Roy Cooper

Boxes of absentee ballot requests sit at the Durham County Board of Elections office in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

The two Republican members of North Carolina's state elections board have resigned after signing off on a legal settlement to alter absentee ballot rules for this fall.

This year, North Carolina voters will make crucial decisions at the polls that could impact state politics and laws for at least the next decade.

In addition to casting their ballot in the race for the White House, North Carolinians will also vote in statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate, the state attorney general, the state supreme court, and U.S. House races.

This week:  Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham had their first debate. The Democrat's answer to a hypothetical question about the COVID-19 vaccine caught some attention. 

On the reopening front, Gov. Roy Cooper announced elementary schools could welcome back all their students soon — as long as they wear masks and practice social distancing. Meanwhile Cooper's opponent, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, said face covering requirements would be dropped come January if he were to win the governor's race.

Offering insight and making their debut as our commentators are Aisha Dew of Higher Heights and Clark Riemer, former chair of the North Carolina Young Republicans and a staffer in the state House.
 


Side photo of a North Carolina Public Schools bus.
NCDOT Communications

North Carolina elementary schools will soon be allowed to return to daily, in-person classes, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday.

School districts will be allowed to welcome back kindergarten through fifth grade students at full capacity, if they choose.

Donald Trump, Winston-Salem, Rally
Evan Vucci / AP

A crowed political rally hosted by President Donald Trump put people’s health at risk, but was legal under state pandemic rules that exempt certain gatherings where people exercise free speech, a spokeswoman for North Carolina's governor said Wednesday.

Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is ready to make changes to his orders prohibiting certain retailers from opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

A proposed budget plan issued this week by Governor Roy Cooper could set up some battle lines for this fall's General Election.

Cooper has issued a budgetary wish list as lawmakers return to Raleigh next week. The legislative session was scheduled so lawmakers could address the allocation of nearly $1 billion in COVID-19 federal relief funds.

Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to share an update on COVID-19 and share his budget proposal.

Watch live, here, starting at 3 p.m.:

UNC-Chapel Hill covid masks
Gerry Broome / AP

As North Carolina college students return to campuses to resume in-person classes, universities are providing infrequent coronavirus updates with wildly different levels of transparency.

Meanwhile, two schools in the University of North Carolina System reported new COVID-19 clusters.

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are scheduled to hold a media briefing on COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Watch here, live, beginning at 2 p.m.

This week: American political history was made as Joe Biden introduced U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in the presidential race. Her presence on the ticket might impact voter turnout in North Carolina. Then again, it might not.

Meanwhile, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest dropped a lawsuit against his gubernatorial opponent, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Mitch Kokai of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield from NC Policy Watch discuss those developments, plus: what Postmaster General Louis DeJoy means for 2020, and signs of relief for North Carolinians who are still out of work.


Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are scheduled to hold a media briefing on COVID-19 on Thursday.

Delegates at the scaled-back Republican National Convention later this month in Charlotte, N.C., must wear masks, and the GOP plans to track everyone's movements with badges equipped with Bluetooth technology.

The special badges will allow officials to find out whom they came in contact with if someone later gets sick from the coronavirus, said Jeffrey Runge, the convention's health consultant.

That will make contact tracing easier, he said.

This week:  Governor Cooper criticizes President Trump and Lt. Governor Forest over their pandemic responses. And close to 150,000 voters have requested absentee ballots for the November election. This week a federal judge ruled that a witness requirement will remain in place, however, voters will have a chance to correct administrative errors on their ballots. Becki Gray and Rob Schofield discuss Cooper's criticisms, the latest in mail-in balloting, as well as a troubling video released by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department. 


N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

When K-12 public school students in North Carolina resume classes this fall, the vast majority of them will be sitting at home in front of a computer screen.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Updated at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020

Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to regain hurricane strength by the time it makes landfall later tonight. 

Zhang / Flickr/Creative Commons

Alcohol sales hours at restaurants, breweries and distilleries in North Carolina will have a curfew starting Friday night.

Liquor, Whiskey
BJ McCray, via Creative Commons / https://bit.ly/39vcp8F

Liquor sales in North Carolina jumped 12% during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, according to data from the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

Cheesecakes by Alex
Cheesecakes by Alex / Cheesecakes by Alex

With indicators of the COVID-19 outbreak in North Carolina trending in the wrong direction, Governor Roy Cooper hit pause on the state's reopening last week.

Some restaurants and eateries in Guilford County, where COVID-19 cases are on the rise, are closing their dining rooms again.

NCDCR, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wikimedia

This story was updated at 9:07 p.m. on Aug. 14, 2020.

While the Confederacy lasted just a bit longer than four years, its memory has lived on for lifetimes in the form of historical markers, the names of streets, counties and towns, its flag and monuments.

This week in state politics: More remote learning became a reality this week when Gov.  Roy Cooper announced North Carolina public schools will not return like normal next month as COVID-19 cases have been on the rise.

Rob Schofield and Becki Gray discuss the governor's choice to recommend a mix of online and in-person schooling for K-12 students. 

Meanwhile, the latest campaign finance reports show Democrats are building a financial advantage. And in Asheville, city council members unanimously voted to provide Black residents with reparations.

 


N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

North Carolina teachers, parents and students — as well as gym and bar operators — are anxious to know what Gov. Roy Cooper will say about the path ahead with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week in state politics: North Carolina lawmakers failed to override the governor's vetoes so that gyms and skating rinks that were shutdown because of the pandemic could reopen. But in court, a group of bowling alleys won their argument that they're no riskier than resturants operating at limited capacity. 

Meanwhile, the tension over how Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is calling the shots during the COVID-19 emergency brought an abrupt end to a meeting of top state elected officials. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation discuss those developments, plus record-breaking fundraising in the U.S. Senate race, and one early outcome of protests over police misconduct. 
 


NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

The Republican-controlled General Assembly again fell short Wednesday in overriding several of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes. The unsuccessful votes for the GOP mean directives within the governor's COVID-19 executive orders that keep many businesses closed remain intact.

Bowling
https://bit.ly/38BZy3X / LibraryatNight via Creative Commons

A state judge has ruled that dozens of bowling alleys can reopen in North Carolina, provided they adhere to capacity limits and rules for sanitation and face coverings.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper sits for an interview with WUNC in the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Cooper addressed the opiod crisis affecting the state.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a broad health measure late Monday because it contains a provision that addresses the confidentiality of death investigation records. Opposition to the item has served as a rallying cry for demonstrators for racial justice outside the Executive Mansion for days.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest speaks to members of the media during a news conference in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, June 29, 2020. Forest plans to sue Gov. Roy Cooper over alleged violations of the state Emergency Management Act during the coronavirus pa
Gerry Broome / AP

President Donald Trump has endorsed the Republican who is aiming to deny Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper another term.

Jay Price / WUNC

Two Civil War cannons that were at a Confederate monument in Raleigh are now at Fort Fisher.

The Wilmington Star News reports that the naval cannons arrived Sunday after they were removed with the monument they were part of on the orders of Governor Roy Cooper earlier this month after they were vandalized.

John Bazemore / AP

The owner of a North Carolina racetrack advertised “Bubba Rope” for sale in a social media marketplace just days after a noose had been found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top division, at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers finished most of their work for the year early Friday, setting another Medicaid overhaul date, funding a monument to honor African Americans and trying again to reopen businesses shuttered by Gov. Roy Cooper due to COVID-19.

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