Legislative Republicans hope to boast a long list of conservative accomplishments at the completion of their first 100 days in power. None would make them happier than the passage of a bill that will ensure that they can write a brand new "first 100 days agenda" every single year for the foreseeable future: Voter ID.
This bill is Jim Crow for old people (politically correct term, "seniors", redacted for impact). But really, it's a race/age/gender neutral discrimination policy targeting students, minorities and the non-driving disabled-- anyone without a current ID. So while the NCDP frames our message in terms of the historic struggle for civil rights, the bottom line is: New Law, same as the Old Law.
NCDP Chairman David Parker believes that this is a moral issue, and it's essential that we hold that ground. By the numbers, Voter ID would appear to be an easy "yes" vote for Republican and Democratic legislators alike. As Civitas polls show, 83 percent of North Carolinians support the Republican Voter ID measure as an effort to combat election fraud.
But public opinion on this issue is almost entirely a Republican corporatist creation; their bill will be the result of a long-term misinformation campaign centered on lies about organizing entities like ACORN and suspicion that somehow, illegal immigrants are gaming the system to gain free health care and school for their not-quite-totally-American native-born children.
The truth is that we've largely ignored messaging on Voter Rights because IT'S 2011-- HOW CAN WE POSSIBLY STILL BE DEBATING VOTING RIGHTS?!! Meanwhile, the Republicans have merely to flip the switch and bang, it's on: 83 percent support for a voter disenfranchisement ploy straight out of the sad history of the greatest-democracy-ever-that-somehow-never-manages-to-live-up-to-that-promise-that-everybody-ought-to-be-able-to-vote.
We've got to move the needle on this quickly. We're preempting the introduction of the bill to launch this campaign because for our legislators, the governor and her veto it's going to come down to this:
"Do enough registered voters understand just how backwards, mean and un-American this bill really is?"
If the answer is "not nearly enough" then we can expect more like it.
Republicans Revive Jim Crow Era
The Republican onslaught against hard won Voting Rights is a catastrophe for hundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina. While the people of Egypt are being granted more democracy and more economic opportunities, the citizens of North Carolina are being told they have new restrictions on democracy via Voter ID and fewer economic opportunities via brutal budget cuts. Republicans in Wake County are resegregating the school system, and the Republicans in the General Assembly are resegregating the polling places. David Parker is right. Restrictions on voting are Un-American, and we certainly do not want to restrict voting in North Carolina. We must fight back right now. I am writing a letter to the editor of my local paper today.
Sign the petition
It's the least you can do.
and forwarded to my address book & facebook connections
I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?
The right to have a say in who gets to govern is sacrosanct. If even one voter was blocked from exercising that right, it would piss me off. But thousands? That's beyond infuriating.
Call them out on this
Fact: Voter ID would mean more government control, more government bureaucracy, more government spending, and a threat to freedom -- all the things Republicans campaigned AGAINST.
FACT: Voter fraud is a red herring. It is not a threat to the integrity of our elections. Under the Bush administration, voter fraud zealots went after thousands of claims of voter fraud and found next to NOTHING. In 2004 in Wisconsin, for example, out of over 3 million votes cast, only 5 were found to be fraudulent, that's a whopping 0.00016 percent. How can you justify spending 20 million dollars for something that is this insignificant?
FACT: Immigrants won't be flocking to the voting booth, despite the outrageous 2008 "study" by David Simcox that has been peddled as proof by the right of wide-spread voter fraud by undocumented immigrants. Why should they? If they are documented, they risk having their green card, work or student visa revoked and be deported. If they are undocumented, why would they want to draw attention to themselves by breaking a law that would gain them absolutely NOTHING but could end any hope of a path to legalization for the rest of their lives if decent immigration reform is finally enacted? Voter Fraud is a felony, and no felons would be eligible under even the most generous reform package. This is utterly ridiculous! In 2008, one unlucky immigrant with limited English misunderstood his supervisor's appeal to the workers to go and vote and thought he had to do what his boss said or lose his job. The poor guy never knew what hit him.
FACT: Voter Registration Fraud is NOT Voter Fraud. The nation-wide vendetta against ACORN for "massive voter fraud" resulted in ZERO convictions for actual voter fraud, despite the huge amounts of money, time and effort spent to prove otherwise. The organization was ripped off by the workers they hired to register voters. None of these fictitious voters actually showed up and voted, so no Voter Fraud was committed.
FACT: A much greater threat to the integrity of our elections is tampering with voting equipment, stripping people of their right to vote by "cleaning up" voter rolls selectively (remember Florida), and putting roadblocks (literally and figuratively speaking) to ballot access, including the proposed Voter ID.
Resistance is Fertile
Voter Photo ID concern - Starting a conversation
I am completely against having a super restrictive voter photo id requirement that will make our society less democratic, cost the state millions, and address a practically non-existent problem. In fact I've talked to 4 legislators and a few legislative aides about that this week in person, Dem & GOP, representing my current and past hometowns in NC on Tuesday and Wednesday.
But one concern I have is that, we need to be ready if this bill does become law. While we should be completely mobilizing against this wasteful and discriminatory effort, I wonder if we should also be mobilizing to let people right now that they should start updating their driver licenses? Or get licenses if they don't have them? Like if the NC Dem party could set up a website to organize carpooling to DMVs, or assist people in paying this poll tax of transporting to the DMV/paying to buy/update your license.
I think college dem groups across the state would be a great place to start this, since students often don't have cars on campus, have to change dorms frequently, don't have an updated license after moving to their college city from their previous home town, and don't have easy transportation means to a DMV.
I absolutely oppose the photo voter suppression law, but I also hope that we don't wait until it becomes law to start reacting the results. I feel like we should have a conversation about organizing early. I'm not sure how to start that conversation, so I figured I post here and see what happens.
I'm torn about this
There's a fine line between preparing for defeat and resignation to defeat. It's my instinct to fight to the death (figuratively) and we've done nothing like that so far.
Said another way, if we can't mount a legal, political and grass roots uprising against this misguided legislation, then the prognosis for mounting an effective response to its passage would seem grim.
You may be right
My record as a tactician on policy pretty much sucks. That said, I can't imagine any R legislator giving a shit if there are 40 signs or 400 signs against the bill. Four hundred thousand ... maybe.
Ideologues will not be swayed by a few people who oppose them, especially when those people are "marginal" from their point of view in the first place. One word from Art Pope trumps one million words from people like us. If you are gay, black, young, or a Democrat, you are irrelevant to them. Completely, totally, and unalterably irrelevant.
This is why I favor litigation over all else. The most effective environmental groups in America are those that sue, sue, and sue some more in pursuit of their causes. In the event this odious legislation becomes law, I am assuming Mr. Parker's army of lawyers is prepared to challenge it on every conceivable front. In the meantime, uprising is called for, not preparing for defeat.
I agree that litigation is probably
a step that will have to happen, and hopefully being a voting related issue that would impact the masses it would get fast tracked.
Republican Representative Glen Bradly said he'd stand up against the marriage discrimination amendment, so I wonder if his libertarian leanings wouldn't find him opposing efforts to infringe on the right to vote as well?
And the GOP can't sustain a veto by themselves. Organizing against this early maybe helps ensure that Gov Perdue is encourage to veto it, and can help get some of the conservative Dems on board.
And getting the message out about how the GOP is focusing on marriage discrimination, voter suppression, and partisan redistricting rather than jobs jobs jobs never hurts either. Still, I think planning for the worst is smart in the long run, and getting people to start experiencing a little bit of what the burden will be if this passes, and getting those conversations happening, I think can be a part of/encourage the uprising.
Then again maybe you're right that preparing for the worst is a little too close to admitting defeat. But I still contend thatwe've done more than "nothing like that so far." What more is there to do than press conferences, committee meetings, writing/e-mailing/calling/face-to-face lobbying, phone-banking, blogging, donating to those like Democracy NC who are leading the fight, and talking it up to friends & neighbors?
And of course stunts/street theater to highlight some of the undemocratic measures/corruption/corporate strings between the puppet master and politicians?