of the legal source that I cited is out of date. (I hope so!)

    • Sam Wang

      Someone on Twitter (reliable, amirite?) tells me that the National Voter Registration Act overrides state law for the federal runoff.

      here we go: A “judge granted a preliminary injunction preventing Georgia from maintaining a deadline more than 30 days prior to a runoff for federal office, and the state accepted the ruling and signed a consent judgment obligating the state to follow federal law in the future. The Georgia Secretary of State recognizes the force of this ruling.”

    • Pechmerle

      That override does appear to be correct. And since it was a consent decree, there can not have been any appeal from it.

      Findlaw does contain a caution that it’s reprinting of state laws may not always be up to date. Here, it’s not that Georgia changed its law – which Findlaw would have seen – but that the statute that is on the books is not enforceable.

      So, Yes! We need to support the best organizations that are seeking to register more voters for the Jan. runoff – and turn them out to vote!

    • Pechmerle

      Under the applicable law, if the voter is now 17 but turns 18 before Jan. 5 runoff election date, they can register by Dec. 7 and vote in the runoff.
      A critical opportunity to register another several 10’s of thousands of voters.
      Also of course any oldr people who didn’t get registered for the general election on Nov. 3.

    • Pechmerle

      Warnock only got 33% of the three-way in the general election. A very heavy lift for him to win the runoff on Jan. 5??

    • Sam Wang

      And yet look at the head-to-head polls. Only consider the ones where both Warnock and Loeffler’s names show up immediately without clicking on “More” – these are head-to-heads.

      Let’s see if the lead holds up now that Loeffler and Collins are no longer competing against one another. I do think Warnock got the weaker opponent.

    • Pechmerle

      Yes, those head-to-heads are encouraging. A little dated now; will be interesting to see what the first post-Nov 3 polls look like.

      I’ll be trying to contribute to the outcome, whether by small donations, phone-banking, whatever I can do. As you’ve recommended all season, action over tea-leaf reading!

    • Joseph Bland

      Hmm. With the newly conservative and activist Supreme Court, where the Chief Justice is clearly on the side of State’s Rights, this looks like it could get dragged into court after all. Will votes be sequestered in the runoff that were from folks registering after the primary?

      Regardless, IMHO we need to act as if the National Voter Registration Act takes precedence in the end. Sam and Pechmerle are right in saying a registration drive is critical.

    • Pechmerle

      @Joseph Bland: The NVRA has been on the books since 1993. A search of a legal research service (Lexis) reveals that there has never been a challenge to its constitutionality. It has been applied in numerous federal decisions, to enforce it as written.
      The Dept. of Justice has a web page devoted just to the suits they have brought enforcing the NVRA, including the settlements they have obtained (such as the consent decree in Georgia).
      I don’t think there is any chance that a court challenge to the current version of the registration deadline in Georgia could succeed.

  • Loren Looger

    Hey Sam

    Any chance in NC and AK Senate races?

    • Sam Wang

      In Alaska, probably not though it’s hard to tell. On the one hand, Gross ran ahead of Biden in pre-election surveys. On the other hand, Trump is pretty favored there, and Senate candidates performed much closer to their state’s Trump vote share than their own support in polls.

      In North Carolina, up to ~100,000 votes have yet to be counted…they would have to break almost entirely for Cunningham. So probably not. However…there’s a key state Supreme Court race there and a Congressional seat.

    • Joseph Bland

      My wife brought up a good point: President-Elect Biden made it clear in the second debate that he supports a move to limit hydrocarbon use in the US and worldwide, and Alaska has many folks hugely dependent on income from hydrocarbon production. The Trump campaign made a huge deal out of that in Pennsylvania, and no doubt in Alaska as well. I’m sure that had a negative impact on Democratic support.

      Still, it’s not over until the adipose tissue-challenged singer of female gender vocalizes….

  • 538_Refugee

    If you want to know how to help in Georgia maybe you should go to the source? ;) $3.8M in 2 days after the election.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/08/stacey-abrams-helps-raise-millions-georgia-senate-runoffs

    • Pechmerle

      Thanks for that tip.
      Abrams’s website is FairFight.com, where you can donate &/or otherwise volunteer (esp. if you are near enough to travel to GA to do in-person GOTV – the best kind).

  • Joseph Bland

    I just donated for my wife and myself through this site via the Act Blue button on the upper left side. It split the donation between the two Democrats. Super-easy, and it let me use ApplePay!

  • Charles Greenberg

    Can you comment about efficient use of $ in the GA runoffs? There are SO MANY donation options. The candidates themselves, statewide party, county parties, outside groups, etc. Given that the candidates will no doubt be getting bajillions, when should we look elsewhere?

  • ArcticStones

    How concerned should we be by the outrageous attacks on Georgia’s Secretary of State by Republican Senators Loeffler and Perdue? And the GOP narrative that seems to be building and accelerating? Heck, we’re even seeing officials in some states attack the elections in other states??

    Clearly the strategy is, amongst other things, to create a situation where you have an “excuse” to NOT certify election results.

    This truly does seem unprecedented.

    • 538_Refugee

      They saw massive turnout thanks to Dear Leader. They need him to stay engaged to boost their chances. So, the suck up isn’t over yet. Imagine if Trump tells his supporters the GOP stabbed him in the back and doesn’t deserve their support. Loeffler and Perdue are are basically groveling to DL here.

    • 538_Refugee

      Seems either folks from Politico read this site or I was stating the obvious? ;)

      We need his voters’ in Georgia: Why Republicans embrace Trump’s last stand

      https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/10/trump-georgia-senate-runoff-435786

  • ArcticStones

    Will Georgia offer both mail-in ballots and in-person early voting for the run-off election? I wonder how far in advance absentee/mail-in ballots may be requested, and how early Georgia will send them out to voters.

    Any news on how many days of in-person early voting there might be?

    I’m betting Democratic voters won’t be keen to leave the arrival of their mail-in ballots to the vagaries of Postmaster General DeJoy. (Scratch “vagaries” – his behavior has been utterly consistent.)

    • ArcticStones

      Thank you for the link. A very interesting document!

      Do you know whether these Democratic organizations have been able to compile a list of the nearly 200,000 voters that Greg Palast claims were stricken from Georgia’s voter rolls in 2019? …and the hundreds of thousands of Georgians removed in previous years? Or is a monumental level of detective work required, in addition to the voter registration efforts?

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