Commentary

NC highlighted in national story about last week’s “wildly successful” GOP voter suppression efforts

Think Progress has a sobering story this morning entitled “Republicans were wildly successful at suppressing voters in 2016: Three GOP-controlled states demonstrate the effectiveness of disenfranchising the opposition.” Needless to say, North Carolina is one of the three.

“Last week, the first election in 50 years without the full protection of the federal Voting Rights Act propelled Donald Trump to the White House.

Trump will assume the presidency because of the Electoral College’s influence?—?nearly a million more people cast ballots for Hillary Clinton as of November 15. The election was also marked by low turnout, with tens of millions of eligible voters choosing not to participate at all. Yet there has been relatively little discussion about the millions of people who were eligible to vote but could not do so because they faced an array of newly-enacted barriers to the ballot box.

Their systematic disenfranchisement was intentional and politically motivated. In the years leading up to 2016, Republican governors and state legislatures implemented new laws restricting when, where, and how people could vote?—?laws that disproportionately harmed students, the poor, and people of color. In several instances, lawmakers pushing such policies said explicitly that their goal was suppression of voters who favor the Democratic Party.

Three such states serve as case studies for the effectiveness of these voting restrictions: Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Florida.

All three elected staunchly conservative governors during President Obama’s terms. All three implemented voting restrictions that affect millions of people. President Obama won all three states in 2008, and won all but North Carolina in 2012, while Hillary Clinton lost all three of those states this year.

The story goes on to detail issues in each of the states. After exploring the North Carolina’s infamous Monster Voting Law, here’s how it sums up our section:

“Though some of the most extreme cuts were blocked by the state board of elections, many remained in place through the election. For example, Guilford County reduced the number of polling sites in the first week of early voting from 16 in 2012 to just 1 this year. A GOP memo issued at the end of the state’s early voting period celebrated the inevitable results of those cutbacks: African American turnout had dropped nearly nine percent.

In counties that slashed early voting hours and sites, voters also had to wait in lines several hours long to cast their ballots. A new Harvard study found that such long waits not only disenfranchise working-class voters who can’t afford to wait, but also discourages voters from participating in future elections.

Trump won the state by fewer than 200,000 votes, and the governor’s race remains too close to call.”

In short, mission accomplished for the NC GOP.

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