In a cascade of cynical ratfuckery that absolutely nobody could have predicted when the SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act a month ago, a bill making its way through the North Carolina Senate will impose all sorts of beautiful new restrictions on voting, because apparently North Carolina is having a buy one, get eleventy free sale on terrible legislation this summer. Whoever’s double dog daring Republicans to enact awful laws in North Carolina, could you please just stop now?
For North Carolina’s fabulous new voter suppression package, requiring photo ID is just the start. Really, so many states have that now, and while nearly 10% of the state’s voters lack photo ID, that still leaves lots of people who might still be able to cast ballots! North Carolina has a menu of other vote-suppressing measures straight out of Karl Rove’s wet dreams! ThinkProgress has a handy list:
Eliminating same-day voter registration and cutting early voting by a week. Early voting and same-day registration make voting convenient. As everyone knows, convenience equals fraud.
Ending pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds and repealing a requirement that high schools conduct voter registration. Kids these days have all kinds of crazy ideas, and making it convenient for them to register to vote only encourages them to think they have a say in government.
Only permitting people to vote in their specific precinct, so that if someone shows up at the wrong precinct, their vote will be disqualified. In urban areas, where a single building can account for several precincts, this should lead to a lot of votes being thrown out or never cast in the first place. Funny how that works out!
Making it easier to challenge a voter’s eligibility. Groups trying to challenge voters now only need to find challengers who are registered in the same county as the person they challenge. Challengers previously had to be from the same precinct. So if you want to vote, you have to go to precisely the right spot. If you want to stop someone from voting, close enough is just awesome.
Increasing the number of poll watchers who can hang around — possibly lurk, or even loom — at polling places to keep an eye on the suspicious types who think they should be allowed to vote. It’s strictly Bring Your Own Billyclub, though.
Prohibiting counties from extending voting hours if there are long lines or other unusual contingencies. On top of that, it will now be harder to assist elderly or disabled voters with satellite polling places, for instance at nursing homes. Voting is for triathletes, not the infirm!
Oh, and just to balance things out, while voting will become a lot harder for some folks, the inalienable rights of corporations and big donors will actually be strengthened, as maximum campaign donations will be raised and disclosure of where the money comes from will be relaxed, for freedom. But three programs for public funding of elections — including one for judicial elections — will be terminated, because if you can’t buy a judge, are you truly free?
Now, there’s no need to get all het up about these measures being a naked power grab designed to insure a permanent electoral advantage for the GOP. If people don’t like these laws, they can simply elect a legislature that will repeal them. If they can find an open polling place where they can convince someone that they’re qualified to vote.