North Carolina’s Voter ID law, a clear attempt — along with curbs on early voting — to suppress the votes of young people, the elderly and minorities who might be inclined to vote Democratic, was struck down by a federal court this year. But that’s apparently not going to dissuade Republicans now in charge in the General Assembly from having another go at it.
The campaign of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, in an increasingly futile attempt to reverse his defeat at the hands of Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, has filed various complaints regarding the voting of felons or deceased people along with alleged irregularities in places that went Democratic. The watchdog group Democracy North Carolina found a number of the campaign’s claims to be false. So the governor has been rebuked and his complaints have come to little as the counting of provisional ballots has only boosted Cooper’s lead to something around 7,000 votes. A small margin, to be sure. Approximately 4.5 million votes were cast.
So far, it appears only a relative handful of problems have been found with votes despite the governor’s campaign claims that there may be substantial fraud of one kind or another.
But even a slender reed is enough for House Speaker Tim Moore to grasp as a reason for lawmakers to move again to establish voter suppression laws, first among them Voter ID. “The fact,” he says, “that there are a number of protests related to the election at least make it an issue that it’s something that needs to be dealt with.”
Republicans have from the beginning of their crusade to require voters to present a photo ID at the voting place raised all sorts of faulty logic comparing it to the requirement of companies for customers to present ID when using a credit card, or to conduct other sorts of business. But those things are choices connection to commercial transactions. Voting is a right, period. It is not granted with a list of requirements or caveats.
What their campaign is really about is transparent. The young, the elderly, the low-income and some in the minority community may not have conventional driver’s licenses or another photo ID. And in those groups are larger numbers of people inclined to vote for Democrats.
Republicans have tried to conjure all sorts of visions of massive voter fraud. The problem is, there is virtually no fraud, and they know it. But that doesn’t matter to GOP leaders, who have approached governing since taking control five years ago as an opportunity to skew elections in a way that benefits them, from redistricting (also challenged successfully in court) to trying to change the district lines in local races to help Republicans to Voter ID. It is an insult to democracy and a waste of the public’s money.