Another Look at North Carolina’s Voter Suppression Bill

Rethuglican legislators in many red states have been trying hard to keep the “wrong kind” of voters from the polls ever since the SCOTUS gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act; that unfortunate decision,¬†Shelby County v. Holder, came down in June of 2013.

There have been so many regressive laws passed since that decision which were calculated to keep the a large segment of Democratic base from participating in elections — Presidential elections — in particular. One of the most notorious and far-reaching of those bills came out North Carolina in July of 2013. HB 589 was hastily passed with very little public comment and was immediately challenged. Although it was originally upheld on appeal, last month the Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit struck down HB 589 saying — among other things — that it was crafted “with surgical precision” to keep African Americans from voting in North Carolina.

I first blogged about the decision striking down this accursed bill on July 29th. That posting was entitled Strict Voter ID Law Overturned by Appeals Court; you can view it by clicking on the category American Life and Politics without having to scroll back through four months’ worth of posts.

This is really a follow-up to highlight an excellent WaPo article by William Wan which lays out the larger story about how this hellish¬†bill came to be; I found it to be a very good and detailed piece and recommend to anyone who has an interest in North Carolina’s Voter ID law or voter suppression techniques in general. You can read it by following this link.

Now that we’re a mere 62 days away from a truly monumental Presidential election we need to remain on-guard. The Republican Party knows that a huge chunk of the American electorate — and the courts — are onto their game. We can’t afford to sit idly by while they do their damnedest to disenfranchise voters they don’t like on election day.

 

Strict Voter ID Law in NC Overturned by Appeals Court

A decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found that North Carolina’s 2012 law requiring a picture ID at the polls is unconstitutional. The law took away a week of early voting as well.

Seventeen states in all have enacted laws restricting voting since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Right Act in 2013. And, in every case, the Republican legislators who pushed through the changes said it was all about preventing voter fraud and most certainly was not about suppressing voter turnout among minorities. They were lying. And it didn’t take long for the Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit to figure that out.

The NAACP–which brought the suit–and the U.S. Justice Dept were pleased with the ruling. Pat McCrory, the Republican governor of North Carolina, was not.

Those who actually want Americans to be able vote are hopeful that the ruling may bode well for lawsuits pending in other circuits against similar state laws. Suits are underway now in Virginia and Texas among others. Of course, it may never be known whether today’s ruling will have any effect; one can only hope.

It certainly will have an effect on voters who wish to vote on November 8th but do not have a Driver’s License. It will be an unabashedly good thing for people who were hoping to vote early.

Voting is a precious right in American and one upon which the health of our democracy depends. And it’s a very good thing that appeals courts are making it tougher for state legislatures to deny or limit that right.

To read an in-depth article about today’s Appeals Court decision, follow this link.