Friday, May 17, 2024

The Politics of Masking

By Todd Collins

Editor’s note: with the visibility regarding House Bill 237, the 'mask bill' that passed the North Carolina State Senate this week and sent to the State House, ONSP asked Dr. Todd Collins (a licensed attorney and legal/political scholar with extensive experience in the courtroom and the classroom) to offer his analysis on the bill. His views do not represent the opinions of his home academic institution.

Not too long ago the only political discussions about face coverings surrounded the “mask index.”  If you aren’t familiar, this is a way to predict the presidential election based on which candidate’s Halloween mask sells the most before an election.  

As the legend goes, this method has correctly predicted every election outcome since Ronald Reagan.  George W. Bush masks were the bigger sellers in 2000 and 2004, Obama masks outsold his Republican rivals in 2008 and 2012, and we saw more Donald Trump faces than Hillary Clinton’s on October 31, 2016.

Of course, national mask sells are really hard to quantify, so I wouldn’t make a parlay bet on the 2024 election based on statistics from Spencer’s Gifts.  But one thing that is clear is that masks have indeed become a recent “Hot Topic” (and yes, that’s two old-school mall store references in one paragraph if you’re keeping score).

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Runoff Rundown

By Christopher Cooper

There was a second primary in North Carolina on May 14 for the Republican Auditor, Lieutenant Governor and NC-13 races (yes, there were a couple of runoffs for important local races too, but I'm just discussing the congressional and statewide here). So, what happened?


Voter turnout in the second primary was somewhere between terrible and awful. Statewide, fewer than 3 percent of all eligible voters cast a vote. 

If you compare the number of people who cast a vote in the first primary for that office to the number who cast a vote in the second primary, things don't look much better. Turnout for the Republican Auditor second primary was ~14.5% of the first primary, Republican Lieutenant Governor was about 14% of original turnout and Republican 13th Congressional District was about 25.7% of original turnout.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Via The Assembly: The Short Life and Quiet Death of Ranked-Choice Voting in North Carolina

With the second primary (run-off) primary begin held tomorrow (May 14), Dr. Chris Cooper takes a look at the use of a voting technique that may have avoided the use of a run-off election: ranked-choice voting.

Cooper details ranked-choice voting's brief history and quiet death at The Assembly at: