North Carolina’s Voter ID Law

Yesterday, I wrote about the focus on purported coziness between the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign was missing the forest for the trees and that the real threat to democracy in the United States is the Republican Party’s continued, systemic acts to disenfranchise those who don’t vote for them.

Today, a panel of judges on the Fourth Circuit struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law.  Remarkably, in reversing the district court’s long, detailed opinion, the Court noted: “In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees. This failure of perspective led the court to ignore critical facts bearing on legislative intent, including the inextricable link between race and politics in North Carolina.” North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory, at 9 (emphasis added).

In an opinion filled with damning facts, here’s perhaps the most damning: “The State then elaborated on its justification, explaining that ‘[c]ounties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black‘ and ‘disproportionately Democratic.’ J.A. 22348-49.  In response, SL 2013-381 did away with one of the two days of Sudnay voting.  See N.C. State Conf., 2016 WL 1650774, at *15.  Thus, in what comes as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times, the State’s very justification for a challenged statute hinges explicitly on race — specifically its concern that African Americans, who had overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, had too much access to the franchise.” Id. at 39-40 (bold emphasis added).

Here’s another disgusting, but not shocking, part of the opinion: “This hurried pace, of course, strongly suggests an attempt to avoid in-depth scrutiny.  Indeed, neither this legislation — nor, as far as we can tell, any other legislature in the Country — has ever done so much, so fast, to restrict access to the franchise.”  Id. at 43-44.

Oh and this: “As noted above, the General Assembly completely revised the  list of acceptable photo IDs, removing from the list the IDs held disproportionately by African Americans, but retaining those disproportionately by whites.”  Id. at 46.

And there’s this little nugget: “No minutes of meetings about SL 2013-381 exist.”  Id. at 47.

The Court nears its conclusion: “The only clear factor linking these various ‘reforms’ is their impact on African American voters.  The record thus makes obvious that the ‘problem’ the majority in the General Assembly sought to remedy was emerging support for the minority party.”  Id. at 68-69.

Any special relationship between HRC and the DNC does not even come close to undermining democracy as much as passing laws with the specific intent to limit the ability of a race to vote and of one’s political opponents to vote.  In 2016, failing to vote for Democrats is failing to vote for democracy.  Don’t miss the forest when carefully surveying the many trees.

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