Bragging About Suppressing the Vote

When most state legislatures and the political parties and big money donors that call the shots try to implement voter ID laws, they go to great pains to insist that their objective isn’t to prevent people from voting but to prevent vote fraud.

Of course they aren’t attempting to prevent people of color from voting.

Of course they aren’t attempting to prevent low-income people from voting.

Of course, when asked, they also can’t cite any instances of vote fraud in their state, but still, their hearts, they insist, are pure.

Pure as the driven snow.

And about as white.

But the Republican party in North Carolina can’t be bothered with such half-hearted denials.

In the run-up to last November’s election, it told its tale via a news release that boasted that

African American Early Voting is down 8.5% from this time in 2012.  As a share of Early Voters, African Americans are down 6.0%

But why would that be?  Mother Jones explained:

 The decline in early voting among black voters is likely a result of yearslong efforts by North Carolina’s Republican officials and political operatives to impose voting restrictions in the state. Emails obtained last week by Reuters showed that Republican officials pushed successfully to restrict early voting sites and cut down on early voting on Sundays, when many black churches hold “Souls to the Polls” mass voting drives. During a major voting rights lawsuit decided in July, the 4th Circuit Courts of Appeals noted that the state eliminated Sunday voting specifically because the voters who used it were “disproportionately” black and Democratic.

Also,

…17 Republican-controlled county election boards slashed the number of early voting sites they set up, which decimated turnout in their areas. According to an October 26 blog post from insightus, a North Carolina public policy nonprofit group, “the average turnout across these 17 super-suppressor counties is just 69% of 2012’s performance. Meanwhile, voting action across the state’s 83 other counties averaged 124% of 2012.”

And this:

The early voting restrictions were far from the only attempt to limit minority voting in North Carolina. The state passed a strict voter ID law in 2013, causing voter registrations to plummet, before a federal court struck down the law in July on the grounds that it specifically targeted black voters. “We cannot ignore the record evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history,” the 4th Circuit wrote in its decision. GOP operatives also attempted to strike thousands of people from voter rolls through North Carolina before a federal judge barred the moves on Friday, calling the voter removal process “insane.”

Only in America – only in the south – would a political party set out to repress the vote and then brag about its success.

 

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