Well, bleh

A few thoughts on the Amendment 1 vote and its aftermath:

Got a call from someone in DC yesterday wanting to know if I wanted to interview a person or two about President Obama’s announcement that he’s OK with same-sex marriage. I said ‘no thanks.’
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the move, but in the wake of the overwhelming Amendment 1 vote here in NC. I’m not so much into DC. I think they – the people who are awash in campaign money – let us down. I think they made a strange calculation based on, something – I don’t know the Cracker Index – and said ‘forget fighting this.’
I sincerely hope this isn’t what we’ll see in the general election.

One of the things that is starting to bug the shit out of me is this idea that because the counties that voted against have colleges and higher numbers of college-educated people, educated people are more tolerant. I haven’t seen the social science behind such a sweeping thought but I think while it makes people feel better about themselves in the midst of a heartbreaking defeat it is exactly the kind of thing that the pro forces like to seize on when warning people about the elites of the state. Being snooty about where you live is not a political strategy. You’re not going to win hearts and minds looking down on folks.
It’s also a little off the mark to say that the education level of folks in the various against counties are higher simply because they have colleges in them. If you look at the counties, you may note that most, if not all, also have major medical centers in them. A lot of degree holding people in the medical world.

Finally, I think those charts that pointed out what would happen if Amendment 1 passed (a lot of discrimination mostly) and what if it didn’t (nothing) need some updating.
What’s really happening is that local elected homophobes are moving to get rid of partner benefits for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. And people who want to get married and can’t are doing some civil disobedience. You shouldn’t be surprised by either move. The vote was the beginning of a long, protracted fight. The whole mess is headed to court, probably several courts. In some places, local governments will have to pay a serious chunk of change to either get rid of the benefits or keep them.

Record breaking early vote in NC

This just out from Bob Hall at DemocracyNC:


Here are some highlights from the election watchdog group Democracy North Carolina based on the data posted this afternoon on the FTP site of the State Board of Elections:

See Democracy North Carolina’s spreadsheet with a breakdown of the data at:

** One-Stop Early Voting ended Saturday afternoon with a record turnout of North Carolina voters — 490,540 ballots were accepted by the end of the day or about 4% more than the 473,800 cast in the 2008 primary.

** This number only includes ballots accepted at the Early Voting sites — technically called “in-person absentee ballots.” An additional 16,600 absentee ballots had been received by Saturday through the mail, etc., bringing the total early votes cast to over 500,000 thus far. More mail-in absentee ballots are expected.

** Democrats and Republicans essentially matched each other in overall turnout rates — 8.2% of registered Democrats and 8.3% of registered Republicans used One-Stop Early Voting to participate in the 2012 primary.

** 8.6% of white registered voters and 5.6% of black registered voters used One-Stop Early Voting; women outperformed men, with a 8.0% versus 7.6% turnout rate.

** The top 10 counties for turnout of their registered voters are Alleghany, Transylvania, Mitchell, Chatham, Bladen, Orange, Alexander, Watauga, Durham and Caldwell, with turnout rates reaching 17% of registered voters.

** The 7 counties with the highest number of ballots cast during One-Stop Early Voting provided about 36% of the total cast; they are in order: Wake, Mecklenburg, Durham, Guilford, Buncombe, Orange, and Forsyth. All are strong Democratic counties — but several had turnout rates below the 7.8% state average.

** The 9 counties with the biggest percent increase in number of One-Stop Early Voting ballots cast this year over the 2008 primary are: Mitchell, Alexander, Stokes, Davie, Gaston, Randolph, Caldwell, Burke, and Ashe. All are strong Republican counties.

** Of the 100,000 Unaffiliated voters who cast a ballot during One-Stop Early Voting, 45% chose to cast a ballot in the Republican primary, 35% cast a Democratic ballot, and 20% cast Unaffiliated ballots.

Division and diversion in North Carolina

The most important thing to remember going into Tuesday is that Amendment 1 is not about marriage. It is about division – an attempt to create a wedge between communities and weaken opposition in order to further not just the far right social agenda of its proponents, but the rest of their agenda as well.

Some of those who voted to place this on the ballot opted to be on the wrong side of history not because of their strong beliefs, but because of their lust for power. As we throw ourselves against this latest attempt to divide us, the rest of the agenda rolls on will little attention paid to it.

Right now, committees are hard at work in the legislature rewriting longstanding policies in Medicaid and health services, environmental protection and education. They are on a fast track to make budget adjustments. The schedule sets the final vote on the budget bill a little more than three weeks from now.

There are a lot of unknowns about what else will happen. We know that opening up the state to fracking is on the agenda and so is Voter ID. After what could be a very close referendum, we’re likely to find that making it harder to vote in this state is high on the list of the legislature’s priorities.

By having to fight this unnecessary, unconstitutional and hateful amendment we’ve already lost time, effort and, most importantly, attention on our state’s struggling economy, rampant poverty and public health nightmares. People are suffering because of it.

No matter what the tally is on Tuesday, we’ll know which side won and which side lost by what comes next. The true goal of those pushing the amendment is to divide us. Emerging from this test more united against the politics of division and hate is the only way forward and the only way we win.

We’re all in this together

At a stop at a homeless shelter in Hickory on the NAACP’s Truth & Hope tour of Poverty in NC, furniture maker Mitchell Gold, whose company is one of the largest employers in a town hard hit by the recession and the decline of industry, talked about his concern for homeless teens.
Too many are on the streets, he said, because of hostility toward gay youth. He thanked
NC NAACP president Rev. William Barber for the organization’s strong opposition to Amendment 1.
Barber’s response pretty well sums up why the NAACP has come out so strongly against the amendment.

Direct link

Pouring it on

I am not a big fan of the Civitas organization, but this vote tracker they have is pretty good if you’re looking for clues on early voting. You can drill things down to the precinct level. Take a look at the top cities – Durham, Asheville, Chapel Hill. The residents of these places are showing what concentrations of motivated voters can do in a statewide race.

Here’s a screencap of what I’m talking about.

Totals after the first full week of early voting

Since the only thing that can be tracked is who shows up and votes and not how they actually voted, the clues are in the demographics. Look at the average voting age and you can tell that there is at least some evidence that all those stories about young people not showing up are tripe.
The top precinct is in Durham, natch, around Duke University. The average age of the people who voted there is 23. The Orange County precincts that are turning out big are the same way.
This is backed up by reports around the state about the campuses getting energized over rejecting Amendment 1.

We don’t know that it is enough to counter what will happen Tuesday, May 8 when the rest of the state checks in, but consider that right now Durham (city) plus Chapel Hill is nearly 10 percent of the statewide total. In the 2010 election, Durham and Orange counties combined for about 4.6 percent of the vote statewide.

Trying to gauge this election by any other is going to end up apples to oranges, but this smells like teen spirit. Well, 18-24 spirit.

So pour it on young people. Seize your future or at least knock it out of the hands of the haters.
I really want to wake up on May 9 and write these words:

And they would have gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.

McCrory and a yes vote?

It all seemed so easy a few months ago, but now, with the sentiment turning, not so much now.
Pat McCrory appears to be hedging his bet on Amendment One.
Politco quotes the Char-O after noting in a piece headlined North Carolina GOP gubernatorial hopeful laying low on marriage law:

Emily and I wrote the other day about the growing divide between the GOP base and some of its most prominent donors on gay marriage as national voter opinions are now split about even, and this Charlotte Observer piece about the North Carolina gubernatorial race underscores just how much the voter sentiment has moved on the issue, even in a Southern state