More on NC’s horrible new voting law

Dahlia Lithwick has written a great piece on NC’s horrible new voting law proposal (honestly, the Voter ID is only the half of it).  Coolest part?  She ran it by me (and even took some suggestions and gave a shout out on FB) before publishing.  Now that made my week.  Really good stuff.  Some highlights (really, lowlights):

Indeed, North Carolina has just put in place a vote suppression regime that can only really be described as political performance art. Here is the proposed new elections omnibus bill. It drastically reduces early voting, does away with same-day voter registration, weakens the disclosure of so-called independent expenditures, disenfranchises felons and the “mentally incompetent,” authorizes vigilante poll observers, and penalizes families of college students who vote out of state.

The voter ID component of the bill is probably the most draconian in the nation. It cuts to seven the forms of permissible identification. If it passes, no county or municipal government or public employee IDs will be valid proof of voter identification. Nor will any photo ID issued by a public assistance agency, or any student ID from any college. The new voter ID rules will hit African-American voters, women, and Democrats hardest. Theindispensable Ari Berman sums up the aggregate effect as follows: “According to the state’s own numbers, 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.” And the scourge of voter fraud in North Carolina, at which the proposed law is directed? Between 2000 and 2010 there have been two cases of alleged voter impersonation. In that period three people also ate pop rocks and died.

While the General Assembly allocated $1 million in the budget to implement the new voting regime, estimates of the actual cost range from $3 million to $20 million. It is the voters themselves who will soon be paying for the privilege of being denied the vote.

OMG how I love that pop rocks line.  The rest of the piece does a great job of putting this in context of the Supreme Court’s horrible VRA decision.  Read it, you should.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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