Free and Proper Elections

NCFPE Poltical Blog and News Tracker

Free and Proper Elections - NCFPE Poltical Blog and News Tracker

North Carolinians for Free and Proper Elections

Welcome to the North Carolinians for Free and Proper Elections Political Action Committee. There are two questions that we would like you and every other citizen of the great Tar Heel state of North Carolina to ask themselves. First, is the right to vote your conscience one of the citizens’ most basic rights inherent in our Republican form of government? Second, can any level of government rightfully abridge or deny it’s citizens the right to vote specifically based on political affiliation?

As a grass-roots group of concerned citizens in North Carolina, we feel that the answer is obvious. We believe that the right to vote one’s conscience is a valuable and inherent right that our servicemen and women have died to protect over the past two and one half centuries; the right to choose who represents you. So, in return, we strongly believe that that no level of government has any authority to abridge the citizen’s right to vote based on political affiliation. Yet, that is exactly what has continued to happen for over one hundred years now by our state’s policy makers.

In 1901, the state of North Carolina enacted the first ballot access law, along with the implementation of the state printed ballot (called the Australian Ballot). This first ballot access law was simply the definition of a political party recognized by the state. Yet, North Carolina started off with a bang, requiring parties to have garnered at least 50,000 votes in the 1900 General Election to remain a ballot-recognized party in the state, automatically establishing a Republican-Democratic duopoly from the beginning of the state-printed ballot.

Now, over 100 years after the implementation of the state-regulated ballot, North Carolina has revised its laws regulating who can and cannot get on the ballot numerous times and still we do not truly have free elections as required by the North Carolina State Constitution which reads in Article I Section 10: “All elections shall be free.” We ask ourselves why our representatives do not represent us, why they promise one thing on the campaign trail and then deliver nothing in office, why can we not trust them. We at the North Carolinians for Free and Proper Elections, believe that it is a result of the unfair and restrictive ballot access laws which nearly ensure that only the two major parties have an equal chance on election day by making it nearly impossible to gain access to the ballot, allowing the two major parties to run unopposed by third party or unaffiliated candidates in most elections.

What people forget, and neglect to understand, is that in pre-1900 America, elections where generally free and equal; third political parties had a chance and they undertook important, meaningful roles in early-American politics. They served as agents of change and progress, ensuring that issues such as women’s suffrage and the abolishment of slavery were on the table, whereas the two major parties would have otherwise failed to act. Yet, since those grand old days when the citizens and political parties printed the ballots themselves and were able to vote their conscience, things have changed, but regretfully, not for the better.

Please help us to spread the word across the state of North Carolina about these unconstitutional statutes which deprive the citizens of their basic right to vote. The North Carolina citizen needs to be made aware of the problem of ballot access restrictions that have plagued freedom, and real political progress since 1901. We encourage everyone to look around the website, learn more about the ballot issue, and see what you can do to make North Carolina free again. For without freedom we are but pawns and slaves to government, and without the right to vote there is no freedom, just a privilege with the illusion of freedom.

The North Carolinians for Free and Proper Elections is a Political Action Committee which will work to:

-Educate the people of North Carolina about the state’s unconstitutional and burdensome restrictions on third political parties and unaffiliated candidates.

-Push for change and progress in the North Carolina General Assembly and US Congress to free the ballot and level the playing field for all candidates.

-Inform the people of where their candidates for elected office stand on the ballot issue.

McCrory’s mediocre budget fails to divert attention from his pro-discrimination law

Things aren’t going very well for Gov. Pat McCrory these days.  The massive opposition to the anti-LGBT bill HB2 he signed into law last month continues to grow with more corporations demanding that legislators repeal the law while the tally of jobs and tourism revenue lost continues to rise. Every day brings news of another group of corporate or religious leaders criticizing the law and another set of cancellations of performances and conventions.  Wednesday the NCAA announced a new anti-discrimination process for areas seeking to host its sporting events, putting North Carolina at risk of losing basketball tournaments and other NCAA competitions that pump millions of dollars into the state’s economy. And McCrory can’t go anywhere without facing questions about the law or hearing about more prominent people opposing it.  Earlier this week Charlotte developer and McCrory donor Johnny Harris said HB2 was hurting all aspects of business in Charlotte, McCrory’s hometown. The controversy surrounding HB2 is overwhelming McCrory’s governorship. That was clear again Wednesday when State Budget Director Andrew Heath appeared before a legislative committee to present the governor’s budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. That is usually a huge story, the administration presenting its sending plan for education, human services, teacher and state employees compensation, and everything else state government does. But Heath’s appearance before the legislative committee produced no dramatic highlights or headlines with most of the discussion about why McCrory is not proposing a raise for state employees, only a one-time bonus. And the budget presentation was overshadowed by a comment from Senator Tom Apodaca that lawmakers might put HB2 on the ballot this fall as a constitutional amendment to give voters their say. Also part of the reason the budget wasn’t a bigger story was that McCrory and Heath held a news conference Friday to release some of the budget details, including a five-percent raise for many teachers. But Friday’s budget event didn’t dominate the news cycle either, partially because McCrory clumsily didn’t release the full budget that day and because President Obama weighed in against HB2 when he was asked about it at a news conference in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Another reason that McCrory’s budget hasn’t diverted attention from the HB2 controversy is that the budget itself is mediocre, making some small investments in areas that have been neglected in recent years while the General Assembly and McCrory were cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy. McCrory’s budget proposal was hamstrung by the tax cuts he supported that leave no money to give both teachers and state employees a raise, much less start making the meaningful investments desperately needed in education and human services after the woefully inadequate funding of the last few years. And Senate leaders want to cut taxes again this year and they have overpowered McCrory in recent sessions. Add it all up and you have an administration under siege with the governor now becoming the face of the opposition to LGBT rights in America. It would take a bold budget proposal indeed to change that conversation, a governor thinking big about ways to invest more to move the state forward. That’s not this governor and that’s not in his budget. So the opposition to HB2 will continue to grow and dominate the headlines and the frustration about that in the McCrory Administration is likely to increase as the bunker mentality expands with more lashing out against the corporations and groups that oppose the discrimination law that McCrory signed. HB2 is now defining the governor and there’s really only one thing he can do to change that, acknowledge his mistake in signing it and demand its repeal to repair the tremendous damage its doing to North Carolina. But sadly, that’s not this governor either.  

Today is Workers’ Memorial Day

Here’s why you should care and how you can participate Today, April 28, is Workers’ Memorial Day. If this is a day of remembrance that doesn’t ring a bell for you, you are, sadly, not alone. Here in North Carolina, the government agency designated by the state constitution to protect workers has apparently never heard of it either. This isn’t a mere rhetorical dig meant to score points; a search of the North Carolina Department of Labor’s (DOL) website does not produce a single mention of the day – zero, zip, nada, bupkis. In contrast, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration dedicates an entire section of its website to the day. Here’s part of what it says: “Workers’ Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. It is also the day OSHA was established in 1971.” Of course, if North Carolina had somehow overcome the plague of workplace death and injury from which the need for Workers’ Memorial Day arose, the lack of a formal recognition by state officials might be somewhat understandable. Unfortunately, that is anything but the case. According to the latest data released by federal officials, 137 people died in our state doing their jobs in 2014. That’s one lost life every 2.7 days. Fortunately, despite the lack of concern over worker deaths evidenced by the state DOL, many North Carolinians do care about this ongoing tragedy and will renew their commitment to combating it this morning in downtown Raleigh. The commemoration will take place at 10:15 on the Bicentennial Mall across from the Legislative Building on Jones Street. Click here for more information. Many attendees will be wearing black. One of the groups participating in today’s event will be the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). It was, of course, worker organizations like FLOC that helped prod government to enact workplace safety and enforcement laws in the first place. This past weekend, Raleigh’s News & Observer published a brief but excellent op-ed on the subject of worker health and safety by Sintia Castillo, a North Carolina farmworker and member organizer for FLOC. We offer it here in commemoration of this important day and as a reminder of the huge challenges that still confront vulnerable American workers in 2016. Remember the farmworkers and others who died while working for a better life By Sintia Castillo I am a daughter of single farmworker mother. I began working in the fields when I was 8, selling food with my mom on the weekends and summers. When I turned 13, I started to work with my friends from middle school, picking crops like berries, tobacco, bell peppers, and tomatoes. In the fields, no one cared that I was young or undocumented because it meant that they could pay me less. They paid me based on how much I picked- $2.50 for a bucket of blueberries sometimes earning me only $15 dollars for 10 hours of work. So I moved to the packing sheds to make the $7.25 minimum wage but conditions there turned out to be even worse, requiring 10 hours of work without breaks. Worse still, it was here that I realized the grower was stealing my wages. When I reported the wage theft to my boss, he retaliated and eventually fired me. I turned to the NC Department of Labor for help, but the first thing they asked for was something I didn’t have to give – a Social Security number. Last year, I met a representative of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), through which farmworkers are working in union to change the agricultural industry. I realized that I was stuck in a system that marginalizes hard working and respectful people who have no choice but to work with what we’re given. Justice in the fields is not possible until we can monitor and report abuses ourselves without fear of retaliation. For this reason, FLOC has been fighting to win collective bargaining agreements designed by workers themselves that raise salaries, provide an accessible grievance procedure, and destroy the culture of fear that for centuries has kept farmworkers toiling in silent exploitation. Farmworkers know well what needs to be changed to make the workplace safe and fair and how those changes can be implemented. By coming together in union, our voices are amplified and growers have to listen. There is strength in numbers, but there is power in union. When we come together, we can see the connections between fields and factories, between packing sheds and call centers, between working people everywhere who all want the chance to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We invite you to join us this Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28th in Raleigh to remember the farmworkers and others who have died while working for a better life and to support our organizing to build worker power. Sintia Castillo, FLOC, Mt. Olive, NC

Democracy NC Condemns Voter ID Ruling

A federal judge has upheld North Carolina’s sweeping voter ID law in a ruling posted late Monday evening. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued a sprawling 485-page ruling dismissing all claims in the challenge to the state’s sweeping 2013 election law overhaul. Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, also upheld portions of the 2013 law that […]

Tips for Voting in the June 7 Primary

North Carolina’s Congressional primary is on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. In February 2016, the General Assembly enacted S.L. 2016-01 and S.L. 2016-02, which redrew districts for the U.S. House of Representatives and established the primary for U.S. House of Representatives on June 7, 2016.  The June 7th primary ballot will contain U.S. House of Representatives […]