The Art Pope-backed plan to rig all future elections

Shopping for judges, Voter ID, and other voting restrictions

Facing South has an interesting article up on its website about conservative mega-donor and Governor McCrory’s budget director, Art Pope and one of his acolytes in our state legislature – Rep. Senator Bill Cook – are behind a bevy of bills to restrict voting and end public financing of elections in North Carolina.

Sen. Cook “has spearheaded a set of GOP-backed bills that propose a breathtaking array of restrictions and changes to North Carolina voting,” writes Chris Kromm of the Institute for Southern Studies.

SB 721 would end same-day registration during early voting, cut early voting to just six days, force convicted felons who have served their time to wait five years to vote, and require citizens to show a photo ID to have their vote counted.

SB 666 does some of what SB 721 would do plus levies a tax penalty on parents with college students if those college students decide to register and vote at school and party “poll observers” more rights and opportunities to bully voters.

SB 667 also penalizes parents of children who register to vote where they go to school AND requires said students to change their vehicle registrations.

SB 541 guts North Carolina Public Campaign Financing Fund and the Voter-Owned Elections Fund which provide judicial candidates and candidates for Council of State races (for ex, Insurance Commissioner), respectively, an alternative to special-interest funding.

Why is Senator Cook behind these bills? Art Pope was “instrumental in launching Cook’s political career in 2010,” says Kromm:

“Cook has had the support of contributors with deep pockets, most notably Republican mega-donor Art Pope, who was instrumental in launching Cook’s political career in 2010.

“State campaign finance records show that in 2010, Cook received $16,000 in direct contributions from Pope and his family, the maximum allowed by law. In addition, Cook benefited from more than $79,000 in election year spending from three outside groups backed by Pope: Americans for Prosperity ($22,992), Civitas Action ($11,836.44), and Real Jobs NC ($44,268.75).

“In his 2012 state senate run, Cook benefited from another $9,739.28 in expenditures from Americans for Prosperity, bringing his total support from Pope’s family and groups to at least $104,836.47.” — Chris Kromm, 4/3/13

What do all these bills have in common? “Easing the rules on campaign contributors, tightening access to the ballot box,” answers Kromm.

Read the rest of the story, “Art Pope-backed lawmaker leads push for new voting restrictions in NC” on Facing South, and learn more about the Art Pope empire at