In January 2018, Tomas Lopez will replace Bob Hall as Executive Director of Democracy NC. Hall, who led the group since it launched in 1991, takes credit for a number of election changes including Sunday early voting, same-day registration, teenage pre-registration and the now defunct public financing of judicial elections. Hall has announced recently that he plans to retire.
Lopez is currently an attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law in New York City. The Brennan Center is a left-wing advocacy organization that has fought voter ID and other election reforms in numerous states.
The Brennan Center has a great deal in common with Democracy NC. Both organizations promote the notion that voter fraud is not a problem and both organizations have a history of questionable research which they and other like-minded organizations rely on to bolster their positions. Case in point, the Brennan Center is widely cited for a 2006 survey they conducted that resulted in the claim that as many as 11 percent of U.S. citizens did not have current government-issued photo identification. Many leftist individuals and organizations used the study to fight election reform. Not surprisingly, other more credible studies and factual data, have determined the number is closer to 1 percent.
Do as I say…
Democracy NC has chosen a new director who will move from New York City to North Carolina and will take up where Bob Hall leaves off – disparaging the good people of our state who believe in election integrity. Lopez will continue, if not ramp-up, the hate-filled rhetoric we’ve almost become accustomed to — calling us bigots because we believe voter ID is a commonsense ballot security measure being the primary example.
Lopez’s bio states that his “work with the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program has placed him on the front lines of research, advocacy, and litigation in voting rights and election issues in the South and around the country.”
It’s interesting that Lopez’s work has focused on the South, since the Brennan Center is located in New York City.
While Lopez is sure to launch campaigns against anyone who believes in election integrity, we should remember that he has been living in a state that requires a voter to have an excuse in order to vote an absentee ballot and is moving to a state which allows all voters to vote an absentee ballot – no excuse needed. He has been living in a state that doesn’t allow early voting – at all, and is moving to a state that allows all registered voters to vote early during a 17-day period leading up to Election Day.
Lopez is also moving from a state that doesn’t allow voters to register and vote at the same time to one of only two states that allow voters to register and vote at the same time during the early voting period.
But wait, there’s more…
Before joining the Brennan Center, Lopez worked for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The SPLC is infamous for its “hate group” map. The map is derived from a list of groups the SPLC deemed hateful. In addition to the growing list of Nazi, KKK and white and black nationalist groups, the SPLC is now targeting pro-family, pro-life and marriage organizations as well as Christian and immigration reform groups to include in their hate list. Today Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, as well as Alliance Defending Freedom and ACT for America are some of the groups that disagree with SPLC’s worldview and are listed among SPLC’s hate groups.
It was 2012, while Lopez was working for the SPLC, when a gunman, inspired by the SPLC, entered the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters in Washington D.C. and shot an unarmed security guard.
The gunman, said he targeted FRC because it was one of the groups on the SPLC hate listunder the category of “anti-LGBT” groups. FRC had recently announced their support of Chick-fil-A for their pro-traditional marriage stance. The shooter said that he intended to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces, and kill the guard.” The shooter pleaded guilty to one count of committing an act of terrorism with the intent to kill, one count of intent to kill while armed, and one federal count of crossing state lines with guns and ammunition.
What will the State Board of Elections do without Bob Hall?…
Perhaps lobbying and local connections is the one area where Lopez may struggle.
Bob Hall is one of the most well-known lobbyists in Raleigh and his relationship with the State Board of Elections is unmatched. In fact, in this Civitas article, (Lobbyist Bob Hall and Gary Bartlett Planned Attack on Republican Legislature), Hall is exposed as the “behind-the-scenes driving force at the State Board of Elections (SBE) – even to mapping out partisan attacks on Republican legislators to the extent that it is hard to tell where the SBE ends and Democracy NC begins.”
In another article, (NC SBE, Who is Really in Charge and who do they work for), Civitas used the public records law to determine how SBE staff made decisions. What we found was a decision process that was heavily influenced — and in some cases directed — by Bob Hall. The actions even included the drafting of materials paid for by taxpayers and the planning of legislative lobbying and media campaigns.
Hall has his influential and powerful connections too. George Soros’ Foundation to Promote an Open Society has granted Democracy NC at least $300,000 over the years. Of course, that amount is nothing in comparison to the more than $15 million that Soros’ affiliated groups, the Foundation to Promote an Open Society and the Open Society Institute, have granted to the Brennan Center for Justice since 2004. Democracy NC and SPLC also have a monetary connection. North Carolina’s own Triangle Community Foundation has donated $52,440 to SPLC since 2004 and more than $450,000 to Democracy NC in the same time period.
Lopez’s background and experience demonstrate that he is up for the challenge of replacing Bob Hall. In fact, some predict he will take Democracy NC’s brand of activism to a new and even more extreme level.
This article was first published on www.nccivitas.org website on October 13, 2017