Editorial: Midterm ’14

Editorial: Midterm ’14
November 06
00:00 2014
(pictured above: Sen. Kay Hagan casts her ballot on Oct. 24 during the early voting period in Guilford County.)

Voters – 1, Prognosticators – 0.

Early figures show that Midterm voter turnout was better than expected. In fact, a record was set Tuesday as 2,717,920 North Carolinians spoke at the polls. That is nearly 17,000 more than those who cast ballots in the last Midterm in 2010.

Early voting numbers portended that. More than 1.1 million voted during the shortened 10-day early voting period. African-Americans led the way – increasing their early voting numbers by 45 percent.
But what did it get us?

The contest at the very top of the ballot did not end the way many blacks had hoped. Granted, few African-Americans were head-over-heels for Sen. Kay Hagan. Many saw her attempts to distance herself from President Obama as a sign of disrespect. We were willing to stand with her, largely out of fealty to Obama and disdain for Thom Tillis and his subversive policies.

After she packs up her Senate office, Hagan will have plenty of time to reflect on her strategy. Distancing herself from the president could have cost her the 50,000 or so votes she lacked.

As of press time, it looked like North Carolina’s only black Supreme Court justice, Cheri Beasley, might eke out a victory, though a recount might be imminent. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Valene Franco, the Legal Aid of North Carolina attorney who vied for the new District Court judgeship. Her deep-pocket competitor Ted Kazakos won easily. He is the second assistant DA to have won a seat on the local District Court bench in the last two years. We don’t like that trend. DA Jim O’Neill has shown that he has a very myopic view of justice. And, as they say, the apples don’t fall far from the tree.

On a much brighter note, County Commissioner Bill Whiteheart is gone – again. Ted Kaplan dispensed of him; Whiteheart and his antebellum views can now return to the backwoods hovel from whence they came.

The School Board is getting new members – none of them Democrats, unfortunately. Teacher Katherine Fansler came in a close fourth in the At-Large race, just missing one of the three seats. The board will have three African-Americans, but not the three we had anticipated. Robert Barr, who is also a veteran educator, bested incumbent John Davenport and others to finish second in the At-Large contest.

While we applaud the seeming passion that was displayed during this Midterm, let’s not forget that voter apathy is still an abhorrent international disgrace. When Scottish voters went to the polls in September to decide if they wanted their nation to remain a part of the United Kingdom, turnout was a whopping 85 percent. Other nations, even those that are so-called “developing,” regularly put us to shame when it comes to turnout.

Even with the barriers that have been put in place to deter voting, casting ballots in the United States is a cinch compared to nations where voters must endure miles-long walks and heavily-armed intimidators. We can still do much better.

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