Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina didn’t like our recent editorial that criticized the state for abandoning its traditions of racial equality, strong public schools, and economic fairness. He wrote a letter to the editor saying he was leading the state to a “powerful comeback.” That’s demonstrably untrue when it comes to the economy and the schools. But as yesterday’s events in the state capital showed, one thing is making a comeback: an old habit of suppressing the votes of minorities, young people and the poor, all in the hopes of preserving Republican power. Freed of federal election supervision by the Supreme Court, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that combines every idea for suppressing voter turnout that Republicans have advanced in other states. Rick Hasen, an election-law expert at the University of California, Irvine, called it “the most sweeping anti-voter law in at least decades.”
The law requires a government-issued photo ID card to vote, but doesn’t allow student IDs, public-employee IDs, or photo IDs issued by public assistance agencies. It shortens the early voting window, bans same-day registration during early voting and prohibits paid voter registration drives. Counties will not be able to extend voting hours in cases of long lines, or allow provisional voting if someone arrives at the wrong precinct. Poll “observers” are encouraged to challenge people who show up to vote, and are given new powers to do so.
None of this has anything to do with fraud. Out of 7 million ballots cast in the state in 2012, there were 121 allegations of voter fraud, a rate of .00174 percent. Republicans aren’t even claiming the measure will reduce fraud — only that it will provide reassurance to those who worry about it. It “would make nearly three-fourths of the population more comfortable and more confident when they go to the polls,” House Speaker Thom Tillis explained to NBC News.
Full Article: North Carolina: First in Voter Suppression – NYTimes.com.