North Carolina had the closest governor’s race in the country in 2008, and only Missouri had a closer presidential contest. Both went the Democrats’ way, in large part because of the unprecedented effort in the state by the campaign of presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Obama campaign had a paid staff of 400 with 47 storefront offices.
The effort included a major push to sign up voters early and get them to the polls – particularly African-Americans and college students of all colors. But the Republican legislature is intent on throwing a wrench into the Democratic machine to make sure there is no repeat next year.
Last week, the House passed a bill cutting the early-voting period from two-and-a-half weeks to one-and-a-half weeks. The legislature is also likely to pass a bill requiring voters to produce photo IDs, a move that will likely especially affect people without valid North Carolina identification.
And the House budget slashes the election budget and freezes federal election money – a move that could restrict money for early-voting polling places.
All of these efforts are likely to hurt Democrats more than Republicans, said MikeMunger, a political science professor at Duke University, who was also the Libertarian Party’s candidate for governor in 2008.
“It’s safe to say that if anybody benefited, it was the Democrats,” Munger said of early voting. “I did a fair amount of campaigning at early-voting stations, and I watched the buses pull up, and I watched people hand out pieces of paper explaining how to vote Democrat. I didn’t see any Republicans doing that. That is what politics is about. Politics is about mobilizing your people. The Obama campaign was brilliant at that.
“This is something Democrats did very well,” Munger added. “This is the Republicans responding to make it a little bit harder to do that.”
Full Article: Bills give 2012 edge to GOP – Christensen – NewsObserver.com.