Blueprint’s Minor Raleigh Ruckus

June 4, 2015 (Raleigh) Early last night, the State Board of Elections kicked off their first of nine public hearings on implementation rules for North Carolina’s voter ID law, but it quickly devolved into a coordinated ruckus by “progressive” mobs, lying in wait, perhaps, in more ways than one.

BOE officials estimate 60-80 people attended the hearing and 35 signed up to speak, but others spoke after the list was exhausted.

BOE officials estimate 60-80 people attended the hearing and 35 signed up to speak, but others spoke after the list was exhausted.

To be fair, some speakers did garnish their remarks with a few responsible comments, but the occasion quickly devolved into a blunt show of force exercise, orchestrated by the Z. Smith Reynolds-backed, Democracy NC and their Blueprint buddies at League of Women Voters and the NAACP. (For casual readers, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation functions as the George Soros of North Carolina politics.)

Where’s Bob?

In an unforced error, those same partisan partners even publicized one of their training sessions, also held last night, but in western NC. Its purpose was to prep members for another ambush, this time at the June 11, Silva hearing.

A gushing article in the Smoky Mountain News, said the meeting included comments from Democracy NC’s chief propagandist, Bob Hall and from Darlene Azarmi, the lavishly funded organization’s western region field officer.

Proscribing their usual shop-worn manipulation tactics, Azarmi (according to the SMN report) “encouraged people to fill that time with personal stories rather than statistics.”

To be clear, these are not “public policy” hearings. They are intended to collect public input on the rules the SBOE proposes to implement in order to make the voter ID law work in an open and honest manner.

But unless the SMN intern reporter garbled the message, Azarmi told her audience this:

A lot of times they don’t get those heartfelt stories from folks that actually can fall into the current of emotion or whatever it is that hopefully evokes the ability to have some sort of change or flexibility in terms of human perspective on these issues.”

Hmmmm. I wonder if she’s a professor at UNC-Asheville or Warren Wilson College . . . or not!

Back in Mini-Mordor

Meanwhile, last night in Raleigh, we saw the impressive results of Mr. Hall’s community organizing, as dozens of sixties-era retreads, paraded to the microphone, wearing big red “Democracy NC” badges. They each took the occasion to find fault with one of the best election reforms in the nation: NC’s voter ID law.

The meeting began with an introduction by NC Board of Elections Agency Counsel, George McCue, who reminded the audience that the General Assembly makes the laws and “the job to the Board of Elections is to implement the law.”

He urged them not to spend time commenting on the merits of the law and instead to comment on the implementation rules . . . but speaker after speaker either didn’t understand or didn’t care about McCue’s instructions. This disciplined mob had their orders.

Surprisingly, not one of the speakers ever uttered those gut-wrenching words, “for the children.”

Glittering Jewel

One of the best examples from the evening was the sixth speaker, Richard Lepards, a self-described “advocate for Democracy NC, Common Cause [yet another Blueprint NC group] and a member of the NAACP.”

Instead of giving constructive criticism of the implementation rules, Mr. Lepards abused the venue by ranting against “roadblocks to the fundamental right of voting,” meaning North Carolina’s long-overdue election-reform laws.

“I can speak directly of my 101-year-old dad,” he said. “He is of very good mind, but doesn’t have a photo ID. And he’s having to really endure unreasonable and unnecessary road blocks to even get an ID.”

Then he dragged out the example of the hypothetical hardworking “poor mom” who is too busy to get her correct name and address on her driver license. Right. I’m sure the friendly NC Highway Patrol officer will nod sympathetically as he writes “mom” a ticket.

Thankfully, his time ran out and he got gonged.

But Seriously . . .

My wife had a few more choice words, but I’ve just got three things to say to Mr. Lepards.

First, (pretending to give a Gibbs slap to the back of his head) HELLO?! McFly???? Your 101-year-old father will one day need life-prolonging things like hospitals and prescription drugs. He can’t get much healthcare without proper ID!

Since you’re too busy down in the basement with your little Blueprint friends, I beg you to click the “Voter ID Help” tab at the top of this webpage. We can get him a ride to DMV.

Second, I have great news! NC General Statute § 163-166.13(e) allows your father to use any old driver license he still has in a drawer somewhere, so long as it expired after he turned 70 years old.

But holdup, Dickie. Being Mr. Bigshot Civic Activist, I’m surprised you didn’t already know that . . . jus’ sayin’ . . . .

Third, and this is more like friendly advice than a “message.” Instead of lecturing government employees trying to do their job, maybe you should visit with–and listen to–your father.

You could start with an apology for using him as a poster child and for not helping him arrange his personal affairs. If he’s not mad at you, you could then ask how he has managed to survive for 101 years without a photo ID card. It might even be a world record or something.

By the way, did he get drafted into any wars?

Hey, it could be a movie! Who knows? Maybe you could attract a superstar like Matt Damon!


(Note to readers truly interested in honest elections: Please click here for some analysis and advice if you want to speak constructively at a hearing near you or if you want to submit written comments. The SBOE will accept comments before June 30.)