North Carolina Faces Backlash For Jumping 2016 Line

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed a sweeping new voter identification law in the Tar Heel state that also moved the state’s 2016 presidential primaries way ahead of the pack, setting up a showdown with both major political parties who are determined to bring order to the nominating process.

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Takaaki Iwabu / Raleigh News & Observer / MCT / Getty Images

Governor Pat McCrory holds a news conference in Raleigh, N.C., on Jan. 7, 2013.

Not so fast North Carolina.

Last week Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed a sweeping new voter identification law in the Tar Heel state that also moved the state’s 2016 presidential primaries way ahead of the pack, setting up a showdown with both major political parties who are determined to bring order to the nominating process.

“The NCGOP is going to hear over and over again from the RNC about how North Carolina, under the new law, is going to get hammered by these new penalties,” said Davidson College professor Josh Putnam, who studies primary calendars and maintains the blog Frontloading HQ. “And they have a record of enforcement over the last two cycles to show as well.”

Under the rules of both the Democratic and Republican parties, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada are protected as the first states to hold primaries and caucuses. The new North Carolina law would tie that state’s primary date to the week after South Carolina votes, if voting takes place before March 15, violating the rules of both parties.

Under the Republican National Committee rules adopted at the convention last year, North Carolina would be subject to the “super penalty” — an increasing punishment designed after Florida jumped ahead of Nevada in 2012 that would reduce the state’s delegates to the national convention to nine from 55 in 2012. As a result of the adoption of the penalty, Florida moved its primary for 2016 to the first Tuesday in March — the first date that would avoid the penalty. The Democratic Party rules are more fluid, but in 2008 stripped Florida and Michigan of all their delegates for violating the sanctioned calendar, becoming another front in the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The Party restored 50 percent of the delegates by the convention.

This penalty might not stop North Carolina, which is seeking its share of the national spotlight and a portion of the tens of millions of dollars spent on early state campaign organizations and television ads, but it would remove the near-term incentive for a candidate to campaign in the state. Under the penalty, North Carolina would be reduced to as many delegates to the Republican convention as Guam.

The goal of the current party rules is to make the 2016 calendar decidedly more ordered — if not more fair — than previous years. The four carve-out states will have neatly spaced nominating contests, followed by a jumble of the other 46 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Many states still must set their primary dates, and even Iowa isn’t immune from the calendar jumble; the Democratic and Republican caucuses are currently scheduled for different days there. The system has drawn criticism from elections advocates for the largely unrepresentative demographics of the early states, and other states have long looked at the attention pouring into the early states with envy.

RNC members at the party’s meeting in Boston last week reaffirmed their support for the primary calendar after the passage of the North Carolina law. The party’s rules committee formed a subcommittee on the primary process to explore additional calendar reforms, including taking control of the debate process, but is expected to toughen the penalties on rule-breakers, if anything.

Democrats still haven’t met to discuss their 2016 rules, with that expected first in early 2014, but according to several DNC members, they see eye-to-eye with Republicans about punishing rule-breakers.

“[There is] a unified front of a semi-coordinated calendar structure and strengthened deterrence in the form of penalties,” Putnam said.

12 comments
NCCaniac42
NCCaniac42

This is one of the many stupid moves done by Thom Tillis and his over-sized EGO in NC.  I hope it does come back to bite him in the a$$.  He is planning on being the GOP nominee to run against Senator Kay Hagen in 2014. He won't be elected to the Senate and hopefully all the crap they pulled during their first session as  The GOP Large and in Charge NC General Assembly will haunt him for years to come.  One question I didn't get a chance to ask my state Senator Josh Stein the other day in a meeting was how much having two primaries during presidential years is going to cost the state.  The state claims they are broke yet they changed these dates.  Idiots all of them. Vote them out starting 2014 and finish the job in 2016 with Gov. Pat 'Milktoast' McCrory getting the boot.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

Your Primary System is bloody nuts.  Why can't you guys just have every single primary on the same day - at least for President

cent-fan
cent-fan

-The system has drawn criticism from elections advocates for the largely unrepresentative demographics of the early states, and other states have long looked at the attention pouring into the early states with envy.-

"Envy" I don't get.  It has to be all about the money and only that, like opening a slot parlor for tax revenue purposes.  You get a parade of media to cover a parade of loonies (candidates and base) to get a winner early that mostly becomes irrelevant except to show your state population is more closely related to the voters on the planet Lowfo 7.  Either that or they rubber stamp a candidate that's blowing everyone else out of the water and your state results don't matter in the least.  The early primaries are when the zoo animals are in control of the circus.

MementoMori
MementoMori

You're missing the real story.

Hours after passing the country’s worst voter suppression law, North Carolina Republicans escalated their attempts to prevent students from participating in the political process.

• The GOP-controlled board of elections in Pasquotank County voted to disqualify Montravias King, a senior at historically black Elizabeth City State University, from running for city council, claiming King couldn’t use his student address to establish residency, even though he’s been registered to vote there since 2009. “The head of the county’s Republican Party said he plans to challenge the voter registrations of more students at the historically black university ahead of upcoming elections,” the AP reported.

• The GOP chair of the Forsyth County Board of Elections is moving to shut down an early voting site at historically black Winston-Salem State University because he claims students were offered extra credit in class for voting there. “He offered no proof such irregularities had occurred,” the Raleigh News and Observer noted.

• The GOP-controlled Watauga County Board of Elections in Boone, North Carolina, voted along party lines to close an early voting and general election polling place at Appalachian State University. Instead, the county limited early voting to one site in Boone and created the state’s third-largest voting precinct, with 9,300 voters at a precinct designed for 1,500, with only thirty-five parking places. It’s inaccessible by public transportation and over a mile from campus along a 45 mph road with no sidewalk. “I feel like the people (students) who really care might come all the way out here to vote,” said Ashley Blevins, a junior at Appalachian State, “but I know a lot of people who are like, ‘eh, it’s too far—I don’t think I’m going to walk that far,’ because they don’t really have another way of getting here.”

http://www.thenation.com/blog/175837/north-carolina-republicans-escalate-attack-student-voting#

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Just hold all primaries on one Mega Tuesday. Now that's equal treatment.

sacredh
sacredh

"RNC members at the party’s meeting in Boston last week reaffirmed their support for the primary calendar after the passage of the North Carolina law. The party’s rules committee formed a subcommittee on the primary process to explore additional calendar reforms, including taking control of the debate process, but is expected to toughen the penalties on rule-breakers, if anything."

So, North carolina decides to shoot itself in the knee instead of the foot.The knee is closer to the shooting hand.

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Why do Republicans hate Americans and the Constitution?  The right to vote was held so dear by the Founding Fathers that they included it in the body of the document, not an "add-on" like that militia thing in the 2nd amendment.  I would think that the Boone situation just begs for a visit by DOJ by restricting how many can vote and the number per precinct.  The other two involving historical black colleges are part of a trend across the south to disinfranchise college students who legally have the right to vote.  The colleges can respond by taking a 2-week "election break" and that would allow the students to go home and also help get others to the polls by actively getting involved in the election.  That would be great payback for the Republicans.

sacredh
sacredh

@deconstructiva, wouldn't that be a true mess? Lol. I'm in favor of rotating who gets the first primary, although when Texas, New York, California or Florida went first. some primary seasons could almost be over before they started. 

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Wow, they will have the same number of convention votes as Guam?  That doesn't seem to be giving them the importance they thought they wanted.  They should also put them last in the call of the states at the convention.

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

We need regional primaries that rotate and we definately don't need to have two outlier states like Iowa and New Hampshire with demographics that don't reflect any other "real" parts of the country. While I don't think that will slow down the Tea Party Brotherhood Krazy Klown Kar parade, it at least may allow there to not be a front runner until a sane Republican can be found by Diogenes.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

@sacredh @deconstructiva Agreed. We need a rotating system. What we have now is a fustercluck that only works because nobody has tried to seriously bend any rules. 

sacredh
sacredh

@Ohiolib, I don't want to disparage Iowa, but I think they're a terrible choice to have the first primary. They're not representative of the country by any stretch of the imagination. I would even be in favor of keeping Iowa as ONE of the first. Maybe keep Iowa but have 2-3 other rotating states vote on the same day.