Monday, July 29, 2013

North Carolina: New Champ in Voter Suppression Laws

They're at it again. This time it's North Carolina that's leading the nation in voter suppression laws.

Suppressing the votes of minorities, the poor and the elderly has been the Republican goal in many states over the last few years with varying results: in some states it seemed to work, while in others, like in Florida during the presidential election of 2012, blacks, hispanics, young people and retirees refused to give up, causing a backlash to these tactics -- as well as 7 hour waits at the polls.

Now that the Supreme Court has eliminated a major part of the Voting Rights Act (the part that mandates states with a long history of discrimination must first obtain federal permission to make changes to their voting laws), many of these rightwing red states are brazenly enacting the changes to their voting laws that were prohibited until the recent ruling.

And now North Carolina is enacting what's been called "the most sweeping anti-voter law in decades."

Among the changes:
Apparently signing voter suppression laws is fun.
  • Requiring government-issued photo ID cards to vote (but disallowing student IDs, public employee IDs, or those issued by public assistance agencies)
  • Banning same-day registering to vote
  • Prohibiting paid voter registration drives
  • Shortening the number of early voting days
  • Allowing any "vigilante poll observers" to challenge anyone else's right to vote on the spot, and giving them new powers to do so
  • Ending pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds
 Rightwingers who praise these new draconian rules that target mostly Democratic voters claim it's to end "voter fraud."

But guess how much voter fraud goes on in this state? One percent? Two percent? Three percent of the vote?

Not even close.

One-thousandth of one percent. That's right: 0.001%. In 2012, there were 121 allegations -- not proven instances, but allegations -- of voter fraud. That's out of 7,000,000 votes cast.


Rightwing Governor Pat McCrory said last week he'd sign the bill into law, as well as one that drastically limits the number of women's health clinics and abortion clinics. Both voting and having an abortion are legal, Constitutionally-protected rights. But that doesn't mean these far rightwing nutjobs will try to inflict their will on tax-paying Americans by throwing as many stumbling blocks in the way as possible.

So what if you're raped and want an abortion, and the closest clinic is now 300 miles away? So what if you'd like to vote, which is your right, in an upcoming election, but because you live in a minority area, there are half as many voting machines, half as many early voting days, and lines that are 9 or 10 hours long?

The only way to end this problem is to brave those long lines and vote out every Regressive Republican who wants to inhibit any of your Constitutional rights.

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