Editorial: The strangest bedfellows

Editorial: The strangest bedfellows
October 04
05:00 2018

Sen. Phil Berger, president pro tempore, in a statement reports that the Republican-dominated North Carolina General Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 2, passed expedited, bipartisan legislation to address Hurricane Florence-related problems “for which an immediate solution existed. The action represents the quickest emergency response in recent memory.”

The General Assembly didn’t stop there. The statement said members continued working, passing two bills in the afternoon:

One addresses education-related issues related to Hurricane Florence and the other covers the budget, the upcoming election, and DMV fees prompted by Hurricane Florence concerns.

His statement said that legislation passed extends the voter registration deadline by three days in counties under federal disaster declarations to Oct. 15. Same-day registration is also available for individuals during early voting. The legislation further allows county boards of elections to replace hurricane-damaged polling places and early voting sites.

The measure requires the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and county boards, to educate hurricane-impacted citizens about their options for voter registration and casting ballots. The state board is further directed to cooperate with federal and local agencies in that effort and would be authorized to spend funds to inform the public of voter information via print, radio, online and television advertising, in its discretion.

Also, fees for duplicate DMV items are waived.

Why did this effort to help Hurricane Florence victims move so quickly when the effort to help Hurricane Matthew victims has dragged on?

It’s curious. Hurricane Matthew happened Oct. 8-9, 2016, when a national election was scheduled in November. The General Assembly was still addressing Hurricane Matthew issues in May of this year.

Hurricane Florence happened Sept. 14-16, 2018, in an off-election year, when Donald Trump is president, but mid-term elections are scheduled for November and the Republicans have heard about a possible “Blue Wave.” Is it possible that the Republicans in the General Assembly want to make sure the vote gets out this year to possibly counter the Blue Wave?

The General Assembly has pushed through questionable state amendments to be voted on in November, too. So, maybe that is what pushed this effort on Hurricane Florence relief, which is called bipartisan.

Hurricane Florence is making Republicans and Democrats work together? It’s curious.

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