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Editorial: Decision striking down Texas’ voter ID law is a hopeful sign for NC

Voting rightsBe sure to check out the lead editorial in this morning’s edition of the Greensboro News & Record regarding the recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Texas’ voter ID/voter suppression law and the hopeful message it sends about challenges to the very similar law in North Carolina.

Here’s the excellent conclusion:

“In a very significant development, the 5th Circuit court, regarded as one of the nation’s most conservative, recognized what’s behind the flurry of election law changes enacted in Republican states since 2011.

The stated reason — to eradicate fraud — doesn’t hold water. Voter fraud by impersonation happens very rarely and is discouraged by easy detection and the threat of felony prosecution. Using it to justify a series of “reforms” that construct barriers to voting is disingenuous.

Courts often give states a pass on the grounds that election laws seeking a partisan advantage don’t violate the law. The truth is that African Americans vote overwhelmingly Democratic, so measures meant to give an advantage to Republicans over Democrats also may intentionally disadvantage black voters. The court put Texas on notice that it sees through the ploy.

The public should see as clearly. But it’s been sold an idea that elections are tainted by fraud and that protections are needed to ensure the integrity of the ballot. The voter ID requirement is supported by a majority of people, according to polls.

That requirement should not be used, however, to deny people who ought to be allowed to vote. And, of course, other restrictions have nothing to do with voter integrity but simply remove conveniences that improve the voting process. Last week’s court ruling exposed Texas, and North Carolina’s turn will come.”

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