Friday, July 17, 2020

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

How Police Actions Change Perceptions of Law Enforcement

by Whitney Manzo

With recent news stories surrounding public Confederate statutes across the South, North Carolina has been home to several controversial decisions, and removals, of these memorials. All around the country these statues have come under fire as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, with many being toppled by protestors. While more Americans favor letting Confederate statues stand than removing them, it is not a majority, and the percentage of supporters has decreased quite a bit in the last few years- a fairly quick shift in public opinion. Still, many North Carolinians oppose the removal of Confederate statues, which has led to a few tense standoffs between Black Lives Matter protestors and counter-protestors.

For example, there has been a storm of controversy around the outside of the Alamance County courthouse, where a Confederate monument depicts a generic Confederate soldier on top of a column. The base of the statue is adorned with carved Confederate flags, and lists of Confederate soldiers from the county and other Confederate relics are stored inside the monument. A group of community leaders, including educators, business people, and politicians, have called for the monument to be removed from its pedestal and placed in a museum, but Alamance County Commissioners claim they don't have the power to do so under North Carolina law.

Monday, July 13, 2020

An Estimate of Where NC Stands in Absentee-by-Mail Ballot Requests

By Michael Bitzer

Note: this article was posted at 8:30 AM on Monday, July 13; during the day, I received more updated numbers from several counties, and have updated the overall numbers given below at 9 PM on Monday, July 13. 

The issue of voting by mail continues to cause controversy in the news, especially by unsubstantiated allegations that voting by mail allows for rampant fraud. Recent tweets by the president alleging "mail in ballot fraud found in many elections," while providing no specific cases or facts, continues to keep an important method of casting ballots in the spotlight.

We know that other states are utilizing voting by mail for the general election, but North Carolina has had mail-in voting as its original form of absentee voting. And typically, NC vote by mail ballots are a relatively small percentage of overall ballots cast in an election--but 2020 may herald a new day in NC voting, if early numbers are any indication of voters requesting mail-in ballots. And, as I’ll explain below, we have a general sense of what those early numbers are like, as of mid-July.