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The pinch-faced dude on the left is McCrory.


While everybody's been quietly preparing for the End Times under "president" Donald Trump, the North Carolina governor's race is heading into its third week without an actual result. Or at least not one that's accepted by the apparent loser, incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory, who's currently losing by about 7,700 votes to Attorney General Roy Cooper. Cooper has declared victory, but McCrory and the state Republican party aren't so sure -- they're insisting there had to be massive statewide voting fraud, even though the Republican-controlled county election boards have strongly rejected McCrory's claims. For Crom's sake, they already suppressed the black vote for McCrory, what more does he want?

Now, let's be clear here -- McCrory is acting within state law, which allows him to demand a recount if the margin of victory is less than 10,000 votes. But the way he's going about it doesn't look like he really expects to find eight thousand hidden votes -- it's more aimed at creating the impression that there's huge voter fraud, and an excuse for the Republican-led legislature to pass more restrictions on voting, which shouldn't face any complaints from the mean old Justice Department once Jeff Sessions becomes Attorney General. Whee.

For instance, among the more insane challenges: NC Republicans last week released a list of 43 challenges to votes by supposed felons -- of whom nearly half were almost immediately shown to not be felons by a nonprofit voting-rights group. One gent, Larry Smith, got a phone call informing him his vote had been challenged because he was supposedly a felon. He wasn't, but he had the same first and last name and date of birth as another Larry Smith who was a felon, and that was good enough for a Republican official to decide the non-criminal Smith had to have his vote stricken. Smith was pretty happy his vote wasn't tossed: “The sad part of it is I voted for McCrory,” he said. Then there was Barron McCollum, who was notified his vote had been challenged thanks to a 1986 felony conviction. Sure, his rights were restored when he finished his sentence, but he was a felon, wasn't he? To make matters worse, he received his notice last Tuesday morning at around 10, telling him to attend a meeting about the challenge to his vote. That meeting had already taken place at 9 a.m. Happily, when he called the local election office, he was told the complaint had been dismissed. As it turned out, the local Republican party vice-chair who'd challenged his eligibility missed the meeting, too. Still, as some smart person noted in the comments to the Raleigh News & Observer story, the real scandal is that some of those 43 names really were ineligible felons, therefore MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD.

McCrory's campaign has alleged voting irregularities in 52 of North Carolina's counties; most were quickly reviewed and dismissed by the county boards -- again, each county board is made up of two Republicans and one Democrat, no matter the actual share in the county electorate -- almost immediately. The biggest chunk of disputed votes is in Durham County, where around 94,000 ballots "came in late on election night after local officials had to manually enter vote tallies from five early voting locations and one Election Day precinct." The Durham county elections officials said they had to hand-enter the vote tallies based on the polling tabulators' paper records after a computer glitch prevented the direct entry of information from data cards. The two Republicans and one Democrat on the board dismissed McCrory's request for a hand recount, since there was no evidence of misconduct, irregularity, or something nasty in the vote-shed.

Over the weekend, Gov. McCrory said he'd be willing to drop his demand for a statewide recount if a hand recount of the Durham County vote showed the same results as those reported election day. He really, really wants there to have been some fraud in Durham, because, you know, it's full of Urbans. And Democrats. The State Board of Elections had an emergency teleconference Sunday about the recount request, but was informed by its lawyers that it can't make a decision until it gets the request in writing; the state board also needs a transcript of the Durham County board's deliberations in turning down the initial recount request. Yes, this could go on forever.

There's also One Weird Trick by which McCrory could try to get the whole election thrown out: He can try to get the state legislature to step in and decide the election for him, which is actually a law North Carolina has, because screw the voters. All he has to do is convince enough legislators the election was too flawed to make any sense of the balloting. Even better, the state law allows no judicial review. Fun, huh?

Not that the General Assembly would ever just arbitrarily step in and nullify the will of the people. Except for how it's already trying to do exactly that in reaction to a different election: When a Democrat won election to the state supreme court, tipping the balance to a new liberal majority, the legislature promptly passed began considering* a law adding two seats to the court -- and the new justices will be appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory before the end of his current term, regardless of whether he stays in office or not. Conservative majority, saved! Remember,court-packing was evil when FDR tried it, but necessary to preserve democracy when Republicans do it. Thanks to elected Republicans, North Carolina may someday be free of the scourge of "democracy" once and for all. Pity we don't have some sort of Voting Rights Act to prevent that sort of electoral fuckery.

*Update/Correction: The NC lege has not actually passed the court-packing measure. It is being talked about as part of a December special session called to address hurricane relief and other emergencies, like the unwanted results of a judicial election. Wonkette regrets the error. But you just know they're gonna do it, the bastids.

[Slate / Raleigh News & Observer / News & Observer / News & Observer / News & Observer / NYT / ThinkProgress Update: News & Observer]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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