Editorial: Disguising voter suppression behind mask of voter ID

Posted May 26

A CBC Editorial: Friday, May 26, 2017; Editorial # 8166
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

“All North Carolinians can rest assured that Republican legislators will continue fighting to protect the integrity of our elections by implementing the common sense requirement to show a photo ID when we vote.”N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore

That is what the two most powerful men in the North Carolina General Assembly said two weeks ago after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand an appeals court order calling changes to the state’s voting laws an unconstitutional effort to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

We don’t disagree with Berger and Moore about protecting the integrity of elections or even a “common sense requirement” to provide identification when voting. The legislature should be able to come up with a fair and practical way to accomplish that.

The problem is that Berger and Moore are disguising the truth. If they really cared about identification, they could easily write a bill that would pass constitutional muster.

In reality, while the two TALK about voter ID, what they are DOING is voter suppression. The law the courts struck down was MORE about discouraging voting: reducing early and Sunday voting; eliminating same-day voter registration; ending pre-registration of teenagers; and disallowing out-of-precinct voting.

All that comes on top of efforts to make it difficult for certain groups of voters, such as students, to vote by moving polling places from convenient locations, like student unions, to more remote locations on the fringes of college campuses.

At a news conference following the Supreme Court’s action, state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes practically ignored the reason the court struck the law down: “No way does anyone want to suppress the vote. We’ll make sure more people vote. We’ll make sure they have the chance to vote legally and that someone else does not cast a vote that would cancel out their properly placed vote.”  He ignores the supression provisions.

OK, let’s see if the legislature produces a bill that limits itself to voters identifying themselves at the polls. We won’t hold our breath.

One thing North Carolina voters should feel secure about is that our elections are fair and clean. The N.C. Board of Elections just proved it with an expensive, extensive review of the 2016 elections.

Of the nearly 4.8 million ballots recorded, it appears 508 were cast (about 1 one-hundredths-of-a-percent) by ineligible voters. That result is a credit to the basic honesty of citizens as well as the hard work and dedication of our state and local boards of elections, which must rely largely upon volunteers, and operate on shoe-string budgets under intense scrutiny.

Instead of cooking up ways to keep people away from the polls, North Carolina legislators should be working to get more people to vote. Of the state’s 6.9 million registered voters, 31 percent didn’t show up at the polls last November. There are 742,000 people of voting age in the state who are not even registered to vote. Getting ALL eligible citizens to participate should be the primary goal.

Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore -- make believers out of us, other North Carolinians and even the courts. Pass a REASONABLE bill to require identification at the polling place, skip the voter suppression and maybe even expand opportunities for citizens to register and vote while making polling places more convenient. We can all get behind that idea.

Then again, maybe the legislature will solve this as it does with most issues – cut some more corporate income taxes.


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  • Richard Bunce Jun 13, 1:58 p.m.
    user avatar

    Put the photo on the voter registration card. All voters must be registered to vote and must show their voter registration card with photo ID. Voter registration cards with photo ID will continue to be "free" as they are now.

    The next issue is citizenship. NC Constitution requires voters to be US citizens to vote in NC elections. The five Amendments to the US Constitution the protect voting rights ONLY apply to US Citizens. The oath signed by persons registering to vote in NC that they are citizens must be validated at the County and State government level.

  • Michael Bawden May 28, 9:00 a.m.
    user avatar

    It is offensive our liberals in this country "target" African-Americans as an incapable race. As this opinion piece says, voter id "targets African-Americans". That means only one thing. ALL other races and LEGAL immigrants are capable of obtaining a voter id. There is no other conclusion. That is offensive. That is why I disagree 100% with Rev Barber and WRAL.

  • Carl Keehn May 26, 9:43 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Why would you want to make it easier for a student to vote? Why would YOU want to make it more difficult for a student to vote?

    In 1979, the US Supreme Court recognized the right of students to vote where they attend school through the case Symm v. the United States.

    In other words, it's the law of the land.

  • Tim Orr May 26, 9:22 a.m.
    user avatar

    First, if this is the opinion of WRAL, I'm not surprised. WRAL is a very liberal leaning publication. Secondly, why do you want to make it easier for a student to vote? Is that student vote more important than mine as a working, long time contributor to society? I guess it is, as schools today tend to be more concerned with Liberal agendas and tricking young minds to think how the schools want them to think.If WRAL is so proud of it's Liberal philosophy why does the CEO not donate his salary to charity? Oh, I guess a Conservative did it first so it must be wrong.

    Corporations should not have an opinion on politics. Corporations should not have a voice in politics. That is exactly what is wrong in The US today.

  • Nathaniel Lincoln May 26, 8:09 a.m.
    user avatar

    Im actually shocked by the Lack of voter ID. Seems unAmerican. I fully expect to have to prove I am who I say I am for something as important as a presidential election. You have to question the motives of those who disagree with something so basic. It devalues what it means to be an American citizen .

  • Nathaniel Lincoln May 26, 7:40 a.m.
    user avatar

    WRAL - Disguising anti voter ID behind mask of fictional voter suppression

  • Dean Morron May 26, 7:03 a.m.
    user avatar

    " The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company ".

    WOW, the whole company feels this way !!! And in today's times trying to get a consensus on anything .... I'm impressed. No, this is the opinion of one person who prefers to hide behind a veil or cloak.
    ID's are needed to do numerous things these days, but not to vote ..... ever wonder why ? And please, target African Americans .... get real !!!