Thanks to changes in election laws drawn by Republicans, 454 provisional ballots cast in the May primary in North Carolina were rejected. Those voters weren’t able to register and vote during the early voting period because the GOP legislature eliminated “same-day registration.” Others tried to cast provisional ballots outside their home precincts on Election Day, but that also was no longer allowed.
Bob Hall of Democracy North Carolina said his Durham-based watchdog group looked at thousands of provisional ballots cast in the primary and found those 454 that were rejected because of changes made in 2013.
“These are real people,” Hall said. “These are folks from all walks of life.”
They are not, however, people who attempted to engage in voter fraud, which was the trumped-up reason GOP lawmakers kept citing for changing election laws to make voting more difficult. Most of the changes affected groups of voters more likely to vote Democratic, which is exactly why the changes were made.
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“When they (advocates for the changes) bring up cases of fraud,” Hall said, “they’re talking about cases of three and four and five. This is 450 people who were denied the right to vote in one primary election where you have small turnout. We could have thousands in the general (election).”
So Hall and his group are urging people to check their status at ncelectionconnection.com/ to make sure they are registered at their current addresses, and he’s also encouraging people to vote early to avoid problems on Election Day.
Republicans would like to conjure visions of massive voter fraud, or at least the threat thereof, but the problem isn’t one of any magnitude, and they know it. They’ve changed election laws for political reasons, pure and simple. And that is an outrageous affront to democracy.