Editorial: Get real, drop the appeals. Focus on making it easier to vote

Posted August 5, 2016

Voters cast ballots at the Wake County Commons Building in the North Carolina primary on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Jamie Munden)

A CBC Editorial: Friday, Aug. 5, 2016; Editorial# 8038
​The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Good lawyers don’t always tell their clients what they want to hear – but what they need to hear.

That axiom certainly applies as Gov. Pat McCrory, state Senate leader Phil Berger and state House Speaker Tim Moore, all Republicans, posture over the recent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling overturning North Carolina’s 2013 voting law changes.

Attorney General Roy Cooper rightly determined, given the stern and detailed opinion of the three judges, it would be fruitless to appeal the case further. “Our attorneys have been working hard to defend many laws that have overreached. This is just another example of a law that's unconstitutional and that's overreaching," Cooper told reporters earlier this week. "I told the legislature it was a bad idea. I told the governor that he should veto it.  We defended it for three years anyway but have gotten to the point now, with this unanimous 4th Circuit opinion, that it's time to stop."

McCrory and the legislative leadership have tried to rope-a-dope the public into thinking the law is about voter ID and stopping voter fraud. It is not. It is about keeping people who don’t vote the way you like, away from the polls.

The law enacted a broad set of voter and ballot access provisions, some aimed at young voters and others exclusively targeting African-American voters. The action was so obvious and extreme that the appeals court labeled it “purposeful racial discrimination.”

In recent days, federal judges in Texas, Wisconsin and North Dakota have tossed out laws that, like North Carolina’s, targeted minority voters. The likelihood of the current U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of McCrory and the GOP leadership is slim, at best.

McCrory and the GOP leadership have not just created more confusion over voting, their hyper partisan posturing endangers the credibility of our courts. Within hours of the Appeals Court’s ruling, McCrory complained that it was a “political opinion” by “three partisan Democrats.” Berger and Moore were more inflammatory. “We can only wonder if the intent is to reopen the door for voter fraud, potentially allowing fellow Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper to steal the election.”

We are in a highly-charged partisan atmosphere at election time, such comments might be dismissed as seasonal rhetoric. But both Moore and Berger are lawyers and officers of the court – Berger’s son, in fact is a candidate for the N.C. Court of Appeals. Rather than exploiting the courts in a misguided and ineffective quest for political attack lines, our legislative leaders and their governor would be better off to save taxpayer dollars and drop the appeal.

Late Thursday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rightly denied an effort to delay the enforcement of its ruling. We know that means that in November, North Carolina voters will have greater access to the polls, including Sunday voting, extended days for early voting, same-day registration and early voter registration for young voters ahead of their 18th birthday.

When U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled in favor of the 2013 law, neither McCrory nor the legislative leadership noted that he was a GOP appointee. Nor did they note that it was Cooper’s office that represented the state in that successful legal effort.

It is dangerous and demeaning to our democracy to cry partisan politics, as McCrory, Berger and Moore, have done when the courts don’t do what they want.

They should know better.


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  • Norman Lewis Aug 20, 7:32 a.m.
    user avatar

    Make it easier to vote? How much easier does it need to be? Register by mail, in person, multiple registration people at most of the public events along with many polling places open long hours. About the only way to be any easier is to have the Board of Elections show up at your house, chauffeur you to the polls and take you home. The ID issue is only a straw man argument to wrangle over. I bet there are not more than a very few adults in Wake County that do not have ID's and if anyone wants to vote, they will get to the polls. Going at the last minute, to the wrong polling place, without being registered at all and then whining about not being allowed to vote and calling it a racial bias issue is becoming tiresome. I believe that is more properly an ignorance issue.

  • Danny Basden Aug 5, 4:07 p.m.
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    At the point in the Op Ed that it mentions "Roy Cooper rightly determined" is where all credibility is lost. There is no way that Cooper, a Democrat, can defend anything at this point as it is not in his best interest to work "with" the guy he is running against. Credibility would be to step down as AG and avoid such conflicts of interest. But why would he do that when we still pay him and he gets all the free publicity. And why would he think that Republican law makers would be satisfied with three Liberal leaning judges and their decision? If the situation were reversed Cooper wouldn't have stopped with their decision either. We had a Governor like Roy last time out. Anybody heard form her lately?

  • Skip Harris Aug 5, 12:25 p.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Wow, look at all the same tired talking points. Are you the pot or the kettle? It is lucky for all those poor, indigent, ignorant people that a warrior like yourself is progressive and altruistic enough to stand up for them. What in the world would they do with out you?

  • Mick Voiland Aug 5, 11:40 a.m.
    user avatar

    Wow, look at all the tired, backward, and closed-minded arguments offered in this comment section from those who would deny their fellow citizens the right to vote. They show paranoia about voter fraud that doesn't exist; fear that their political party will not benefit from voting rules that worked just fine before 2013; a portrayal of judges in the court system as being guilty of bias and partisanship; and stereotyping of minorities or those too old, too home-bound, or just too out-of-step to own/drive a car, or deal with the DMV's less-than-applicant-friendly process to get a state ID. Another example of the advantaged, the privileged, and the soon-to-be minority majority being troubled by the notion of equal rights under the law. Sad.

  • Skip Harris Aug 5, 10:36 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Again I ask if you are going to add anything to the discussion or will you simply continue with your paranoid rantings? Seriously, there are programs out there that can help if you are in some sort of crisis.

  • Paul Hayeze Aug 5, 10:11 a.m.
    user avatar

    So much hate on this board....Coming from one person

  • Morris Vobserv Aug 5, 9:57 a.m.
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    Are there really people out there who think it is okay to vote without an ID? This is not about stopping anyone from voting. It is about being fair to everyone and requiring the same ID to vote as to cash a check or receive non-emergency medical care. And if you can't afford an ID, it's free. Any idea that this somehow discriminates is insane. Insisting that minorities are victimized by this is insulting to minorities.

  • Vince DiSena Aug 5, 9:53 a.m.
    user avatar

    Yeah, we got to get these non Americans in there to vote!

  • Charles Phillips Aug 5, 8:58 a.m.
    user avatar

    So over 30 states have voter ID laws but NC should just forget it...yeah, I don't think so.

  • Skip Harris Aug 5, 8:44 a.m.
    user avatar

    Exactly how easy does it need to be to vote? I can't imagine it being much easier than it already is. You have multiple ways to cast a vote on multiple days. There are even services that will help you if you are in some manner impaired. If people are not engaged enough in the process to know how to vote at this point it may be best for everyone that they not vote.