Columns » Trouble Hunter

McCrory refuses to admit voting policies are racist in face of overwhelming evidence

The smoking gun



Ya gotta hand it to our governor, he's no flip-flopper.

No matter what his horrid policies have cost our state, and despite the pleading of local business leaders, residents and experts, McCrory has refused to own up to mistakes regarding coal ash and HB2. Now, following a federal appeals court ruling stating that his voter ID law targeted black voters "with almost surgical precision," he's digging in again.

He's asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the ruling until after the November election, claiming in a statement that "changing our state's election laws close to the upcoming election, including common sense voter ID, will create confusion for voters and poll workers."

When the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a stay to its ruling last week, it observed in its order: "our injunction merely returns North Carolina's voting procedures to the status quo prevailing before the discriminatory law was enacted." In other words, "Nice try, but naw."

The ruling stated that granting a stay "would only undermine the integrity and efficiency of the upcoming election." If any election were to proceed with the voter ID law intact, the integrity wouldn't just be undermined, it would be nonexistent.

When McCrory signed the new voter restrictions into law, he said, "While some will try to make this seem to be controversial, the simple reality is that requiring voters to provide a photo ID when they vote is a common-sense idea."

His position was that this law was needed to prohibit voter fraud and that any racially-skewed consequences were simply a coincidence and being made out to seem more controversial than they really were.

One problem with this assertion is that voter fraud isn't an issue in this country. In one of the most comprehensive studies done on voter impersonation, Washington Post found only 31 cases out of more than 1 billion votes cast in the U.S. since 2000.

Two bigger problems with McCrory's position, however, are that the law went so much further than requiring photo ID at the polls, and more importantly, the court uncovered troubling evidence regarding why the law came into existence. Hint: It had nothing to do with rampant voter fraud.

In 2013, black voter registration and turnout in our state had reached almost equal levels with white voters, strengthening the overwhelmingly Democratic black voting bloc. That same year, the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act that made it easier for minorities to vote (Shelby County v. Holder), and just one day afterward, our General Assembly announced it would enact new restrictions on voting and voter registration. The court found that while drafting these new restrictions, our lawmakers actually sought out ways to make voting harder specifically for black people.

The NCGA requested data on the types of photo IDs people were more likely to carry. It showed African Americans disproportionately lacked photo IDs issued by the state DMV, and with this data in hand, lawmakers wrote the law to exclude the use of alternative photo IDs.

They requested data on the racial breakdown of early voting usage. It showed that African-Americans disproportionately used early voting in both 2008 and 2012, especially during the first seven days of early voting. After reviewing the data, lawmakers eliminated the first week of early voting and shortened the early voting period overall.

Racial breakdown data was also requested by lawmakers for same-day registration. The data demonstrated that African-Americans used same-day registration at a much higher rate. Guess what happened next? Same-day registration was eliminated.

So there you have it: a "smoking gun," as Fourth Circuit Judge Diana Gribbon Motz called it in her ruling. Plausible deniability is gone. Those who would still claim this law isn't explicitly racist and intended to suppress black voters are either liars or dangerously gullible.

Stop denying systemic racism exists. You are witnessing it. The plausible deniability of "voter fraud" and this law's coincidental relationship with racial data is gone. You have a smoking gun right in front of your eyes. If you still support this law, and still support McCrory as he stands by it, please stop pretending you're not racist. Come to terms with your bigotry.

Also, stop pretending you love America. This law is a steaming pile of shit sitting on the U.S. Constitution, and Pat is the one who put it there.

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