Voter Suppression Helped Pave The Way To A Thom Tillis Victory In North Carolina


thom tillis

In Greensboro, one of North Carolina’s largest cities, voters waited for hours to vote. At North Carolina A&T University, a historically black university, many African-American students were told they could not vote because they were in the wrong precinct; their mailing address did not match their dorm address and thus, did not match the voting rolls; and students were misled as to where to vote by mailers sent by super-PACs supporting Republican candidates.

I personally waited close to an hour to vote in Winston-Salem, another one of North Carolina’s historically Democratic-leaning cities, and, at this location, African-Americans were repeatedly told it would be a two-hour wait.

All of these problems add up to fewer people voting, and election results skewered towards Republicans, who designed the laws. According to Weiser, in 2010, 200,000 voters cast ballots during the early voting days, which were cut by Tillis’s law. In 2012, 700,000 voted during those days; this number accounted for more than a quarter of all of the votes cast African-Americans that year. Weiser writes, “In 2012, 100,000 North Carolinians, almost one-third of whom were, African-American, voted using same day registration, which was not available this year.”

On November 7, 2014, Ari Berman, from, recounts the story of veteran Bryan McGowan, who spent 22 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served four tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. McGowan, who recently moved back to North Carolina from Georgia, tried to change his voter registration, but, due to the elimination of same-day registration, he was unable to vote.

Unfortunately, the law will only grow harsher in 2016 when the voter ID provisions will take effect. North Carolina General Statute §163-166.13 requires photo identification starting January 1, 2016. Contrary to what Republicans claim, you need your Social Security card, proof of address and birth certificate in order to obtain the identification card that will allow you to vote (see and In other words, obtaining the documents necessary to obtain the ID is tantamount to a “poll tax.” This does not begin to address the time lost jumping through arbitrary legal hoops.

Republicans also like to claim there are mobile units to register people who cannot leave their homes to obtain an identification card. This service is limited, and, given North Carolina’s budget problems, it is tough to imagine how the state will pay for more of these units.

The impact of North Carolina’s voter ID law has already been felt. This impact will only grow more marked as it will be even tougher for minorities to vote come 2016. The future is uncertain, but what is certain is the harsh voter ID law will have a chilling effect on voting in North Carolina that will be felt for years to come.
Michael Wells is a lawyer in North Carolina. He blogs at and tweets @slnc01.

51 Replies to “Voter Suppression Helped Pave The Way To A Thom Tillis Victory In North Carolina”

  1. If they can’t win elections on truthful ideas, the GOP is happy to buy and steal them. America…on the road to ruin, being pushed along by power-hungry, greedy Republicans.

  2. This angers me to no end! The GOP are suppressing votes that allows fools like Tillis are elected and descent politicians like Hagan are ousted!

  3. Well we know their playbook. We have two years to counter it. We will see if the dummycrats led by the same leadership who committed election malpractice will do anything about it.

    I am not optimistic.

  4. How many actually voted in 2014 compared to 2012 and 2010. Why can’t the Federal Government step in and make vote by mail the only Federal way to vote. Oregon had a 69.5% turnout all vote by mail.

  5. And the more of a stranglehold they obtain, the more invidious the laws they will pass, which will enable them to obtain more of a stranglehold, which will enable them to pass more…

  6. It boggles my mind how they can have hours long waits at polling stations, election after a election. How long are the waits in Republican precincts?

  7. We Democrats, liberals, Progressives, Greens etc. need to wake up and fully realize that war was declared on us long ago by the other side. Our response has been to try and reason with people and make logical arguments. That won’t cut it. They know they’re lying and stealing and they don’t care. We need to adopt an aggressive strategy that attacks their voters and funding. The well to do old Rethugs in Wisconsin routinely own more than one home in the state and they routinely vote in both locations. Start doing list checking/purging the same way they are. Many of them also receive super favorable property tax assessments. Those records are public. Some of these clowns have property that should be at levels far higher than what it is assessed at. Get the records and challenge the assessment. Make it cost them more money. Cause them pain don’t just hit them with words they will ignore. Check the obits and make sure every one of them is immediately removed from the registered list.

  8. the bottom line is republicans did not win actually they stole the elction, i think im gonna look into possible moving to protland oregon and get away from gop land

  9. If the democratic party keeps the same tired old leadership as they currnetly have don’t expect much change. Pelosi, Reid, and Israel have got to go. Let some new youth and blood be injected into the party leadership.

  10. Trouble is Kevin, I don’t see any young impressive Dem politicians stepping forward. The Thugs always seem to have a number of them in the background ready and willing. Where are the DEM’S? The last example is Obama and look what the thugs have done to him. Being Black is only part of the reason. Being Dem is just as important. Thugs have a way of enforcing their belief of distrust for low informed voters, that the Dem’s are to blame. Think we Dem’s had better learn to support our leaders. Rethugs don’t turn on their own usually.

  11. 700,000 more Dems than GOPS in NC. As an independent, why are the Dems NOT voting! 44% voting participation is a joke. If the Dems would get out and vote you wouldn’t have to cry about suppression. Flood the polls with Dems and the GOP is history here in NC. The 2014 results have no one to blame but the Dems so live with the results. Obama was thrown under the bus because Dems don’t have the guts to stand up for all the good he has done. Wake up democrats!!

  12. We were lucky here in Pennsylvania. The state Supreme Court ordered the Commonwealth Court to throw out the Voter Suppression law based on the state constitution. Most states are not as lucky. The federal courts seem to be completely arbitrary what “Voter ID” laws they accept and which ones they reject.

  13. Definitely a problem that needs to be fixed but you also have to take into account how many non-citizens are voting under the democratic party. If you think only one side is playing unfair then you’re sadly mistaken. Another problem with this is that it’s like this no matter where you’re at with mailing addresses. Not just NC A&T. This is an extremely one sided argument. As an independent voter I was told I could not vote at my university and so were many other students both republican and democrat. At the end of the day corrupt politics is all it is.

  14. You people crack me up. Do any of you screw heads actually read what you’re writing and implying before you hit the “enter” key?
    Long wait times to vote in historically Dem precincts…how do Republican’s control that? IT’S A DEMOCRAT STRONGHOLD!!!
    This twit Mike Wells Jr writes how he personally waited an hr to vote in Winston Salem….hey pal, I waited to vote an hr in Mooresville and it was worth it!
    Face the dismal truth people, the POTUS and his liberal cr*p was on the ballot like he said and the USA rejected it! PERIOD
    Thank GOD we have voter ID laws coming on the books to prevent dead people, felons & illegals from voting not to mention all of you who like to “vote early & vote often”. If I need ID to get on a plane, walk into the Democratic Convention, buy beer or to pick up my kid from school you should need to show ID to VOTE!
    By the way…voter ID has been shown to increase the minority vote. Facts are an inconvenient thing.

  15. Thank god we have another moron here from the right who has no clue that Dem precincts in Red states are run by republicans. Each precinct doesnt set its own rules.

    How in the hell do republicans make it through the day?

    Especially one who is so stupid he thinks the voter ID plans are just about showing an ID. ANd has no clue that gop run voting areas run the rules.

    When you have no idea what the issues are with the voter Id laws, you should stay in the basement

  16. Thom Tillis did not win this election because he was a decent candidated. He stole the election. Decency is not a word in his vocabulary. Truthfully, A&T State University has always been a target even before the new voter ID law. Republicans just made it more difficult. Students have always been able to vote from their university addresses before the Republicans took over. It was one more ploy to steal the elections. Hell even in early voting in counties like Guilford, voting machines were malfunctioning, and those who voted for Hagan saw their votes switched to Tillis. The machines had to be removed from the polling places all over Guilford County which is a strong Democratic county. I have lived in NC my adult life, and I’ve never seen anthing like what the Republicans are doing. They have taken voter suppression to the extreme. Now let Tillies inflict his disastrous, scheming ways on the whole country. Voters got what they asked for and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

  17. From the article….I personally waited close to an hour to vote in Winston-Salem, another one of North Carolina’s historically Democratic-leaning cities, and, at this location, African-Americans were repeatedly told it would be a two-hour wait. ………………………………………………………………………..Did the white voters have express lanes for voting….why did only african americans wait in line two hours ? This seems illegal.

  18. Hmmmmm.. I live in Charlotte NC which is predominantly Demorcat. I voted early with no problems and waited ror about 20-30 minutes. I also had to reregister because I moved here since last election. Changed my voter address online which took me less then 10 minutes.. No problems at all. Then again I took the initiative and responsibility to get it done.. Hmmmm..

  19. Did you vote in an almost all minority area?

    I know you will say yes of course. And as usual, you have no idea that this is not all about you

  20. Shiva, I was just sharing my experience voting in NC considering that’s what this article is about. I really don’t know what the racial make up of my district is. But if I had to guess most likely predominantly white.

  21. Actually in NC elections are setup/run by the election commission of each County. In the case of Mecklenburg county it is run by Democrats.

  22. Shiva, Greensboro NC is in Guilford County which is run by Democrats as is the County elections Commission. If there were problems with voting it lands in the hands of the Democraric board. Reminds me of when Dems were complaing about the ballot in Brower Count FL during the 2000 pres election. Ppl tried to blame the Reps because the ballot was confusing yet the Dem commission put the ballot together.

  23. Sorry Shiva I was wrong. The county election board is appointed by the state election board. I thought the county appointed them. The stste board is appointed by the Gov. Each county election board can only he 2 out of appointees of the same party.

    In any case I don’t recall anyone complaining about the polling places before the election.

  24. I’m having trouble believing that people had such a hard time voting. I voted early and my wife and I walked in, voted, and left in under 15 minutes.

  25. Joe voting conditions are different in every precinct. I live in a very red area and voted almost a week and a half early. Other places had only a couple days early voting. I also voted very quickly

  26. Since Tillis was a part of the State Legislature that voted in these tougher new voter ID requirements, then he has essentially stolen this Senate race. It shows just how low the GOP will go to steal elections. Maybe universities across NC should close for the day of the 2016 Election to enable students to go home and vote if they need to do so.

  27. Short lines. This has been going on for at least 14 years. It is a strategy that works. In Ohio in 2012, the lines were hours long in Democratic precincts. In predominantly black precincts, the lines were outrageous.

  28. Wrong.

    Board Members in Mecklenburg County
    Mary Potter Summa (Republican) Chairman
    Elizabeth M. McDowell (Republican) Secretary
    Carol Hill Williams (Democrat) Member

  29. The late and (NOT SO) great, father of Conservatism:

    “I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

  30. I”ve repeatedly asked what theDepartment of Justice, ACLU, and ther NACP are doing to stop this Farce, Are not Civil Rights being violated.??? Can each State define who is a legal voter? With the Repulshricans in the majority in the Congress and Senate we can’t expect any national requirements. Maybe through Executive Power the POTUS can force a national, one size fits all, voting requirements. 2016 is just around the corner……

  31. Or maybe students should learn to get an absentee ballot sent to them in time to vote and send it back. The absentee ballot makes it possible for these students to vote. Your argument is not valid.

  32. I’ve read through the comments and I can only thank God I’m not a democrat.
    Evidently from what I hear its only the democrats that are just too damn stupid to come up with the required information to obtain a Voter ID.
    Even though these same documents are required to apply for welfare, get a license or state ID, apply for SSID etc…
    Do we really need people this stupid voting in the first place?
    As far as the republicans cheating to win in Carolina, what do you think the message across the entire country was? Take Maryland, dems out number Reps 2 to 1, yet, we now have an American (republican) governor. this tells me that even the democrats are getting tired of the democrats.

  33. Speaking of stupidity, anyone who thinks the voter ID issue is just about obtaining a voter ID, probably shouldnt be voting either. Maybe you should step away from your current news source and look elsewhere to find what the issue really is

  34. Shiva…you must be one of the 22 people that watches MSNBC.
    Open your eyes kiddo and come to the realization that the Democrat Party is gradually and painfully being exposed for the fraud that they are. Just had tape leaked to the world that “The Most Transparent Administration EVER” and it’s ARCHITECTS of Obamacare purposely LIED to the American public in order to get Obamacare passed and in they’re own words “Thank GOD the American voter is too ‘stupid’ to know”. I bet you don’t see that story published on this “News site”, MSNBC, CBS, ABC,PBS,NPR etc.
    Look up MIT professor Jonathan Gruber…apparently there are a few videos on him proudly confessing how he and this Administrastion DUPED YOU!
    Stand by folks…more light will be shed on the NSA, the IRS, Benghazi and this Administration hacking Sheril Atkinson.
    I’m getting my popcorn, can’t wait to see who’s going to jail.
    By the way…don’t believe me, look up the facts yourself. Have a great day everybody.

  35. And yet ACA is wonderfully successful. Gee that must hurt.

    BTW, I havent watched any cable news in well over a year. Your point means nothing coming from a guy who supported killing over 5000 Americans for a lie.

    Bugger off

  36. BTW, the IRS was a total Darrel Issa fraud. There is no Benghazi scandal and the NSA has been spying on you since its inception.

    Fox news wont tell you that. Go to breitbart where people wont laugh at you when you make a fool of yourself

  37. Statements like this are a major factor in America looking at Democrats as elitist out of touch demagogues! Major factor in the loss of the Senate. We must stop looking down our noses and start facing each other in the eye and realize that not all our opinions are right for the entire country.

  38. I think you will find the Dems are behind almost all of the things America wants. Min wage, equality for all, legal pot, better education while the right is against everything the US wants.

  39. I agree to a point. The reality is the republicans won by default. That is what happens when there are 2 teams and only one shows up to play.

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