This week, the North Carolina legislature will almost certainly pass a strict new voter ID law that could disenfranchise 318,000 registered voters who don’t have the narrow forms of accepted state-issued ID. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the bill has since been amended by Republicans to include a slew of appalling voter suppression measures. They include cutting a week of early voting, ending same-day registration during the early voting period and making it easier for vigilante poll-watchers to challenge eligible voters. The bill is being debated this afternoon in the Senate Rules Committee.
Here are the details, via North Carolina State Senator Josh Stein (D-Wake County):
If anyone had any doubt about the bill’s intent to suppress voters, all he/she has to do is read it. The bill now does the following:
*shortens early voting by 1 week,
*eliminates same day registration and provisional voting if at wrong precinct,
*prevents counties from offering voting on last Saturday before the election beyond 1 pm,
*prevents counties from extending poll hours by one hour on election day in extraordinary circumstances (like lengthy lines),
*eliminates state supported voter registration drives and preregistration for 16/17 year olds,
*repeals voter owned judicial elections and straight party voting,
*increases number of people who can challenge voters inside the precinct, and
*purges voter rolls more often.
Meanwhile, it floods the democratic process with more money. The bill makes it easier for outside groups to spend on electioneering and reduces disclosure of the sources. It also raises the contribution limits to $5k per person per election from $4k and indexes to amount to rise with inflation.
The bill even eliminates Citizens Awareness Month to encourage voter registration, notes Brent Laurenz, executive director of the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Voter Education. Because god forbid we encourage people to vote! The proposed bill eliminates nearly all of the democratic advances that made North Carolina one of the most progressive southern states when it comes to voting rights and one of the top 15 states in voter turnout nationally, guaranteeing there will be longer lines at the polls, less voter participation and much more voter confusion.