In case you missed them, two items over on the main NCPW site deserve your attention today.
From Democracy NC’s August 5 link of the day:
“Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to sign the monster anti-voting bill any day now. H-589 began in the state House as a photo ID bill but in the final days of the session, the state Senate rolled out a harsher version of the ID requirement, plus 40+ new provisions, including dozens that had never been discussed in a legislative committee. The new bill raises contribution limits, kills the Stand By Your Ad law, allows secret electioneering spending by outside groups, ends the pre-registration program for teenagers and much more. Democracy North Carolina has a front-and-back handout that describes the provisions of the soon-to-be new law. Most of the provisions become effective on January 1, 2014, except the photo ID requirement takes effect with the 2016 elections. Everyone expects the state NAACP and others to challenge the law in court, and so it shall be.”
If you’re looking for a quick read capturing the lay-of-the-land of the state’s new voting law changes, see this morning’s Atlantic Wire:
. . . No state’s action has been more dramatic than North Carolina’s, whose legislature last week passed what election-law experts have characterized as the most draconian and restrictive registration and voting law in the country.
“It’s just an audacious attempt on the part of Republicans to suppress the vote, it’s just about as blatant as you can imagine,” says Rep. David Price, a Democrat who represents the state’s Research Triangle area, which includes Duke and the University of North Carolina. “You do wonder how they felt they could get away with it.”
The North Carolina law is a grab bag of bad ideas. It not only institutes a government-issued photo-ID requirement for voting, similar to the Texas law, but also eliminates same-day voter registration and requires voters to register or update their address at least 25 days ahead of the election; reduces the early voting period by a week; abolishes a program to register high-school students in advance of their 18th birthdays; empowers partisan poll watchers with greater authority to challenge voters; and eliminates out-of-precinct voting. The law also weakens candidate disclosure and fundraising rules, thereby allowing unlimited corporate donations and abolishing the requirement that candidates endorse their own television ads.
“I’ve never seen a bill like North Carolina that makes it harder to register and vote – it’s very brazen,” says Richard Hasen, an election-law specialist and professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine. Hasen believes the law is so bad there will be a judicial and public backlash to overturn it and possibly the GOP legislature which passed it. “This will be seen as an overreach .… It’s going to be challenged and some of its provisions will be struck down,” he predicted.
Even the state’s Libertarian Party is outraged, aptly summing up what’s been done in this statement:
“Republicans claim to be the party of limited government. Now we see what that term really means: when Republicans say limited government, they apparently mean government limited to them and their supporters.”
In case you missed it, the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, a middle-of -the-road group known for conducting painstaking, in-depth research has issued a scathing analysis of the legislation pending in the state Senate to restrict voting.
Here is the special report the group emailed out last night:
Last Minute Changes to HB 589 Would Undermine Gains Made To N.C. Voter Turnout
Summary: Tonight, the N.C. Senate passed a Committee Substitute on 2nd reading for House Bill 589 that adds at least 7 new election law provisions to the bill, which originally was solely a voter photo ID bill. The changes will reduce the number of days in the early voting period and end same-day voter registration. The Center does not take a position on requiring a photo ID in order to vote because we have not done research on the issue. However, the Center opposes the additional election law provisions because, as we found in our research in 1991 and 2003, early voting and same-day registration have worked to increase voter turnout and civic participation, because there is public support for these measures, and because the legislative process used to tack these provisions onto a moving bill is bad process and one we have criticized in additional reports over a 20-year period. Read More…