Voter photo ID bill aims to kill... the Democratic vote
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, April 12, 2013 12:04
The voter photo ID bill that Republicans are pushing through the North Carolina General Assembly is part of an aggressive campaign to disenfranchise eligible voters who disproportionally support Democratic candidates.
In North Carolina, a rising number of Latino, African-America, young and especially young female voters represent a structural disadvantage for conservatives and Tea Party candidates. Republicans in the Tar Heel state, and around the country, are facing the hard reality of changing demographics and diminishing returns.
To be blunt, much of the older, white male Republican voting base is dying out while Democratic voters are growing in participation and population.
How do ultra-conservative legislators choose respond? Could a growing number of races be indicative of a messaging problem? Of values? Of principle? Gerrymandering? No.
The state’s Republican leadership created a quick-n-easy three-step solution to suppress progressive voters in the electorate: (1) pretend there is an epidemic of voter fraud, (2) “reform” in-person voting rules to require a state-issued photo ID and (3) as a result of this voter disenfranchisement, watch the white, male votes roll-in.
The first part is interesting because the “epidemic of voter fraud” does not actually exist. According to News21, a nonpartisan investigative journalism project sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation and the Knight Foundation, there have been 2,068 allegations of fraudulent votes in the entire country since 2000–during which period over 600 million ballots were cast for three presidential elections.
In reality, consistent with the Department of Justice findings under President George W. Bush, mail-in ballots attributed to almost all of the attempted fraud.
In short, actual in-person voter fraud is negligible. Let this sink in: there were only 10 instances of voter fraud out of 600,000,000 ballots.
So, why are Republicans reforming in-person voting laws and not mail-in voting laws? Answer: elderly conservative voters tend to prefer mail-in ballots while Democrats tend to vote in-person at early registration/voting.
As a young white male from middle-class suburbs, the second part–requiring government-issued IDs–sounds reasonable to me. I have the privilege of operating a car with my state driver’s license. However, what’s lost in the debate is that voting is a Constitutional right and that right is infringed with this latest voting impediment.
Democracy NC uses a recent study by the State Board of Elections to show the disproportionate impact of a photo ID requirement on various groups of voters.
Youth are 13 percent of active voters (and growing), but 16 percent lack a state photo ID. Blacks are 22 percent of all active registered voters, but 31 percent lack a state photo ID. Women are 54 percent of active voters, but 66 percent lack a state photo ID.
The thrust of this data is that 43 percent of active voters are registered Democrats, only 53 percent of which have a state-issued photo ID.
With these types of voter suppression tactics, Governor McCrory, House Speaker Tillis and New Hanover County’s own Senator Goolsby would join company with the very same regressive thinkers who developed such “empowering” practices as the literacy test, poll tax and land ownership requirement.
This blatant disregard for a fundamental right to vote is characterized by Southern Coalition for Social Justice attorney, Allison Riggs, when she said, “What I’m not okay with is disenfranchising eligible voters. One legitimate voter turned away is too many.”
When any North Carolinian is denied the right to vote, democratic integrity is at stake.
Thank Gov. McCrory for abandoning our most basic ideals for a better crack at the ballot box.