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Updates from North Carolina’s election day and Colorado’s last minute push for civil unions

Amendment One Community/Meta Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Polls opened in North Carolina this morning at 6:30 a.m., and voters in the state will now spend the day choosing presidential and gubernatorial candidates, as well as deciding the fate of the discriminatory and anti-gay Amendment One. Voting will be open in North Carolina throughout the day until 7:30 p.m., and we will have live news updates and election results here on Prop8TrialTracker.com.

Even though today may seem like a waiting day, there is still work to be done! Earlier, Caitlin Alesio Maloney, Courage Campaign’s Data Director, sent out the following email to Courage’s members:

This is it: Election Day on anti-gay Amendment 1 in North Carolina. It’s all hands on deck, and even Pres. Clinton has recorded phone calls to get out the vote. We CANNOT afford another loss at the ballot on marriage. Will you pick up the phone and remind opponents of Amendment 1 in North Carolina to go to the polls?

Adam, I’m on the ground in Raleigh with other Courage staff and volunteers, and the field director just handed me a list of 38,783 Amendment 1 opponents that the campaign has not been able to remind to vote. Let’s plow through this list and help put the campaign over the top! Please, take two hours, an hour, or even thirty minutes right now to pick up the phone and remind our supporters in North Carolina to vote against Amendment 1. This is too important to sit on the sidelines. Here’s everything you need:

Call Out the Vote “CallFire” Training
Defeat Amendment One Talking Points
Out-of-state Script

Calling tool info:
callfire.com
Campaign ID (Enter in upper right corner “Agents Login”) — NEW CODE: 5222209
Passcode — cpncf

If you have friends who want to get involved, hit the “Forward” button and send them this e-mail! It contains everything they’ll need to make calls. If you have any questions please email Anthony@couragecampaign.org.

We can continue to reach those nearly 40,000 no votes today, and in what’s likely to be a close and competitive race, that could make all the difference. If you have any time today, please join us in reaching out to these likely voters. I just spoke with Caitlin about our progress so far, and she told me that out-of-state volunteers have already made over 30,000 phone calls, and that it looks like we will have made at least 50,000, and hopefully many more, by the end of voting today.

In addition, we have heard reports out of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Raleigh, three core areas of anti-Amendment One sentiment, of precincts handing out incorrect ballots. In North Carolina, 17-year-olds can vote in primary elections provided they turn 18 by the November 6 election, but they cannot vote on Amendment One since they are not of voting age for this election. Because of this, they receive ballots that do not have Amendment One on them.

Unfortunately, it appears that some people over the age of 17 are being handed ballots that are missing Amendment One in what should be major anti-Amendment One districts. If you live in North Carolina and have experienced this problem, or know someone who has, it is of the utmost importance to call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and report the issue. We will follow this story as it develops.

Today is also a nail-biter in Colorado, where passage of a civil unions bill could come down to a photo finish. The state legislature’s session ends tomorrow at midnight, and unless a vote is taken before then, the vote dies.

The civil unions bill has had a roller coaster ride through the Colorado Legislature so far: it passed the state Senate in late April with bipartisan support, and was then approved by the same House committee, Judiciary, where a similar bill died last year. The bill then cleared the Finance committee with one Republican supporting the measure, and, according to Denver political reporter Eli Stokols, was “read across the desk” of the Finance committee’s chairman, freeing it up for a final committee vote today in the Appropriations committee. Because the Republican vicechairwoman of that committee has said she would vote for the bill, it is guaranteed passage to the house floor–but only if it is brought up for a hearing by Rep. John Becker, the chairman of Appropriations.

In essence, what this all comes down to is a game of timing and, potentially, political stonewalling by Republicans. According to the Denver Post, at least five House Republicans have announced they will vote for the bill on the House floor, meaning that the votes are there both for the final committee vote and the final floor vote. But first, the chairman of Appropriations must hold a hearing on the bill today, and then House Speaker Frank McNulty must bring up the bill for debate in the full chamber by tonight. According to Stokols, the House calendar released yesterday did not include an Appropriations hearing. Nevertheless, Colorado Public Radio reporter Megan Verlee wrote on her Twitter account that the civil unions bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Mark Farradino, was told by House GOP that Appropriations would meet today, although it was unclear whether the bill would be on the agenda.

In an editorial published today, the Denver Post excoriated House Republicans for using “parliamentary gimmicks” and exhibiting “obstructionist behavior.” If the bill isn’t passed by the end of the session tomorrow, the paper wrote, Gov. John Hickenlooper should call a special session of the legislature. Republicans are in a lose-lose situation here–even if they let the bill die, they could face defeat in such a special session, and they would be inviting Democrats to make the easy and spot-on argument that the Republican leadership stonewalled a civil rights bill that was essentially guaranteed passage.

Just as in North Carolina, we have work to do today. It’s time to put the pressure on the Colorado House’s Republican leaders, and urge them to bring civil unions up for a full and fair vote. Rep. John Becker, the chairman of the Appropriations committee, can be reached at 303-866-2906, while House Speaker Frank McNulty can be reached at 303-866-2346. If you get a chance, give them both a call, and urge them to do the right thing.

As always, check back here at P8TT for updates throughout this exciting day!

UPDATE 1 (11:15 a.m.): Megan Verlee reports that Rep. Becker has confirmed to Rep. Ferrandino that the civil unions bill will be heard in the Appropriations committee this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. local time.

UPDATE 2 (11:45 a.m.): The Denver Post has more.

Update 3 Scottie Thomaston:: There are reports of problems with ballots. Some voters are not being given ballots with amendments on them. Huffington Post’s Gay Voices reports:

All, we’re getting reports here in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Raleigh (which are base areas for us, e.g. anti-Amendment 1) of precincts handing out INCORRECT ballots. In North Carolina, 17-year-olds can vote in the statewide primary (e.g., for governor, etc.) if they turn 18 by November 6th. However, they CANNOT vote on Amendment 1 in this primary — they can only vote for candidates — therefore they are being handed ballots WITHOUT Amendment 1. That is proper election procedure.

The problem is, the reports we are getting are that people OVER 17 are also being handed these ballots WITHOUT Amendment 1 in what would normally be heavily anti-Amendment 1 precincts (Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Raleigh). We are working on testimonials from voters who have experienced this — in the meantime, if you report on Amendment 1, PLEASE ask readers to call 1-866-OUR-VOTE if they experience this in NC, or know someone who did. That will enable the campaign’s field team to investigate and correct this as soon as possible.

PLEASE if you are seeing similar issues, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE immediately. And please leave comments in this thread if you are seeing any issues.

UPDATE 4 Scottie Thomaston: North Carolina news outlets now reporting on ballot issues:

LAWNDALE — Three Cleveland County voters accidentally received ballots that didn’t include Amendment 1.

County Elections Director Debra Blanton said three people at the Mulls precinct on Belwood-Lawndale Road were mistakenly given ballots for 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before November’s general election.

UPDATE 5 Scottie Thomaston: GetEQUAL is asking for calls to voters against Amendment 1 today:

;

UPDATE 6 Scottie Thomaston: Another report on voting issues from inside NC. Again call 1866OURVOTE if you run into problems.

UPDATE 7 (4:40 p.m.): The Clorado House Appropriations Committee is about to start a hearing which will include consideration of a civil unions bill. The bill is scheduled to be the committee’s fifth item of business. You can listen to a live feed of the hearing here; the committee meeting will be held in the Legislative Services Building Hearing, Room A. Megan Verlee reports that the committee room is packed, and sponsors are concerned the GOP may stall the bill with amendments. The bill must be passed by the Appropriations committee and heard by the full House by midnight tonight in order for a final vote to occur tomorrow before the legislature’s session runs out.

UPDATE 8 (5:05 p.m.): Colorado Rep. Claire Levy tweets that Republicans in the Appropriations committee are wasting time on bills that have no chance of passing to run down the clock on civil unions. The committee is currently debating an eVerify bill that is dead on the House calendar. Apparently, even Rep. Cheri Gerou, who previously vowed to vote the civil unions bill out of committee, is playing along. Democrats who had walked out of the hearing in anger were forced to return, so that GOP members couldn’t call up a vote on the civil unions bill that would fail without those members’ votes.

UPDATE 9 (5:35 p.m.): It appears that each bill is taking about 10-15 minutes to discuss. Eli Stokols tweets that Rep. Becker just announced that there are now 7 bills in front of the civil unions one. Before, it had been fifth on the schedule.

UPDATE 10(6:25 p.m.): Now, after all the delay, the Appropriations committee is finally considering the civil unions bill.

UPDATE 11(6:45 p.m.): An amendment offered by Rep. Looper to add broad religious exemptions to the bill passed 7-6, eliciting gasps from the room. There was confusion earlier that such an amendment would mean the bill would die without adequate time to be reconsidered by the Senate. It appears that was incorrect, and that there will be time for the Senate to consider the bill again. The amendment could also be stripped by the full house. Nevertheless, this certainly is a bump in the road. Republican Rep. Gerou, who said she would vote the bill out of committee, voted yes on Looper’s amendment.

UPDATE 12(6:55 p.m.): Another religious exemptions provision, this one for therapists, has passed. In a speech, Rep. Gerou says she thinks Rep. Ferrandino will have will have the votes to remove the amendments on the House floor.

UPDATE 13(7:05 p.m.): Big news: the Colorado House Appropriations committee has passed the civil unions bill, with one Republican, Rep. Gerou, joining Democrats. Two potentially poisonous amendments were added to the bill. It now moves to the full House floor.

45 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. DaveP  |  May 8, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Just noticed that update about Colorado at the end of the article – great news! Anybody know if there is any kind of live feed for watching or listening to the hearing at 1:30?

  • 2. Straight Dave  |  May 8, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Give this a try http://www.coloradochannel.net/

  • 3. Straight Dave  |  May 8, 2012 at 9:43 am

    This may be a more useful audio link, but today's hearing has not been posted yet, since it apparently just got agreed to this morning. You might want to keep an eye on it for the next couple of hours to see if a new event appears at the top. http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012A/cslFr

  • 4. Bob  |  May 8, 2012 at 10:32 am

    WOW,, Woot Woot,,,,, you guys are amazing,,, love all the effort ,,, down to the wire feet on the street, talking by phone,,,, you're working it,,,,, this is an amazing thing to watch,,,
    no one can say you didn't go down fighting,,,,, your efforts have already educated millions,,,,, watching the vote and hoping,,,, at the very least the margins will narrow,,,, but I'm hoping the good people of N.C. will get the message,,,,,,

    thanks C.C. for an excellent effort,,,,,, people everywhere will learn from this, with very much to take away,, as the battle continues in other states,,,,,

  • 5. Reformed  |  May 8, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Voter suppression? Is this being done deliberately by nefarious poll workers?

  • 6. erasure25  |  May 8, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Why is it that every case of voter infringement you read about always works out to be anti-progressive? At some point you have to call it for what it is — conservatives/Republicans use illegal, unconstitutional, and anti-American tactics to undermine elections at the voting booth and strip people of their civil right to vote freely. I'm sure there is a memo buried in some Republican email inbox that outlines strategies for covertly using voter suppression techniques to win elections.

  • 7. Seth from Maryland  |  May 8, 2012 at 11:33 am

    no matter what happens today in NC , i know everyone on here will wake up tomorrow more determined and ready to fight, because all of you on here are dedicated to winning this fight, WE WILL WIN THIS FIGHT

  • 8. Jacob Combs  |  May 8, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Here's the main page for the Colorado General Assembly's audio feeds:
    http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012a/cslFr

    The Appropriations Committee will be meeting in the Legislative Services Building Hearing Room A. The bill would then have to be debated on the House floor.

  • 9. Gregory in SLC  |  May 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I hate the Pro Amendment 1 sticker: (man) + (woman) = REAL Marriage It reminds of blacks not being REAL humans (only 2/3 human) UGH.

    @ http://www.shelbystar.com/articles/lawndale-64045

  • 10. Michael Scott  |  May 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Well said, Seth.

  • 11. AnonyGrl  |  May 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Over on the NOMblog, one of the NOMbies is, typically, twisting the whole ballot thing around. His point seemed to be that since WE don't want our rights to be voted on at all, we should be OK with voter fraud excluding some voters from being ABLE to vote. Of course he does not address the issue that the fraud seems to be happening in districts where we would win.

    I wish I could point out to him (if I were not blocked) that THEY are the ones that want the people to have a vote… does the hypocracy ever end over there? Apparently no, lying for God is still in full swing.

    Argh.

  • 12. AnonyGrl  |  May 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    You know it! We win some battles and lose others, but we are going to win the war. Civil rights (and love) ALWAYS win in the end. Always.

    Love you guys lots!

  • 13. Kate  |  May 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    They finally blocked you???? Took them long enough!

  • 14. smiley7  |  May 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Provisional voting on campus in NC mountains is huge, hope…

  • 15. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Gregory, wasn't it 3/5ths of a man? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Fifths_Comprom

  • 16. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    We shall overcome some day.
    If not today then soon. But we WILL!

  • 17. Sagesse  |  May 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    @

  • 18. Gregory in SLC  |  May 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    yes…you are correct SG….tx for looking up : )
    My blood just gets boiling at the stupidity of this all. What a different world If I could decided for everyone if straight marriage should be allowed based on my sincere belief that gay marriage is best and true for me.(and therefore best for EVERYONE)

  • 19. karen in kalifornia  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Colorado Civil Union Act of 2012 = SB12-002.

  • 20. fromdamoon  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    If NOM stood for the truth and a free discussion of ideas, they would not censor postings like they do. I have not been allowed to post one thing on their page, despite the logical and respectful wording of my comments. I wonder if the NOM followers realize what kind of censorship occurs on that website, and the distorted ideas that result from that censorship.

  • 21. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I read on P8TT the other day a Colorado GLBT activist live tweeting, and i can't find who that is. Anybody know who that is? I would like to follow this on Twitter.

  • 22. Michael Scott  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    This guy seems to be covering it: https://twitter.com/#!/Johnschroyer

  • 23. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks I am following it now, mega thanks

  • 24. Michael Scott  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Several tweeters reporting that the bill is dead. They said at least one amendment to the bill has been approved, which kills it. But, one tweeter saying, "They just passed the amendment, 7-6. Might be able to be changed back on the floor, though. If it gets there."

  • 25. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Colorado from Tweet-
    They just passed the amendment, 7-6. Might be able to be changed back on the floor, though. If it gets there

    Passed in Committee

  • 26. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Sh*t! oh they added and amendment to it which then kills it. I misread the tweet I'm afraid.

  • 27. Michael Scott  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Maybe not. Read the latest update above.

  • 28. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    These are Bullsh*t arguments coming from elected representatives!! Here read this one-
    Gardner: priests could get into license arguments with the state if they have to perform marriages that they oppose.
    Dan Savage is right, Pansy Assed!

  • 29. karen in kalifornia  |  May 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    The amendment which got tacked on is the Colorado equivalent of Rhode Island's Corvese Amendment tacked onto that state's civil union bill. It gives religious institutions (schools, hospitals, social agencies, etc) AND individuals associated with the mentioned the right to IGNORE any civil union. So far since last fall only a total of 46 CUs have registered with RI. I mean why bother? There goes those public accommodation laws. This amendment legalizes religious based discrimination. Too bad.

  • 30. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    okay another tweet
    Gerou, by the way, said she thinks Ferrandino has the votes to strip the amendments out on the floor

  • 31. karen in kalifornia  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Passes out of committee with religious exemption amendment as far as I can tell.

  • 32. Bob  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    that's a heck of a lot of farting around with wording, in order to accomodate the religious right wingers,,,, who are playing politics instead of practicing the teachings of Jesus,,,,,,,,

  • 33. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Well let's hope we can get those amendments voted out on the floor some how

  • 34. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Half an hour until the polls close in North Carolina

  • 35. karen in kalifornia  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    That would be State Rep Marsha Looper from a Colorado Springs adjacent district. The "Looper Amendments", not only religious exemption but social service (state registered therapist) exemptions. Poison.

  • 36. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I have checked around all day and nobody seems to be doing any exit polling in NC.

  • 37. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I wanted to find out what happened in California. There was a hearing today at 2:30pm to ban "reparative Therapy" for minors.
    This was from 2 hours ago but it doesn't say what happened http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/08/calif-could-

  • 38. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I am following this twitter for the California Hearing news. Don't know if it is a good one to follow but I have to start somewhere https://twitter.com/#!/search/Equality%20Californ

  • 39. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    This guy seems to be in the hearing room and tweeting
    Seth Bramble

  • 40. Str8Grandmother  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Darn! I can't find anybody tweeting about the anti NARTH legislation. I am thinking Bramble is there for a different piece of legislation. He is not really tweeting about it.

  • 41. Straight Dave  |  May 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Colorado House has resumed after their break. The order of bills to be taken up is not known to me, but the pace is pretty quick. They look like they want to get their work finished.
    I'm watching live video at http://coloradohouse.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php

  • 42. johnfromco  |  May 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Colorado Senate has called a recess to try to kill it. What cowards. They are using my family for political points in Colorado Springs.

    A very sad day indeed. Dang it, 9th Circuit: Just fricking rule on the darn appeal so that we can win in the courts.

  • 43. johnfromco  |  May 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I meant Colorado House.

    They are back in session. Let's see if they show any courage now.

    Of course Nikkel is trying to hold up the whole thing refusing to vote on adopting a committee report. Go figure.

  • 44. johnfromco  |  May 8, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Too late, they just ajourned. Nasty, nasty people.

  • 45. johnfromco  |  May 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    (for what it's worth Nikkel is a good gal – she voted for us – she saw what was coming)

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