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In this Robeson County town, high school seniors say they don’t plan to vote

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  Samere Yates sees plenty of problems in his hometown of Fairmont, a town of 2,500 residents in the southern end of Robeson County.  “Everyone here winds up shot, dead or in jail,” said Yates, 18. “There’s just nothing here. It’s terrible.”  But Yates, who will graduate this month from Fairmont High School, doesn’t see any solutions to his community’s woes coming …Read more Continue reading In this Robeson County town, high school seniors say they don’t plan to vote

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Judge denies petition in Robeson County election bribery case

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier denied an appeal in a case alleging voter bribery in Robeson County’s primary election, an attorney involved in the case said Wednesday.   The ruling by Rozier, who had not filed an order explaining his decision as of Thursday morning, means Robeson County Commissioner Judy Sampson’s slim victory in the March 5 Democratic primary will …Read more Continue reading Judge denies petition in Robeson County election bribery case

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Gambling, immigration, education among priorities for lawmakers in NC’s Border Belt

By Sarah Nagem sarahnagem@borderbelt.org State Sen. Danny Britt says video gambling is one of his top priorities for the current legislative session — and although top Republican leaders have said casinos likely won’t be considered, he’s not giving up on the idea of an “entertainment center” with a casino in southeastern North Carolina.  The Republican-led legislature could decide whether to legalize video slot machines during …Read more Continue reading Gambling, immigration, education among priorities for lawmakers in NC’s Border Belt

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In rural Scotland County, voters say candidates must show up to gain their support

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  When Scotland High opened in the late 1960s as an integrated school, Marie Willis’s cousins, who are Black, got into fights with white students. Her cousins were expelled, while the white kids faced few consequences. Then, North Carolina civil rights attorneys Julius Chambers and Adam Stein stepped in and got the expulsions reversed.  It’s a story that has stuck with Willis. …Read more Continue reading In rural Scotland County, voters say candidates must show up to gain their support

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Two Robeson County commissioners are accused of bribing voters in primary election

By Ben Rappaport and Paul Woolverton This story was co-published by The Assembly, CityView and the Border Belt Independent. Update: Superior Court Judge Hoyt Tessener issued a temporary pause April 23 on the election results between Lacy Cummings and Judy Sampson. A hearing is scheduled for April 29 in Raleigh. Two Robeson County commissioners are accused of bribing at least 21 voters in the March …Read more Continue reading Two Robeson County commissioners are accused of bribing voters in primary election

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Protested election in Bladen County is a reminder of past troubles

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  An election dispute following the March primary highlights ongoing criticism of the electoral process in Bladen County, which made national headlines six years ago amid ballot-harvesting accusations.       The Rev. Keith Graham lost the Democratic primary for the Bladen County Board of Commissioners’ District 1 seat by 31 votes on March 5. He filed an election protest, calling for a new election …Read more Continue reading Protested election in Bladen County is a reminder of past troubles

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Columbus County elections board likely violated state law. Here’s what to know

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  The Columbus County Board of Elections likely violated state law by revising its plan for statewide runoff elections without properly notifying the public.  Here’s what to know about the board’s actions, along with some context about the board’s history and the upcoming runoffs.  Why are there runoff elections? In North Carolina, a second-place candidate can call for a runoff election if …Read more Continue reading Columbus County elections board likely violated state law. Here’s what to know

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‘Vote in hope of change’: education, community concerns top voter issues here

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org Before heading to the polls, Theresa Guyton gets on a group call with every member of her family. They sort through each office on the ballot — from president, to state auditor and everything in between. Each person is assigned a different race to research prior to Election Day, then they confer and decide who earns their vote.  This primary was …Read more Continue reading ‘Vote in hope of change’: education, community concerns top voter issues here

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Anti-establishment success: takeaways from the 2024 primaries in southeastern NC

By Ben Rappaport  benrappaport@borderbelt.org   While Super Tuesday didn’t yield many surprises in the high-profile races for North Carolina, voters in the rural southeastern region of the state distinguished themselves in important ways. Most notably, they opted for “anti-establishment” candidates in both parties, many of whom campaigned in the region showing a need for increased engagement of rural voters in the lead-up to the election in …Read more Continue reading Anti-establishment success: takeaways from the 2024 primaries in southeastern NC

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‘Feel more pain’: southeastern NC is at the heart of a 30-year public education fight

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  For 28 days, Angus Thompson has been undergoing intensive radiation therapy at UNC Health Southeastern in Lumberton. The treatments have left him tired and he now walks with two canes for support. But the fire hasn’t left the 72-year-old retired public defender. Neither has the fervor in his booming voice. He’s a presence that demands attention and a listening ear when he …Read more Continue reading ‘Feel more pain’: southeastern NC is at the heart of a 30-year public education fight