Engaging in a full-time internship is more common for on-campus MPA students. I figured since I am in between jobs I might as well take advantage of living close to campus and interviewed for positions during the February job fair to fulfill my Professional Work Experience (PWE). Since this internship is not my first work experience (by far!) I am already familiar with the workload an online MPA program adds to a working schedule, but I will admit to feeling envious of my on-campus counterparts who are now on their summer break! Currently I am in week ten of Analysis and Evaluation I and Public Financial Administration.

I am spending my days at Town Hall researching sea level rise and preparing for a dive into grant preparation for the upcoming AFG cycle, and during my evenings I am reading about voter turnout and the impact of the early voting reforms of the past twenty years on voter turnout in North Carolina. Voting data is complex and voter turnout can be influenced by many factors. To understand early voting turnout, it is important to examine trends at the county level because the counties administer the hours and the number of sites available to voters. So, as an exercise for myself and in an effort to connect my two efforts I took a quick look at Carteret County’s early voting.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 established jurisdictions required to seek preclearance for new voting changes due to previously discriminatory practices. In North Carolina, forty counties were listed but Carteret is not one of them, even though many of the neighboring counties are listed (https://www.justice.gov/crt/jurisdictions-previously-covered-section-5). In the 2016 election, the NC African American voter turnout was down in comparison with 2012 and one of the reasons seen for this reduction is the impact of Hurricane Matthew on the polling sites accessible to African American communities. In looking at counties affected by Matthew, Carteret County saw no reduction in the African American turnout in comparison to the 2012 election (http://www.insight-us.org/blog/african-american-early-voting-is-way-down-in-north-carolina-why-is-that/). The more I learn about this Down East corner of North Carolina, the more I see that is unique. Carteret County is an outlier – both in the geographic sense and in the statistical sense.

 

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