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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Joe Marusak, The Charlotte Observer

STATESVILLE, N.C. — Two undocumented immigrants living in Statesville received a birth certificate for their newborn daughter on Monday, nearly two weeks after the couple was denied one for what the office called a lack of valid documentation.

Rolando Acosta and Virginia Lopez Garcia were originally denied a birth certificate by Iredell County Register of Deeds Matt McCall, a decision that prompted a protest outside his office earlier Monday by 20 members of El Cambio, a Mocksville, N.C.-based immigrant rights organization.

“Undocumented! Unafraid!” the protesters chanted in Spanish and then English. They sang the civil rights era anthem, “We Shall Overcome,” and held placards saying, “Fire Matt McCall.”

McCall faces Republican Kimberly Harrell in a primary contest May 6. Crystal Mayes has filed as a candidate for register of deeds as a Democrat.

The protesters were joined by Iredell County commissioner Renee Griffith, a candidate for county clerk of court. While she strongly opposes illegal immigration, she said, the couple’s baby was born in Iredell County and “is as much a U.S. citizen as Mr. McCall’s newly born son.”

McCall issued the birth certificate after the couple, carrying newborn Sharon Esther Acosta Lopez, walked from the rally and into McCall’s office with a document from Iredell Memorial Hospital certifying the birth.

“Thank you to God,” Acosta said later through a translator. He also thanked the Rev. Sifredo Rivera, the Statesville minister who helped the couple.

McCall said the couple hadn’t presented the hospital certificate the first time they applied. But Rivera told The Charlotte Observer that the couple, who he said are undocumented, had shown the hospital certificate to McCall the first time. He said McCall told them he was denying them the birth certificate because “they have no legal status in the United States.” Rivera said he also was present the first time the couple went to McCall’s office.

McCall said he never made that statement. “We have issued birth certificates to foreign citizens with valid documents,” McCall said. “We issue thousands of birth certificates, if they have valid documents.”

Acosta, who said he is a factory worker who has lived in Statesville for at least 10 years, said he had presented a Mexican Consulate card and a nonvalidated passport the first time he and his wife applied.

Neither is a legally valid form of identification, McCall said.

After issuing the couple the birth certificate, McCall denied certificates for two other women, who are members of Rivera’s church, who had only those forms of identification. McCall urged them to return with their children’s hospital certificates.

McCall showed news reporters on Monday a copy of the state statute showing which forms of identification he can legally accept. A register of deeds official in neighboring Catawba County said her office has the same photo ID requirements.

“We’re just trying to make sure we’re in compliance with state statutes and protecting against identity theft,” McCall said.

Photo via Flickr

Many Democrats are getting nervous about the upcoming presidential election. Ominous, extensively reported articles by two of the best in the business—the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin and The Atlantic's Barton Gellman—outline Boss Trump's plot to keep control of the White House in 2021 no matter how the American people vote.
Trump is hardly making a secret of it. He's pointedly refused to commit to "a peaceful transfer of power."

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," is how he answered the question. He added that after we "get rid of the ballots"—presumably mail-in ballots he's been whining about for weeks--"there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation."

Of course, Trump himself has always voted by mail, but then brazen hypocrisy is his standard operating mode. If you haven't noticed, he also lies a lot. Without prevaricating, boasting, and bitching, he'd be mute. And even then, he'd still have Twitter. He recently tweeted that the winner "may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED" because mail-in ballots make it a "RIGGED ELECTION in waiting."
Gellman gets this part exactly right in The Atlantic: "Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
"Trump's invincible commitment to this stance will be the most important fact about the coming Interregnum. It will deform the proceedings from beginning to end. We have not experienced anything like it before."
No, we haven't. However, it's important to remember that Trump makes threats and promises almost daily that never happen. Remember that gigantic border wall Mexico was going to pay for? Trump has built exactly five miles of the fool thing, leaving roughly two thousand to go.
His brilliant cheaper, better health care plan? Non-existent.
On Labor Day, Boss Trump boasted of his unparalleled success in strong-arming Japan into building new auto-manufacturing plants. "They're being built in Ohio, they're being built in South Carolina, North Carolina, they're being built all over and expanded at a level that we've never seen before."
Not a word of that is true. Two new plants, one German, another Swedish have opened in South Carolina, but construction began before Trump took office. Auto industry investment during Barack Obama's second term far exceeded Trump's. His version is sheer make-believe.
But back to the GOP scheme to steal the election.
First, it's clear that even Trump understands that he has virtually no chance of winning the national popular vote. He's been polling in the low 40s, with no sign of change. To have any chance of prevailing in the Electoral College, he's got to do the electoral equivalent of drawing to an inside straight all over again—winning a half-dozen so-called battleground states where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by the narrowest of margins.
At this writing, that looks highly unlikely. The latest polling in must-win Pennsylvania, for example, shows Trump trailing Joe Biden by nine points. That's a landslide. Trump's down ten in Wisconsin, eight in Michigan. And so on.
So spare me the screeching emails in ALL CAPS, OK? Polls were actually quite accurate in 2016. Trump narrowly defeated the odds. It can happen. But he's in far worse shape this time. Furthermore, early voting turnout is very high, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one.
Hence, The Atlantic reports, "Trump's state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for post-election maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states."
The plan is clear. Because more Democrats than Republicans are choosing mail-in voting during the COVID pandemic, Trump hopes to prevent those ballots from being counted. Assuming he'll have a narrow "swing state" lead on election night, he'll declare victory and start filing lawsuits. "The red mirage," some Democrats call it.
"As a result," Toobin writes, "the aftermath of the 2020 election has the potential to make 2000 look like a mere skirmish." With Trump in the White House urging armed militias to take to the street.
Mail-in votes take a long time to count. Things could definitely get crazy.
True, but filing a lawsuit to halt a Florida recount was one thing. Filing suits against a half dozen states to prevent votes from being counted at all is quite another. Public reaction would be strong. Also, winning such lawsuits requires serious evidence of fraud. Trumpian bluster ain't evidence.
The Atlantic reports that GOP-controlled state legislatures are thinking about sending Trumpist delegations to the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote winner—theoretically constitutional but currently illegal.
Fat chance. If that's the best they've got, they've got nothing.
Anyway, here's the answer: Vote early, and in person*.

[Editor's note: In some states, receiving an absentee ballot means that a voter can no longer vote in person* or may have to surrender the absentee ballot, including the envelope in which it arrived, at their polling place. Please check with your local election authorities.]