Ever since Massachusetts Governor Elbrige Gerry signed a bill in 1812 that redistricted the map of Boston in the shape of a salamander to the benefit of his Democratic Party, we've been stuck with dominant political parties legally tilting elections in their favor. Just recently the courts handed NC Republican legislators a smack down, ruling their redistricting unconstitutional, which meant we all went back to the polls in June, to recast primary ballots that were made invalid. Everybody knows gerrymandering goes on, but nobody ever bothers to fix this legal rigging, because the minority parties don't have the legislative votes, and when they regain the majority, they can't wait to turn the tables to their own benefit. We just live with it...just like we are living with the fact that since 2011, there has been such a disadvantage, that in some districts no Democrats bothered to run, simply because there was no point in wasting the effort; the votes just weren't there anymore due to gerrymandering.
Unsatisfied with one method of rigging the vote, our Republican controlled GA set about disenfranchising demographics which typically vote Democratic, under the guise of protecting elections from voter fraud, with voter ID requirements. Never mind that there is virtually no 'in person" voter fraud, never mind that the undocumented immigrants who supposedly threatened the integrity of the vote shun any situation where their identity might be scrutinized, never mind that citizens who have voted all of their lives would be denied their civic duty, never mind that young voters would be discouraged from taking part in the political process, never mind that minorities would disproportionately lose their right to choose who would represent their interests...just never mind, if the Republicans couldn't have their votes, they would legislate that right into oblivion, so they could remain in power.
And now, even though it may seem a minor transgression by comparison, our Republican controlled legislature has stooped to an all time low with SB677. For one race only, for an advantage of 5% or less, they have changed the position on the ballot to favor Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger's son, by insuring that Phil Berger, Jr. will appear at the top of the ballot in the Court of Appeals race. It would appear, that having been defeated in his bid for the 2014 - 6th Congressional Seat, Berger Sr. and his Republican cronies want to give Junior the slot on the ballot that would normally be reserved for the incumbent, Linda Stephens, who happens to be a Democrat.
Here's the section of the bill: "Order of Candidates for Judge of Court of Appeals on General Election Official Ballot.- Candidates for Judge of the Court of Appeals on a general election official ballot shall appear in the following order: (1) Candidates registered with political parties that reflect five percent (5%) of statewide voter registration, according to the most recent statistical report published by the State Board of Elections, in alphabetical order by party beginning with the party whose nominee for Governor received the most votes in the most recent gubernatorial election within alphabetical order within the party. (2) Candidates registered with other political parties in alphabetical order within the party. (3) Unaffiliated candidates in alphabetical order."
Now, this may seem like a silly thing to be alarmed by, but not only do we have our legislature participating in apparent nepotism, they are also seeking to gain advantage in a judicial race. The courts are where the constitutionality of much of their legislation since 2010 has been ruled against, time and again. What happens when they manage to stack the courts the way that redistricting has stacked the legislature? What recourse will be left to us when the balance of government is permanently tilted to cheat half the population out of representation? Don't let them get away with this latest effort to stack the deck.
VOTE LINDA STEPHENS, COURT OF APPEALS in the GENERAL ELECTION!
She's well respected, has the experience, and a great record for fairness.