Greensboro News & Record editorial writer Doug Clark is on the money with this column praising this week’s Fourth Circuit decision to enjoin two key voter suppression laws enacted by North Carolina’s current political leaders:
The court noted the propriety of applying “the totality of circumstances” to its analysis. In this case, the circumstances included waiting for the Supreme Court to strike down preclearance requirements under the Voting Rights Act last year before the legislature rolled out its bill in all its many parts.
“By inspecting the different parts of House Bill 589 as if they existed in a vacuum, the district court failed to consider the sum of those parts and their cumulative effect on minority access to the ballot box,” Wynn wrote for the court.
Also relevant is the history of racial discrimination in North Carolina’s voting past.
The court drew an obvious conclusion:
“The election laws in North Carolina prior to House Bill 589’s enactment encouraged participation by qualified voters. But the challenged House Bill 589 provisions stripped them away….”
The changes were partisan weapons, no less than gerrymandered redistricting. Why anyone would pretend otherwise is beyond me.
I don’t know how it will come out eventually, but I wish North Carolina would take steps to encourage more voting, not discourage it.