Monday, July 29, 2013

North Carolina Bill Aims to Make Voting Harder

I've said it before, Voter ID laws sound reasonable. I mean, you need ID to rent a car, or even a tuxedo. You need ID to cash a check, to get a library card, for all kinds of things, and we don't give it much thought. But here's the problem with Voter ID laws: they weren't created to stop voter fraud, they were created to prevent "undesirables" from voting. The fact is, the people most likely to not have ID (which includes an amazingly high number of voters) are disproportionally likely Democratic voters. In unguarded moments, several prominent conservatives and Republicans have even admitted as much.

Voter fraud is vanishingly rare in the United States, and North Carolina is no exception. But I hear you, you think it's a reasonable requirement. Though this ID had better be free, and had better not be difficult to obtain, or it is the equivalent of a poll tax. And if the passage of one of these laws is so urgently important, I'd say there ought to be a broad campaign to educate the public about exactly what they'll need in order to vote. That would only be fair, right? Except in places where these things tend to pass, that sort of assistance rarely seems to happen.

Add to that, that Voter ID itself isn't the only thing being passed here. There's a whole list of things on deck to complicate or restrict current voting rules. They want to cut early voting times. They want to stop pre-registering 17-year-olds who are soon turning 18. They want to complicate voting by college students. They want to repeal same-day registration. They want to ban straight-ticket voting.

Whatever you think about the individual parts of the bill, the fact is, this is an effort to make voting harder. What's amazing to me is that there doesn't seem to even be a cover story for why they're doing it. As with the huge list of restrictions and regulations (regulations from conservatives!) on abortion clinics that exist simply to make abortion harder, this voting bill is just trying to reduce the number of likely--mostly Democratic--voters. It's as plain as day.

And that--my dear Republican friends--should piss you off too. You've got an organized movement at the state level by the GOP to skew election results just by preventing voting by a group of people. It's not really "winning," it's cheating. And it's amazing to me that they don't even have to present even a bullshit reason for why they're doing most of it.


Voter ID bill raises controversy in North Carolina

Republican Leader Berger rejects the notion that his party is trying to suppress the Democratic-leaning black and youth vote. "Absolutely not," he said. "I am concerned the people are talking about substantial problem with this that I don't agree exists."

State-issued IDs, which now cost $10, will be free in the future, according to the bill. State Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr., the Democratic Deputy Minority Leader, tried to stop the reforms he called "draconian. . ."

Read more at: CBS News

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