Tuesday, August 13, 2013

NC claims voter suppression championship, faces lawsuits

North Carolina is No. 1 -- in voter suppression. Gov. Pat McCrory ensured that yesterday when he signed into law legislation that makes it harder for the poor, minorities, young people, seniors and the disabled to vote.

He was a protester at a July Moral Monday rally in Raleigh, N.C.
It's back to the future for voting rights in North Carolina.
Two separate lawsuits were filed in federal court just hours after the governor signed the measure, and a third is expected to be filed in state court today. Meanwhile, Rep. G.K. Butterfield is asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to weigh in to protect voting rights in North Carolina.

Following the lead of a repressive Legislature that also gutted unemployment benefits, Medicaid and education spending this year, McCrory inked a measure that supposedly cracks down on illegal voting in the state. Problem is North Carolina has only had two such cases between 2000 and 2010, as Ari Berman points out in The Nation.

The facts, however, are irrelevant to those behind the effort. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushed the entire corporate-empowerment agenda approved by state lawmakers this year.  The Legislature’s attacks on working people in North Carolina sparked a backlash as thousands have joined weekly Moral Monday demonstrations. More than 900 protesters have been arrested since April for acts of civil disobedience. The governor and his cronies -- such as state budget director and campaign money-man Art Pope -- have succeeded in disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of state voters who noticeably tilt against the political party that instituted the changes:
316,000 registered voters don’t have state-issued ID; 34 percent are African-American and 55 percent are registered Democrats. Of the 138,000 voters without ID who cast a ballot in the 2012 election, 36 percent were African-American and 59 registered percent Democrats. The new [law] does not allow student IDs for voting, and would charge $10 to obtain an ID unless a voter signs a form saying they cannot afford it under penalty of perjury, making it among the most restrictive laws in the country.
Already, there are signs that the suppression of voting in the state is being implemented at the local level. The Wataugh County Board of Elections jammed through changes yesterday that closed a polling place on the Appalachian State University campus, even though the move creates a super-precinct that is more than double the size of the next largest one.

The decision brought shouts and boos from the 60 people in attendance and disgust from one board member, Kathleen Campbell. She opposed the move and said she was not told of the plan beforehand.
You can’t just come in here like gangbusters. You guys are really out of line.
Well said.