On Voter suppression in NC

Loved this quote from State Senator Josh Stein in a nice HuffPo piece about out new election law:

Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, suggested Republicans are concerned about facing voters after passing a budget he said hurts public education to enact tax cuts that favor the rich.

“If you all have self-confidence that your agenda is the right agenda for the state of North Carolina, then let’s open the doors of the polling place to as many as we can and the people will ratify it,” Stein said. “But if what you are doing is limiting who can vote in elections, what you are telling me is that you don’t have self-confidence. What you are doing is shameful, un-American, and shows everyone in North Carolina whose side you’re on – and it’s not theirs.”

And this American Prospect piece by Arby Rapoport that puts the law in the full historical context of early voting is truly excellent.  A terrific piece if you really want to understand the issue and the background.  To wit:

It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the voting bill currently hurtling through the North Carolina legislature. What the Republican-dominated body calls a “Voter Protection” bill has a laundry list of provisions, almost all of which make voting harder for the general population and disproportionately hard for voters of color, young voters, or low-income people. “The types of provisions are not unheard of,” says Denise Lieberman, senior council for the voting rights advocacy group the Advancement Project. “What’s unheard of is doing all them all at once.” Lieberman calls the measure “the most broad-sweeping assault on voting rights in the country.” She’s not exaggerating…

“Voter suppression” may be an overused term on the left, but in this case, it’s hard to imagine what else to call a bill with so many provisions designed to create barriers to the ballot box…

In fact, many of the “liberal” election measures Republicans want to roll back—in North Carolina and elsewhere—began as bipartisan efforts. Republican attempts to roll back early voting are particularly ironic. It was actually lawmakers in conservative Texas who, in 1985, proposed that voters be allowed to cast ballots before Election Day. The initiative wasn’t controversial, let alone partisan; when it passed by overwhelming margins, newspapers barely considered the bill news. The idea was to make voting easier and, some hoped, increase turnout among those with inflexible work and child-care schedules who have trouble making it to the polls on Election Day…

Until the 2008 presidential election, Democrats and Republicans across the country were equally inclined to vote in person ahead of Election Day. The Obama campaign’s aggressive promotion of early voting changed that; in 2008 and 2012, it was used disproportionately by African Americans. That has triggered Republican suspicions and turned a reform endorsed by both conservatives and liberals into an object of GOP ire.

The article also links to an excellent piece by Richard Hasen discussing whether this might actually backfire against Republicans.  I suspect that the disenfranshisement efforts are so pervasive the answer will be “no” but I think the backlash effect will certainly diminish the effects.  Americans really don’t like it when you purposely try and make it harder for them to vote.  Heck, it’s basic psychology.  Tell somebody they can’t do something and they want to do it all the more.  In coming elections every college student and every Black person will be well aware that Republicans don’t want them to vote.

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Photo of the day

Love this historical photos of WWII-era NYC in Behold.

6_85722d_TroopShipUSCoastGuard (2)

Crowded ships brought American troops back to New York Harbor for months after V-Day.Official U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the New-York Historical Society

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