NC’s Voter Discrimination Law

Called “Voter ID” but beyond line one, it’s a version of discrimination plain and simple. That’s why it here–it’s title and stated purpose are lies. Pushed through as a deterrent against widespread and undetected voter fraud even long-time Republican Colin Powell has come out against it hammering Governor Pat McCrory for signing it:

“What has come out of the legislature is that fraud is widespread and undetected,” he said. “How is fraud widespread if it’s undetected? How can it be undetected if it’s widespread?”

I’m not against requiring a photo ID to vote. But there are many ways to accomplish requiring ID’s without being discriminatory be it age, sex, ethnicity, or as in this case mostly political leanings. Remember, NC had record numbers of young voters turn out for the 2008 and 1012 elections. How the lines are drawn in the NC law:

Voters must have a photo ID to vote. OK, but a Student ID is NOT allowed–A concealed weapons permit IS allowed. Consider the age and voting demographics for a moment: Students—statistically younger, liberal, educated, ethnically diverse. Concealed Carry Permit–statistically more conservative, more white. (I’ll just stop there) I ask who better to eliminate if your current legislature and governor are mostly wealthy, white, conservatives?

So if we take this train a bit farther—a student ID can be used to buy liquor, it can be used to buy a gun, and it can also be used as an ID in the course of obtaining a concealed weapons permit. Just not for voting. I mean who’d want those young adults actively studying economics, history, art, and business to have a say in the state and national elections anyway? Clearly NOT the cronies in power today. By the way this especially riles me as one of my degrees happens to be from a respected NC institution. (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, North Carolina Wesleyan College)

For a student, what’s the alternative? Any person lacking an ID from the narrow acceptable list can obtain a “free” N.C.-issued card. Sounds great until finding what one has to do to get that ID.

Getting a “free” state-issued ID first requires a trip to a Department of Motor Vehicle’s office, taking with you no fewer than four other forms of identification. One of those IDs must be your original Social Security card or a tax form with your name and Social Security number. How many college students, much less the rest of us, can easily put their hands on that?

North Carolina’s new voter ID law would make thousands of young people, many of whom are first-time voters, have a harder time voting and ultimately may entice them to decide, “Why bother?”

And in this case there is so very much more buried deep in the document making it both harder to vote AND harder to determine just who is funding election campaigns: “In addition to requiring photo ID at the polls, the new law reduces early voting time, eliminates same-day registration, ends pre-registration for minors and stops the state’s annual voter registration drive. The law also scales back public disclosure required for 501(c)(4)s, also known as “dark money” groups.”   [2]

But back to the ID. So many questions but few answers. If there is indeed fraud–a position challenged by Colin Powell, numerous research efforts, and me–then an ID makes sense. I can even accept requiring a photo ID. But even Florida, my current home of record doesn’t get this right. For example:

I have a FL voter ID as required to vote. Gotta have it or I’ll be turned away at the polls. To get it I had to register and prove I was from both the state and the district where I intend to vote. But sorry, not so fast, that won’t do. Why? Because even with all the hoops needed to prove I was who I was and am indeed from where I am from, there isn’t a picture of me on the stinking voter ID. Nope, and yes FL requires a photo ID as well as the state issued voter ID. Well I have one of those too. As a middle class guy who drives, is retired from the military, has Merchant Mariner Credentials, TWIC card etc….I have in fact many. But imagine I was a young man from Miami working my own way through college, riding the bus, living at home to make ends meet. I most likely would not, and voting could become more complicated and frankly more expensive. I would have a student ID which IS allowed in FL. In North Carolina–that option becomes illegal in 2016–adding time and expense. We used to call that a poll tax–illegal. Let’s hope this new voting law in NC gets tossed by the courts well before 2016.

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