Republicans attempt to deceive Orange County voters

Just read on BlueNC that someone is trying to trick Chapel Hill voters by representing a list of Republican judicial candidates as Democrats. Don't they know we are some of the most educated voters in the state?

Yesterday, I received various complaints about deceptive Republican tactics during the early voting in Chapel Hill. Apparently, Republican canvassers are approaching people entering the polls and asking if they're Democrats. If the answer is “yes,” they are given a flyer and told "This is a list of our judicial candidates." The problem: the list contains only the Republican candidates! Because Party affiliation isn't listed on the ballot, voters are being misled.
- North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jerry Meek quoted in Cheaters | BlueNC

If this is true, Republicans are even dumber (or more desperate) than I thought.



I was working the early voting site at Morehead on Friday afternoon. At some point, two female college students came up and began asking voters if they needed information about judges, or something like that. They had a handout. I walked over, identified myself, and asked if they would share with me what they were handing out. They did, and it was a list of republican candidates for the statewide judical offices (no local candidates were included). I asked them who they were campaigning on behalf of and they were vague.

To their credit, they then asked me my thoughts on how they should approach voters. I acknowledged the media attention on the incident earlier in the week, and I said I believed the voters of Orange to be relatively well informed, and that the likelihood was high that most voters would recognize at least one name on their list (or the absence of one name), and that they would figure out that the list was a list of republicans. And that therefore, honesty was the best strategy: They should identify what they were handing out as the greeting to voters (would you like to see a list of republican candidates for statewide judges offices?). They at first complained that that would be difficult in Orange County. But I pointed out that not two minutes earlier, I introduced myself to a voter, who asked me my party affiliation. I told her it was a non-partisan race, but that I was a Democrat. She harrumpfed and walked away. I lost that vote (to whom, Im not sure, given that we're all Dems). But the point I made to these two republicans was that I was honest, even if it cost me votes. It might help in other cases. Even in Orange County, there are voters of every political persuasion -- and that if no other research was done by a voter before coming to the poll, I'd rather them vote based on party than the number of letters in my name. They agreed and, at least as long as I stayed there, were very forthright with voters.

Ginny, folks are sensitized to Republican sponsored election trickery and disenfranchisement - so a bit of outrage made sense.

Heck, look at the organized robo-call irritation campaign apparently targeted at candidates as close as NC-11's Heath Shuler.

That said, I'm concerned about (something I posted earlier on it here).

I followed up my post with an email addressed to former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, who chaired the effort, to reconsider their television ads in light of both voter and judicial candidate dismay.

Let me get back to beating this dead horse for a moment... but given the 33-comment outrage over one girl at one poll misleading voters and a subsequent witchhunt after some Student Congress guy who wasn't accused of doing anything...

Where's the outrage over

Well, Luke has said he was only out there one afternoon and that he was the only member of Congress out there then. Also, I asked the chair of College Republicans, Tyson Grinstead, if they were involved; he said no, and they don't want to be associated with it. Yet neither Luke nor Tyson will make a public statement about it.

It's also my understanding, though I haven't been over there myself, that they've been out there on more than one day.

Didn't realize it was a repeat offense.

I've asked Luke to make a public statement about what exactly they're doing, who's funding and organizing it, etc., because it's getting out of hand and seems like it may result in some form of legal action. Plus, they're fueling our side with vigor, volunteering, and fundraising by reenforcing the image of Republican corruption.

Well, I can't think of a democrat judge that I would endorse but as you can see on our website that we are quite plain regarding endorsing Lewis Cheek in the DA race since he is clearly by far the better man and has a reasonable chance to win.

Does that mean we agree with Lewis Cheek on everything? No, of course not, but he is a respected, credible man.

Republican Commando

It's not just one reported incident. The same individual, or someone fitting her description, approached a pair of voters who went to Morehead on Saturday. They were doubly perturbed because 1) she asked if they were Democrats and handed them the tricky cheat sheet and 2) the Morehead polling place turned out not to be open that day.

They voted at Carrboro Town Hall yesterday during my watch (Orange Dems) and gave me an earful.

Well, here's a link to the pictures of all the members of Student Congress.
I suggest that we send tham all to Durham, where the DA's office will put them in a police lineup. Then Epting can pick the person out. After all, the guilty party MUST be SOMEONE in the lineup, right! :)

And I want to reiterate that I respect Daniel Siler's work. May the spirit of Mitch Kokai -- if not his politics -- be with you always. Peace upon you.

My question to Daniel was more the kind of question two colleagues in a newsroom would pose to each other. I hope that no one thinks I don't admire his doggedness, nor that I think his questions aren't legitimate. I just know that sometimes, when you're not getting cooperation and you have no other leverage, it's time to cut bait.

(Speaking of Mitch, did anyone else notice that he's joined the John Locke Foundation as their director of communications?)

I just want to reiterate that I'm glad Daniel Siler is on the case. Are there any other reporters (or investigators) looking into this?

(PS: Daniel, I would have seen or heard your story first if WCHL had an RSS feed.)

I interpreted your article and your posts on here as "calling for his head." Think that's a reasonable enough personal interpretation and doesn't really require the phone call or the email.

Tricky words? Yes. Sleazy? Yes. But no actual misrepresentation and no lies reported. There's also only one reported incident with one voter and no sign of some vast conspiracy. In a rare moment that I agree with Duncan I think he's right -- It sounds like it already backfired and that Epting handled it well. But the NCDP and the OCYD are sure capitalizing on it with e-mails and press releases!

College kids do dumb things all the time -- I hope I don't get bombarded with e-mails every time they do. And I'm sure some dumb college Democrat will do some other sleazy thing like this. It's an interesting incident and certainly should caution voters. But let's worry about being out at the polls advocating for our own judicial candidates rather than tracking down some UNC student congress person (Luke) to track down someone else who may or may not be in Student Congress that he may or may not know.

Ginny, as far as I know, any organization that spends money advocating for a candidate in a North Carolina election is required to file papers with the relevant Board of Elections. Sounds like this group might be violating state law.

Campaign reporting requirements are meant to give the public access to just the kind of information Mr. Siler is asking for. Who paid for these flyers? How much has been spent on them? I believe that failing to file the required reports is a crime in North Carolina.

Is there something less than legitimate about these questions? If Luke Farley is indeed the wrong person to pose these questions to, then why doesn't he just say so?

Actually, now that I have found the DTH article:

I read all this a little differently. Sounds like the group probably is reporting the required paperwork and the real question is who the woman is that tried to trick Epting. Does Mr. Farley know the answer to that question? THe DTH article does not disclose the answer.

In any case, the whole incident speaks to a pathetic level of desperation on the part of some Republican(s). It's sad to see that the democratic process has attracted a member of Student Congress who has so little respect for Democracy. I still think it is quite possible that the woman who tried to trick Epting may have violated North Carolina law.

Ginny, please go ahead and talk to me before saying that I am calling for anyone's head. Or on my cell anytime: 360.8018.

And no, I don't want to be a part of the story. I want to tell the story. Luke Farley is the only identified link to the group involved in the distribution of these pamphlets, so he's the only one who can even begin to explain things. Or he could - as I asked - put me in touch with the person who put this back room group together in the first place.

As for how this turns on Luke...this young woman claimed to be a member of the same Congress in which he is Speaker. He knows her by association with one group or the other. Yes, SHE either broke a rule by campaigning, or lied by claiming an affiliation to which she has no right, but since he knows this person and enjoys a position of authority, I think it is entirely reasonable for him to take action.

What has been done to ensure this is not still happening?

From the indignant tone of the "article" and the forceful use of "repeatedly", it sounds like Dan has been calling the guy every 30 minutes or so.

I certainly respect Epting et al. but I can also understand how two people can come to a different conclusion from the same set of facts. Especially if Farley did not witness anything wrong. Also, I agree that Luke's response definitely wasn't great, but Dan seems to want to be part of the story rather than reporting it. And I still can't figure out how all of this turns on Luke.

I think Dan should probably take Luke's number off of speed dial and let this one rest. Chances are that whoever is involved learned their lesson anyway.

I can see how you're right, that Luke Farley doesn't owe anyone an explanation for the mystery leafletter's behavior. I think, though, he might need to explain why he's calling Bob Epting a liar, which he does in that article more than once. Yes, it's not directly stated, but it's unavoidably the implication of Farley's rather strenuous and paranoid response in the DTH. Bob Epting has been a member of this community, doing good works, for many years. He is well-known to many people in Chapel Hill, and if he is a liar as Farley claims, it's news that will come as a great shock to much of the town. If he has knowledge that Bob Epting is a liar, he needs to come out with it.

Otherwise, he should have shut his trap, and now he owes a good man a public apology.

What isn't clear to me is the role of Dan in all this, and I read the article over and over again to figure out what that was. Dan: I'm not sure _I_ would have answered you if you had asked me a dozen times what party affiliation I claimed. At that moment, I would have thought it none of your business. I understand why you were asking, but I'm not surprised you weren't answered. I also agree with Ginny that he's not obliged to identify anyone else. It may be slimy, but even as described by Bob Epting himself, what she did is no violation of the law. Unethical and wrong, but not illegal.

It sounds to me like Bob Epting did what he ought to have done, and that is he confronted the woman and told her what she was doing was wrong, and then took steps to make sure it didn't happen again. Pending evidence that this behavior was part of a Republican strategy to deceive people, rather than the freelancing of a zealous winghut, I think the story is over. Deep breaths all around.

Having said that, the sniveling response -- that judicial elections are non-partisan, so leave me alone, waaaa -- is no defense when you're a Republican handing out a slate of Republicans who are running for judge, and who also happen to have been endorsed by the Republican Party. (Democrats have done the same.) If you're happy having judicial judges assessed only on their individual merits, then there's no need to create a slate. And slates make no sense unless you identify the slatemaker.

OK, it's late for this old man. That's "wingnut." And, also, if a judge isn't judicial, I can't imagine what else she could be. Cut.

Mystery Non-Democrat Girl may owe people an explanation.

But Luke Farley doesn't. I haven't heard anyone claiming he did anything wrong. He has no responsibility to identify her to you -- especially if he didn't know she was doing anything wrong -- and, if he were going to talk to another news outlet, he probably wouldn't want to talk to one calling for his head on a progressive community board. That's just my guess.

I keep hearing about activist judges, a term that sounds equally inane as 'family values.' Judges by definition have to act. If they don't act, why would they be elected? Please tell me we don't want to pay salaries for someone who doesn't do anything.

Isn't the real problem that it's OK to find in favor of the law or overturn it as long as the decision is consistent with the listener's personal value system.

Republican Commando writes:

> Judges should be chosen based upon who they are
> regardless of their party affiliation.

So, tell me, Mr. Commando, which Democrat do you plan to vote for?

-- ge

In the context of the DTH's article, Mr Farley is referring to either myself or Mr Epting as hostile democratic voters.

I would like to know if that what he meant to say.

I would also like to know who the person was who told me she was an elected member of Student Congress. As Speaker and a member of the group that produced the fliers, Mr Farley, who was speaking with the young woman on Monday, is in a position to identify her.

Is it fair to say that she owes an explanation - at the very least - for why she was campaigning for either political party's candidates while under the mantle of the student congress?

If these are not questions you think are appropriate for the media (and I think it is Most appropriate to have these questions answered publicly) then isn't this something the Ethics Committee should examine?

Is Luke Farley willing to at least set us straight about who is doing what and under whose aegis?


Judges should be chosen based upon who they are regardless of their party affiliation.

Col Acuff said some interesting things regarding activist judges in one of the videos they have on the website

Some of the "liberals" in this hour remind me of the old thing about someone sitting on a limb while they are sawing off the limb that they are sitting on.

Republican Commando
The enemies of our country do not discriminate between Republican and democrat when they are targeting.

No offense, but if I were Luke I probably wouldn't talk to you either. Nobody has to talk to the media, remember!

Besides, he's not the girl who was doing the deceiving, so why would he be eager to be the fall guy?

I dropped the judges an email asking them to call for a quick cessation to this tomfoolery.

Contact information:

* Judge Duke - judgeduke@rustyduke
* Justice Martin -
* Judge Levinson -
* Judge Calabria -
* Judge Bailey -
* Judge Stroud -

Mailto link: MAIL the JUDGES.

The only member of Student Congress out there was Luke. I have no idea who the others were. They might be members of College Republicans, and I don't know if they were using student fee money to print their flyers. Luke has told me that he was asking people if they were voting, not asking if they were Democrats.

Whoever that girl was, and whoever instructed her to ask if people were Democrats, is despicable. The DTH story is incredibly misleading, and more needs to be found out before casting aspersions.

Yesterday when I voted at Morehead (#996 since Oct. 23d), there was a young lady on the edge of the parking lot. She asked me if I was going to vote and I replied that I was. She handed me a small piece of paper that listed Duke, Martin, Levinson, Calabria, Bailey, and Stroud. With the DTH and the WCHL story as background, I asked if the named people were all Republicans. She said that she thought so but their's are nonpartisan races. I asked her what organization she repesented and she said she was just helping her friend who was in class.

Maybe Dan Cote is enrolled at UNC!

I spent most of my trip to Franklin Street last night with Luke Farley and (Democratic activist) Speaker Pro Temp Dustin Ingalls. Granted, we have political disagreements that I don't think we're ever going to get past: after all, Luke was dressed as an illegal immigrant while I was Mark Foley's intern. But a lack of common ground in the political arena is not enough to persuade me that he is completely lacking basic ethical values. Dan, it's my guess that Luke not taking your phone calls had more to do with preoccupation with Halloween festivities than a complete disdain for the media.

That said, I've been following this since it first came to my attention, and it's obvious that something is rotten at Morehead. It sounds awful fishy, and if Luke is responsible, I think that's important to make known. But I think we're lacking some basic information, and I look forward to seeing that before I pass judgment.

Note that I said "If this is true..." above. Sounds like it's at least a fact that the incident happened, it's just not clear who did it, and on behalf of whom.

I'd love to know more about this. Thanks for being on the case, Daniel! (And sorry I missed hearing it on WCHL.)

What a funny loop this is. WCHL broke this story about the young republican (who apparently lied about who she was) and now here it comes round through Jerry Meek.

I will point out that the only person firmly, publicly affiliated with the group distributing the leaflets is Speaker of the Student Congress Luke Farley, who is now refusing to even take phonecalls from this news department.

If anyone sees him, please ask why in the Daily Tar Heel he will make baseless, leading comments casting doubt on our character and Bob Eptings character, yet will not go on the record with us. Or why he won't say who else is in this group? Or who paid for the paper that the leaflets are printed on? (Mr Farley was adamant about not wasting UNC student's money on paper, you will recall)

Is it ethical to hide the identity of a woman who either lied about who she is or used her position in student congress to add some legitimacy to her volunteer campaign?

There are plenty of questions for the Speaker, I will be happy to give him time to answer them.


"Republicans are even dumber (or more desperate) than I thought."

That's kind of a broad generalization Ruby. I know some wonderful Republicans and hope that PROGRESSIVE Orange Co keeps an open mind, and remembers that a few bad apples don't spoil the entire pot.

What's a broad generalization? The "most educated" comment? That should have had a smiley face to indicate it was tongue-in-cheek.


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