Voting Rights


Environmental Policy

  • On Tuesday North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filed a lawsuit in Cumberland County Superior Court against DuPont and Chemours for allegedly covering up that they were releasing harmful chemicals into the air and drinking water. The chemicals, perfluorinated compounds, or PFAS, are known to cause multiple types of cancer and other health conditions. The suit seeks to hold the two companies responsible for damages to North Carolina’s natural resources, including drinking water.


Voting Rights

  • Although election officials had been concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic would discourage people from volunteering, it appears that North Carolina will now have enough poll workers. State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said Thursday that she calculated the state would need 25,000 poll workers; just under 47,000 have signed up through an online portal.


  • After a week of turmoil, the NC State Board of Elections is again fully staffed. Two Republican members recently resigned under pressure from their own party after backing a State Board legal settlement with rule changes making it easier to cast absentee ballots. Governor Cooper had approved two new Republican appointees nominated by the state GOP but was quickly forced to rescind one appointment after allegations of abuse by a former girlfriend of that appointee were made public. On Thursday, Cooper appointed a replacement and the NC State Board of Elections swore in both new members.



Economic and Housing Policy

  • The state has planned two additional programs to provide NC citizens with Covid-19 relief funds. The first program, approved in September, pays parents who have at least one child aged sixteen or younger a flat payment of $335. In certain cases, paperwork needs to be filed by October 15th to secure payment on December 15th. The second program, a $175 million rental assistance program announced in August, is expected to be ready soon. Roughly two thirds of the funds are earmarked to help residents avoid eviction by offering direct rent and utility assistance, while the remaining third is targeted to assist the homeless in securing affordable housing.



COVID-19

  • Governor Cooper announced this week that North Carolina would move into Phase 3 of the COVID-19 response at 5:00 PM Friday, October 2, following stable COVID-19 numbers during September. In Phase 3, outdoor venues will be allowed to operate at significantly limited capacity (7% for venues with >10,000 seats and whichever is less between 30% or 100 people for smaller venues) and bars and amusement parks will both be able to operate outdoors at 30% capacity. Mass gatherings will still be limited to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

Voting Rights

  • Following the previous week’s proposed settlement that set new rules for processing absentee ballots, including easing the requirements for voters to “cure” their ballots and extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline, the Trump campaign sent a letter to Republicans on North Carolina county election boards advising them to ignore the new rules. In response, the State Board of Elections sent a notice reminding county election officials that they must follow state directives.


  • On Wednesday, the U.S. District Judge who had delivered the preliminary injunction that the State Board of Elections said prompted their absentee ballot rule changes, Judge William Osteen, issued an order clarifying that he did not approve of the change to ballot-curing rules that would potentially allow absentee voters to get around the witness requirement. The next day, State Board of Elections director Karen Brinson Bell issued a memo instructing elections officials to “take no action” on ballots returned without a witness signature, and to keep these ballots in a secure location until a procedure for curing them is finalized.



Economic and Housing Policy

  • The NC Division of Employment Security’s inability to reprogram the state’s unemployment system in a timely fashion means that the $50 dollar boost to unemployment benefits approved a month ago and scheduled to run through the end of 2020 will not be paid until late October, although the payments will be retroactive to September 6th. Implementing the program has proven difficult for the state due to conflicting federal and state eligibility requirements, and because of these conflicting requirements, only around 20% of unemployment recipients will ultimately qualify for the $50 increase.


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