The Attack on Democracy in North Carolina
Republicans don’t want people to vote. Specifically, they really don’t want minorities, colleges students, and the poor voting. If they can suppress these three Democratic leaning voting blocks, they may be able to hold on to their political offices as more of the nation evolves beyond their corporate pandering, austerity promotion and religious, sexual and racial divisiveness. And as the Supreme Court debates the Voting Rights Act of 1965, legislators in North Carolina have passed laws that highlight the reasons we need to uphold the statute.
Over a dozen voter ID and voter suppression laws have been passed in North Carolina since April. Despite a dirth of evidence of voter fraud in the state, the Republican legislature has passed a series of bills that limit voting in the name of this supposed fraud that ultimately targeting minority and poor voters. This kind of voter suppression is exactly why the Voting Rights Act was passed.
First there is HB 451 and SB 428 that would cut a full week from the early voting period. I guess they think that making it easier to vote is a bad thing.
Then there are HB 451 and SB 428 that would eliminate same-day voter registration during the early voting period. Same day registration is for wishy washy people, i.e. Democrats. Thus, Republican dominated North Carolina voted to remove it.
For the faithful voters, there’s HB 451 that would ban all early voting on Sundays. Never mind that Sunday is a day when many African Americans vote and it’s a day off when people have time to vote. It just won’t do. Up to 70% of black voters that voted early voted on Sunday. No wonder the party that received only 6% of the Black vote in last year’s presidential race wants to reduce Sunday voting.
For all those college students that want to vote away from home, there’s SB 666. This clever legislation would prevent parents with children in universities around North Carolina from counting them as a dependents if they vote in a different city as their parents. It’s a poll tax for students voting on campus.
SB 721 requires a government-issued photo ID to vote. That could disenfranchise the 613,000 voters in the state who don’t have the require ID. You guessed it, those disenfranchised are disproportionately minorities and poor people.
- Then there’s this gem, SB 668, that Amends the state constitution to disqualify voters deemed “mentally incompetent.” They can’t get a competency check for gun ownership passed, but a check on a voter’s mental state? That’s a-okay.
These laws are sold as a way to protect the integrity of the vote. As is clear, they are actually passed to protect Republican office holders in North Carolina. In a time of vote suppressing legislation being enacted all over the nation, we need the Voting Rights Act more than ever.