An affront to democracy
June 22, 2012 2 Comments
As if there could be any doubt that Republicans are far more interested in reducing turnout than in actually having fair and efficient elections, this is just utterly depressing:
Five months away from Election Day with marquee races for president, governor and dozens of other offices, North Carolina legislators have again voted to slash the battleground state’s election budget — a move that will cause N.C. to forfeit $4 million in federal funds and which election watchdogs fear could make voting more chaotic this fall.
The budget just passed by Republican lawmakers includes $102,000 in cuts to the N.C. State Board of Elections, which oversees the state’s voting systems.
That’s on top of a $660,000 slashing of the Board’s budget in 2011 for a critical state agency whose core operating budget for running elections had been just under $3.5 million a year.
That means that the state election board will have less money to train poll workers, maintain voting machines and other measures to keep elections running smoothly.
It also triggers a more damaging blow to election funding: By failing to maintain a level of core election spending outlined by the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, it will also cause North Carolina to forfeit $4 million in federal funds to improve voting systems in the state.
Insisting that voters have photo ID to stop the mythical voter identity fraud? You bet. Actually spending money to make sure elections operate as smoothly and fairly as possible? Wouldn’t want to do that. Free and fair elections are at the absolute heart of democracy and the Republicans’ willingness to play games with this is truly, absolutely disgusting.