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CJ politics week in review, Sept. 21-25

Each week, staff at Carolina Journal looks back at the week in N.C. politics and chooses several interesting, relevant stories you may have missed.

School choice support: A new poll shows broad support for the Opportunity Scholarship Program across the political spectrum. Civitas Institute, a conservative public policy organization, released a Sept. 23 poll which shows Republicans and Democrats approve of the program. Nearly 70% of respondents said they view the vouchers favorably compared to 18% who oppose it. A little more than 50% said they were less likely to support a candidate who wants to get rid of the program. Only 18% said they were more likely to support a candidate who wanted to do away with the Opportunity Scholarships. The poll surveyed 612 likely N.C. voters from Sept. 17-20. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.96%. 

Small business relief: Small businesses suffering from COVID-19 could receive financial help from the N.C. Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief program. Gov. Roy Cooper announced the program has $40 million to help small businesses pay for mortgage, rent, or utility payments. A small business can receive upwards of $20,000 in relief funds per qualifying location. Eligible businesses include amusement parks, bars, museums, dance halls, and indoor movie theaters. Many of the eligible businesses aren’t permitted to open under Cooper’s COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Supreme Court shortlist: Hendersonville native Allison Rushing is on President Donald Trump’s shortlist to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. Rushing currently sits on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. She was appointed to the position a little over a year ago. Rushing graduated from Wake Forest University and earned her law degree from Duke University in 2007. While she was in law school, Rushing interned for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nonprofit focused on religious freedom. 

Flu shot: Students, faculty, and staff returning to the University of Charlotte will have to get a flu shot before they step on campus. In-person instruction will begin again at UNC-Charlotte on Oct. 1. While the move may seem unusual, the university has to take extra steps to protect the campus because of COVID-19, UNC-Charlotte Chancellor Sharon Gaber said in a video. Flu season typically begins in the fall and runs through the winter. Health experts have warned of a possible twindemic, with COVID-19 and the flu spreading through communities at the same time. UNC-Charlotte students, faculty, and staff have until Nov. 16 to attest that they’ve received the shot or qualify for an exception.

Vote with confidence! Researchers at Duke University foundno evidence that local [N.C.] administrators allocate precincts and polling places in a manner consistent with partisan manipulation for electoral gain.” The study covered voting sites from the 2008-16 election cycles, including the period after 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court modified the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The study, published online in Election Law Journal, noted that the state had closed or moved voting sites. But the moves didn’t appear to make it more difficult to vote or have any clear partisan bias.