This week, the Republicans in Raleigh are trying to push through myriad bad bills that drastically change voting in North Carolina. H452 (Repeal Public Financing), H351 (Voter ID), and S411 (Elect Pat McCrory) are all in committee or in session today. There is pressure on legislators to have bills pass at least one of the two houses before the crossover deadline - so a whirlwind of bills will come before legislators this week. Many of these bills adversely affect young, disabled, minority, and elderly voters.
Last week, in anticipation of the crossover deadline (this Thursday, June 7), YDNC President Sam Spencer and Legislative Director Doug Jackson addressed extreme changes to North Carolina voting laws during our press conference at the General Assembly (Sam's comments on voting start at 8:20).
Sam Spencer's remarks as prepared:
Back in 2007, YDNC was one of the groups that lobbied for Same-Day Voter Registration. Myself, Zack Hawkins, and many others talked to representatives and traveled to Raleigh to level the playing field for young voters. We were proud to support measures that made it easier for citizens to participate in our democracy. But now, bad bills threaten our electoral franchise on numerous fronts, and many of these bills will have an outsized effect on young voters. Even though 60% of North Carolinians Early Voted in 2008, and over 250,000 utilized Same-Day Registration, Republicans want to cost us our tax dollars and our voting rights.
Republican legislation on voting rights reminds me of the Star Trek movie where Captain Kirk faced a no-win computer scenario. When Kirk couldn't win fairly, he changed the rules of the game and reprogramed the computer.
Let me be clear - Republicans are facing a no-win scenario if they pass their budget, and they know it. We're asking all legislators to oppose drastic changes to voting rights that would hinder the North Carolina Constitution's guarantee that all elections be free.
Doug Jackson's remarks as prepared:
This new Republican legislature has also mounted an attack on the democratic process in North Carolina. Even though no case of voter fraud has changed the outcome of any election in recent years, there is a bill in the House that would require every voter to have government-issued photo identification in order to exercise their right to vote. This provision would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, primarily the elderly, students, minorities, poor citizens, and the disabled to solve a problem that does not exist. In fact, most voter fraud occurs by absentee voting, which usually trends Republican, but this legislature has not proposed anything to limit absentee voting.
Also, a quick reminder - since Voter ID is a spending bill, it isn't subject to the crossover deadline, so it could show up any time during this session. Call the bill's sponsors and educate them about the myth of voter fraud. For some great information on proposed voting changes, visit Democracy NC.