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Why NC lawmakers may have to explain themselves over voter ID

Voter IDIf you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Courts and Law Reporter Sharon McCloskey’s lead story over on the main Policy Watch site – “Lawmakers: What we talked about when we talked about Voter ID.” As McCloskey reports, GOP lawmakers may be forced, sooner or later, to disclose what they were really up to when they passed the controversial “Monster” voting law in 2013:

“What were state GOP lawmakers’ intentions when they enacted House Bill 589, one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation?

That’s the question the groups challenging the law want answered by the handful of legislators they served with subpoenas in December, asking those lawmakers to produce emails, letters, reports and other records used when pushing for voting law changes last session.

The lawmakers responded last week with an opening salvo in what might become an extended battle, claiming to be completely insulated from any obligation to produce those communications.

But if the court in Greensboro follows decisions from others across the country resolving voting cases, those lawmakers may have to start digging through their files and come up with some answers.

‘This is a place where courts have rarely spoken, but clearly the concern that legislative officials might not be acting with the best interests of their public in mind has caused this issue to arise more frequently,’ said Justin Levitt, a voting law expert and professor at Loyola Law School.

In Florida, Texas, Wisconsin and other states, courts are taking a deliberate approach, weighing legislators’ needs to be free from harassing questions about their decision-making processes with the needs of citizens suspicious of those lawmakers’ motives – and in the end, ordering the disclosure of at least some information.

What a concept, huh? Public officials who spend public money on matters of great public importance being required to explain to the public what the hell they were really up to. Sounds like something that we could use a great deal more of in North Carolina these days — even if we may want to cry when we learn the truth.

Click here to to read the rest of the story.

What were state GOP lawmakers’ intentions when they enacted House Bill 589, one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation?

That’s the question the groups challenging the law want answered by the handful of legislators they served with subpoenas in December, asking those lawmakers to produce emails, letters, reports and other records used when pushing for voting law changes last session.

The lawmakers responded last week with an opening salvo in what might become an extended battle, claiming to be completely insulated from any obligation to produce those communications.

But if the court in Greensboro follows decisions from others across the country resolving voting cases, those lawmakers may have to start digging through their files and come up with some answers.

This is a place where courts have rarely spoken, but clearly the concern that legislative officials might not be acting with the best interests of their public in mind has caused this issue to arise more frequently,” said Justin Levitt, a voting law expert and professor at Loyola Law School.

In Florida, Texas, Wisconsin and other states, courts are taking a deliberate approach, weighing legislators’ needs to be free from harassing questions about their decision-making processes with the needs of citizens suspicious of those lawmakers’ motives – and in the end, ordering the disclosure of at least some information.

- See more at: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2014/01/29/lawmakers-what-we-talked-about-when-we-talked-about-voter-id/#sthash.Vd3WF1gj.dpuf

2 Comments

  1. Alan

    January 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    They don’t feel the need to explain themselves to the voting public, as they’re only concerned about their paymasters, not the average voter. The real intent of the voter suppression is plain for all to see, and no amount of disingenuous BS from these folks will hide what is blatantly obvious to so many. Many folks, including many Democrats, don’t necessarily have an issue with the premise of an ID to vote, assuming of course it’s implemented in a fair and non-partisan manner. The much bigger issue is the remainder (17 was it?) additional voter suppression tactics passed by the state GOP, all in an effort to make it harder for minorities, students, the elderly and the disabled to vote.

    The GOP has lost the popular vote in 5 out of 6 elections, and their future share of the popular vote is expected to shrink even further. So,if you can’t win an election, rig it, fix it, steal it. Nowhere is that more pronounced than here in NC.

  2. Jack

    January 31, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Don Yelton, now former Republican precinct chairman, said it all in his interview on the Daily Show. It is about stopping democrats from voting or as he said “The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt.” Yelton’s racist remarks were right out of the 19th Century.

    Yelton: “If it hurts a bunch of college kids that are too lazy to get up off their bohonkas and go get a photo ID, then so be it. If it hurts a bunch of whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, then so be it.”