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Gov. Cooper Statement on Proposed GOP Cuts to Voting Access

RALEIGH

Today, Governor Cooper released the following statement on Legislative Republicans’ proposed voting restrictions and cuts to early voting:

“Here they go again. After being stopped by the Courts for discriminating against African Americans with ‘surgical precision,’ this Republican legislature is once again reducing access to the ballot box. We should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder.”

Greenville Daily Reflector: Constitution should favor all, not one political party
By The Editorial Board
June 17, 2018

“About a year ago, state Republican leaders vowed to retaliate in response to a painful rebuff from the U.S. Supreme Court, which had just refused to review a lower court ruling striking down the Legislature’s 2013 discriminatory voter ID law.

[…]

GOP lawmakers should be keenly aware of why the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law in 2016. And knowing that, perhaps enough of them will be convinced that the racially-motivated provisions included in the 2013 law to prevent primarily black residents from casting ballots was a misguided act, and never the best path forward for North Carolina. Also, they should consider that continuing to press for laws that discriminate will only further tether the state GOP image and brand to regressive policies that divide our state.

The 2013 law, as characterized by the 4th Circuit Court judges in their 2016 decision, targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision” with the intent to limit their voting power during elections. The reason, of course, is because most blacks in North Carolina are registered Democrats who typically, though not always, support Democrats. Hence, what better way to limit both black voting power and Democrats from being elected, than to pass laws that prevent or discourage blacks from voting — which is what the GOP-driven 2013 law was designed to do?

When the contested state law finally reached the federal court, the justices saw right through it, and rightly struck it down as discriminatory.

[…]

Voting laws that protect the integrity of elections and support public confidence in the principle that every vote counts, should be based on facts, have a wide public appeal and should be considered for the betterment of all residents — not to advantage or disadvantage political parties. As written, the current legislation doesn’t come close to reaching that bar. Until it does, it has no place in the state constitution.”

Read the full column here

Asheville Citizen-Times: Beware the slashers at the NC voting booth
By Laura Meadows
June 17, 2018

“Republican leaders of the NCGA have typically worked with “surgical precision” to keep folks - mostly black folks - from voting. This summer, however, they’re legislating like villains in a low-budget slasher film.

Their victim this time are voters who use the state’s popular Early Voting period. Wielding Senate Bill 325, they’ve slashed early voting in all 100 of the state’s counties, affecting all voters, whether Republican or Democrat, black or white, urban or rural.

[…]

It’s as if the Republican leadership has been so intent on restricting access to the ballot for so long, they just cannot stop. Like zombies they move forward, making it harder for people to vote, this time by senselessly killing off some of the most used early voting hours, in addition to efforts to revive voter ID and gerrymander the judiciary.
Jason and Freddie would be so proud.”

Read the full column here

Fayetteville Observer: Voter ID plan best taken with a grain of suspicion
By The Editorial Board
June 17, 2018

“We thought, at first glance, that this might be the voter reform measure we could get behind. A simple yes or no: Do we have to show photo ID at the polls or not? No other complications, no other stunts, no sneaky measures to cut down on the Democratic vote while leaving the door open to Republicans.
Based on legislation that was filed while the General Assembly was considering a voter ID constitutional amendment, we’d say we were needlessly optimistic. There’s still plenty of treachery and trickery afoot.

[…]

So, what’s the harm? Well, it’s this: The final Saturday before the actual election is one of the most popular early-voting days for African-American voters. Cutting that Saturday out may well cut the black vote. Anyone need to guess which party most African-American voters are registered in? Yup, Democrat. There they go again, trying to restrict the black — and hence Democratic — vote, with what one federal judge in another voting case called “almost surgical precision.”

Different place, same tricks. Whether it’s with gerrymandering or with voting rules, the Republican majority in the General Assembly remains committed to doing everything it can to cut the Democratic vote, even if that means resorting to racial discrimination. It’s no wonder so few African Americans are interested in joining the GOP.

[…]

Given this latest attempt to alter early voting, we’re finding it hard to trust voter ID efforts, or anything else related to voting reform. Before a voter ID goes on the ballot, we want lawmakers to debate and enact the comprehensive rules and guidelines that will govern how the ID process will work.

Until that happens, we’re all wise to be suspicious.”

Read the full column here

Winston-Salem Journal: Voter ID is still a bad idea
By The Editorial Board
June 10, 2018

“A bill submitted to the state House on Thursday seeks once again to raise the issue of requiring North Carolina voters to show photo identification at the polls, the Journal’s Richard Craver reported last week. This, despite the legislative failures of pushing such bills in the past. It’s like a zombie idea that keeps lumbering along and refuses to die.

The bill’s initial version says nothing about what kind of photo ID would be required — at this stage, it only calls for voters to decide whether the state constitution should be amended to require photo ID at the polls.

[…]

We do have voting problems in this state — voter suppression and Russian attempts to interfere in our elections. The state legislature has done nothing about those. Instead, they’re following their partisan pattern of trying to retain power at the expense of fair elections. It’s past time to let this zombie die.”

Read the full column here