With their numbers crashing to new lows, the Republican Party and its extremist Tea Party arm will be even more determined to suppress votes. Of the 36 states that have vote suppression laws, North Carolina has the most stringent with its combination of restrictions at every phase of the voting process. Aside from unnecessarily stringent voter ID requirements, the law introduces new restrictions on voter registration, and reduces opportunities to vote early.
According to CBS, the law’s new restrictions on early voting will make voting harder for 61% North Carolinians, based on 2012 figures. That’s even before we get into the effects of allowing voter vigilante groups to challenge any voter statewide and encouraging outside interests to buy personal mouth pieces to “represent” the people of North Carolina.
Since the law was passed in July, Moral Monday protestors continue to stand their ground in the face of arrests, convictions for “trespassing” on public property and character assassination by the various “grassroots” organizations controlled by Art Pope. These same groups provide their followers with a database of the protestors, just in case conservatives would like to pay them a friendly visit.
“The Civitas database includes each protester’s name, city and county of residence, sex, race, age, arrest date, occupation, employer (and whether it’s in the public, private or nonprofit sector), interest group affiliations, and mugshot.”
Naturally, the law has been challenged in 3 lawsuits, brought by Department of Justice and organizations that are dedicated to voting rights. Last week, federal Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake made some scheduling decisions in several suits challenging the law.
The good news is there will be a hearing to consider a request by the League of Women Voters for a temporary injunction to prevent enforcement of this law during the 2014 elections. A favorable ruling at the hearing would suggest a probability of success at trial. The bad news is the trial won’t proceed until after the 2014 elections.
The News Observer reports the conservative group, Judicial Watch filed papers to intervene on behalf of Christina Kelley Gallegos-Merrill a Republican, who lost a local election by 13 votes. She, and Judicial Watch blame Wilson College for her election loss because Newsweek said “it’s the most liberal college in the United States”
Merrill, made similar claims to the State Board of Elections, and before that the Buncombe County Board of Elections (BBOE). The BBOE concluded “there was no probable cause to believe that a violation of election law, an irregularity or misconduct had occurred.” Needless to say, the State Board of Elections didn’t buy her unsubstantiated claims either.
It isn’t unusual for Republicans to cry voter fraud without evidence to back their accusations up. But then, we’re dealing with people who believe that any vote that isn’t for them is a fraudulent vote. Republican lawmakers nationwide will be watching as these suits wind through the legal process. If the law survives the court challenges, Republicans across the country will pass comparable laws that would institutionalize election fraud and anything resembling free and fair elections will be a thing of the past.
Image: The Examiner