Commentary, Defending Democracy

Editorial: Voter ID still a lousy idea

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the latest editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal regarding the General Assembly’s new voter ID scheme. This is from “Voter ID is still a bad idea”:

Legislative leaders say that the purpose of passing the bill is to restore confidence in elections and prevent voter fraud.

Of course, one of the main reasons voters lack confidence in elections is because Republicans keep telling them that voter fraud is a big problem in the state.

But the claim has been refuted time and time again, including by Republican authorities like Kim Strach, the executive director of the State Board of Elections. It does occur from time to time, but no evidence has ever been produced to prove that the problem is widespread or significant.

In 2013, Republicans tried to push through a voter-ID bill, only to have the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals determine that the bill was intended to suppress voting by African Americans, who generally go heavily for Democrats, and that it targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”

“The State has failed to produce one individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina,” the Fourth Circuit Court said in its ruling.

Republicans spent more than $9 million of taxpayer money trying to push the bill through the courts, only to finally have the U.S. Supreme Court tell them to knock it off.

Republicans were so desperate to push their conspiracy theory in the last election that they accused voters in 52 counties of double voting and other misdeeds. Four of those voters are currently suing their accusers for slander and libel.

We do have voting problems in this state — voter suppression and Russian attempts to interfere in our elections. The state legislature has done nothing about those. Instead, they’re following their partisan pattern of trying to retain power at the expense of fair elections. It’s past time to let this zombie die.

Amen to that.

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