Good news for NC voters

Amid the pervasive news out of Washington, the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appellate case that ruled the North Carolina Voter ID unconstitutional. This is excellent news for all voters, but in particular African-American, older and college student voters.

Within the law were highly discriminatory provisions designed with “surgical precision” per the US Court of Appeals in the 4th District to infringe upon African-Americans. It was designed to “kick Democrats butts,” so said a Buncombe County GOP leader on The Daily Show, a tape of which was shown during the court case. It should be noted the leader resigned the next day.

When I made reference to this law as “unconstitutional and Jim Crow-like,” to members of the NC General Assembly before it was passed, one of its authors strongly disagreed. My response was simple, “as a 56 year-old white man and former Republican, we both know what this law is about.”

It also attempted to solve a problem that is not significant. Voting fraud is not pervasive as some would let you believe. Numerous studies do not support the claim of more than very small numbers of voting problems. It should be noted that the attempt to discredit our Presidential election through claims of voter fraud was a key part of Russian meddling in October to create doubt.

And, a final key comment is important. The problem we face in our country is not enough people voting. To be such a significant democracy, we don’t have enough citizens participating in the process. We should be doing everything in our power to encourage not discourage voting. And, if voter fraud is such a concern, why did the NC General Assembly not include absentee voting in the law, where there is more fraud (still not a lot) than at the polling sites? The answer is who tends to vote in larger numbers as absentees.

Right now, my strong advice to the NC General Assembly is to not do what they are thinking about, trying to rework the law. The General Assembly has now had four laws passed in the last few years ruled unconstitutional. The solution is stop passing laws that are unconstitutional, not trying to see what you can sneak through.

18 thoughts on “Good news for NC voters

  1. Dear Keith,

    This is great news. i was worried that if this NC law was upheld, that this would have been a harbinger for other republican led states to follow. Now just the opposite is true.
    The goal should be to make it as easy as possible for citizens to vote while insuring that their votes go to their intended candidates.

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, I have the same fear. Unfortunately, the reality is voter suppression remains in the GOP playbook. Just yesterday, Alabama passed two laws. The first on protecting Confederate monuments got the press, but the second was a kinder, gentler form of gerrymandering which the GOP hopes will satisfy the courts after the first attempt was ruled unconstitutional. It was abetted by a white representative who galvanized others with a very racist email. The sad part is this type of cheating has a tended to work in practice and it must be called out for what it is. Keith

  2. Good post, though I am not sure about “the” problem in this country being too few voting! Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million. The problem, one among a great many, is the electoral college, which is an anachronism and needs to be tossed!

    • Hugh, compared to checking minor voter fraud , too few voting is a bigger problem. Yet, gerrymandering, money influence and length of election process are also problems. The electoral college is also an issue. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: For those not in NC, our General Assembly has not been the best ambassadors for the state, with this Voter ID law and HB2 law which took away rights for the LGBT community while making it harder for the transgender community. But, it has been a litany of smaller daggers that have made the most progressive state in the South just another state.

  4. Great news indeed! I agree with you that we need to find a way to get more voters to the polls, but also agree with Hugh, that the electoral college is a huge problem and the only reason the clown is in the Oval Office today. It was designed to prevent exactly the fiasco that happened. Hopefully more and more of the voter suppression laws will be struck down, but as you say, they just re-work them and try yet again. Racism in this country is not ended … I wonder if it ever will be.

    • Jill, the state’s of Alabama and NC need to be called out on these laws. My next email to NC legislators will be this post. I am sure I will get some responses from some. Keith

      • Yes, as do Texas and Mississippi … and others, I am certain. It will be interesting to hear the responses you get to your letter! Be sure to keep us informed!

      • Jill, see my response to “Itsathought” below about Mississippi’s distant past. This was in place until the 1965, but voter suppression still lingers and now is popping up around the country like “whack-a-mole.” Keith

      • Your ‘Whack-a-mole” analogy is PERFECT!!! That is exactly what it feels like … just get one pounded back down into his hole when six more pop up. I was never any good at that game, by the way. 🙂

      • Jill, with the advent of ALEC which provides drafted language for bills, voter suppression can be easily accomplished by cut and paste and we don’t have enough mallets to whack those discriminatory moles. Keith

  5. In France they have automatic voter registration. In other words EVERYONE is automatically registered if they are eligible. And I’m in awe of how perfectly efficient that is.
    It should be like that here. WHY does this barrier exist? We live in 2017, the government know who is a citizen and who isn’t. The most troublesome part of it would be people moving. But again – easy to manage.

    • This would take the politics out of it. I was just reading an article about how Mississippi hindered African-Americans from voting, as an example of how the Muslim travel ban can be a religious restriction without ever using the term Muslim.

      The Mississippi ban from the late 1800’s had laser like restrictions that hit sharecroppers who moved around a lot and included constitution tears and poll taxes. After passing, the percent of African-American voters fell from 70% to 6%.

      • Yes, the south especially has a history of finding ways to restrict African-American voters, and Mississippi & Alabama have been among the worst. It’s time for it to end. I think the automatic registration idea is a great one, but then … under the current administration, I’m not sure I would trust them not to leave out a few hundred thousand whose skin just coincidentally is a bit darker. Still, performed fairly I like the idea. Also like the idea of mandatory voting.

  6. Note to Readers: The Supreme Court ruled against the NC General Assembly again today by upholding a ruling that two voting districts were racially gerrymandered and are unconstitutional. The vote was 5 to 3. This is not just bigotry, this is cheating by the GOP led General Assembly. As an independent, I don’t care which party does this, and Dems have done it as well – it is cheating.

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