WTF, North Carolina!?
No, seriously — WTF!?
For three months, North Carolinians have been protesting the mustache-twirling levels of evil being perpetrated on them by a Republican-controlled legislature that is hell-bent on turning North Carolina into an apocalyptic wasteland that will eventually collapse under the weight of the outrageous conservative policies being jammed down North Carolina’s throat and fall into the ocean.
For eleven straight weeks, North Carolinians have protested a wide range of fuckery that Republicans have been implementing: craptastic abortion restrictions hiding in bills dealing with sharia law and motorcycle safety; cutting unemployment benefits, forcing those without a job in a state that has the fifth worst joblessness rate to live on bupkis; increasing taxes on middle- and lower-income taxpayers, because more tax cuts for the wealthy is what the people really want; and the repeal of environmental measures, because it’s not like Mother Nature isn’t already sick of our shit.
Perhaps the most abominable of the conservative policies championed by the North Carolina GOP is HB 589, a voter suppression bill that would make even the grandest of wizards blush. The bill, of course, is made possible by the fact that last month, the Supreme Court declared racism dead and gutted the Voting Rights Act (after all if racism weren’t dead, how come there’s some black dude in the White House who, in November 2012, decided that he wasn’t goin’), thus paving the way for states like North Carolina, which have a sordid history of racial discrimination, to do everything in their power to make it really hard (if not outright impossible) for minorities, low-income folks, and students to vote.
Via Scott Keyes at AlterNet:
Among the dozens of changes, these are the most onerous for North Carolina voters:
- Implementing a strict voter ID requirement that bars citizens who don’t have a proper photo ID from casting a ballot.
- Eliminating same-day voter registration, which allowed residents to register at the polls.
- Cutting early voting by a full week.
- Increasing the influence of money in elections by raising the maximum campaign contribution to $5,000 and increasing the limit every two years.
- Making it easier for voter suppression groups like True The Vote to challenge any voter who they think may be ineligible by requiring that challengers simply be registered in the same county, rather than precinct, of those they challenge.
- Vastly increasing the number of “poll observers” and increasing what they’re permitted to do. In 2012, ThinkProgress caught the Romney campaign training such poll observers using highly misleading information.
- Only permitting citizens to vote in their specific precinct, rather than casting a ballot in any nearby ward or election district. This can lead to widespread confusion, particularly in urban areas where many precincts can often be housed in the same building.
- Barring young adults from pre-registering as sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds, which is permitted by current law, and repealing a state directive that high schools conduct voter registration drives in order to boost turnout among young voters.
- Prohibiting some types of paid voter registration drives, which tend to register poor and minority citizens.
- Dismantling three state public financing programs, including the landmark program that funded judicial elections.
- Weakening disclosure requirements for outside spending groups.
- Preventing counties from extending polling hours in the event of long lines or other extraordinary circumstances and making it more difficult for them to accommodate elderly or disabled voters with satellite polling sites at nursing homes, for instance.
These are the sorts of measures that will allow Republicans to win. They know they can’t win without them. After all, their outreach efforts to the fastest growing minority in this country are a giant bowl of Oh My God What Are You Talking About. (Cantaloupe calves, anyone?)
During the run-up to the 2012 election, Republicans were stymied in their efforts to kick the Negro out of the White House when the voter suppression laws passed in Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, and Texas were struck down. But, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s face-palm ruling in Shelby v. Holder, such voter suppression laws will be (and, in some states like Texas, Mississippi, and North Carolina, are) making a comeback.
Pay attention to what is going on in North Carolina, because these sorts of Republican shenanigans will start spreading across the country. As our own Jenifer Daniels (aka @friendraiser) — who recently filed for the vacant District 1 Charlotte City Council seat — succinctly put it: This here is real.
Imani Gandy (ABL)
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