My Vote Counts, Right? ...... RIGHT!?! – TTS 67 (Civics)

If you are a voter in North Carolina, Lynn Bernstein has your back.

Lynn is on the Election Protection Committee of the League of Women Voters of Wake County. Her specialty is voting machines, with an eye on making sure that the vote you cast is the vote that is recorded and counted.

The state Board of Elections is in the process of certifying what voting machines the counties can use in 2020 and for the next decade or so. Vendors are offering a variety of devices, some fancy and high-tech, and some pretty darn simple. Turns out that “pretty darn simple” is the safest, easiest and cheapest way to go, with an emphasis on this phrase: Hand Marked Paper Ballots. And Lynn should know. Her background as an aerospace engineer means she understands the geek side of elections, from Russian hacking to hanging chads.

That in fact is what voters in Wake and Durham counties have been using for years. But that doesn’t mean that’s what the politicians like. Many of the other counties in North Carolina and around the US use machines that leave no paper trail, nothing that can be audited by hand. One of the fancier devices being considered for NC does print a paper result… with a bar code, not a name showing who the voter selected.

ACTION ITEM 1: Lynn recommends all voters visit the NC State Board of Elections web site and leave a comment: Please certify voting machines that use a hand marked paper ballot, no bar codes, and use risk limiting audits. (Note that Lynn says there should be a comment form on the web site. I didn’t see a comment form, but there is an email address).

ACTION ITEM 2: NCSBE will be voting on which systems to certify on August 23rd at 1pm in the Dobbs Building in Raleigh. Public comment will be allowed prior to the vote. Voters are encouraged to come and let the board know their preferences (for a hand-marked, paper ballot… right?).

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Muelling it Over - TTS 66

Gary thinks about ("analyzes" is a little too strong) Robert Mueller's 'performance' before Congress last week.

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Comedy 2-Nite: John Poveromo - TTS 65 (Entertainment)

John Poveromo is a comedian on ‘the circuit’, appearing tonight (Thursday, July 25 as I type this) at The Pit in Chapel Hill. John’s publicist somehow found the Triangle Talk Show and ‘booked’ John here, even after I explained that we have practically no audience, and John still agreed to appear. We had (I think) a great conversation. I guess you’ll be the judge of that.

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Citizenship Test - TTS 64 (Civics)

Amid all the noise and fury about immigration, the Trump administration announced they would be changing the test given to immigrants seeking citizenship. Gary takes the test (twice).

Also, a no-hands stand-up, a bit on the ongoing NC Gerrymandering trial, and how Gary can’t remember the Apollo 11 moon landing (and almost everything else).

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Ssshhharlotte - TTS 63 (Choice)

On June 24, 2019, the Charlotte City Council passed an amended noise ordinance, prohibiting amplified sound within 150 feet of churches, schools, and health care facilities. In practice, it will mostly affect the noisy protests that regularly occur in front of the city's abortion clinics. The ordinance does not limit protesting immediately in front of the clinics – it only limits amplified speech and loud noise.

In this episode, we'll assault your ears with a few minutes of those protests from Charlotte, and another few minutes of our home-grown protests at a clinic in Raleigh, so you can get an idea of what the Charlotte City Council was considering (and what women seeking abortions have to confront as they enter and leave the clinics).

Then we've got a half hour of tightly edited comments from the Charlotte City Council meeting where the public made comments before the Council voted. The 'public' consisted mostly of anti-abortion protesters, countered by a much smaller group of pro-choice members of several women's groups and clinic employees.

The Council meeting went on for well over two hours. The 30-minute edit features a few of the anti-abortion protesters, who mostly took the opportunity to address what they see as the evils of abortion with a religion based argument. A few of them complained a little about censorship, while most of them failed to address the actual issues of the noise ordinance (why do they need amplifiers and speakers?). The pro-choice people all directly addressed the noise issue, so the edit includes more of them. The actual ratio of anti- to pro- was lopsided in the anti's favor.

The ordinance goes into effect on October 1, barring any (expected) court challenges and injunctions.

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