The Republican-dominated North Carolina Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to sweeping election law changes, including requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls and shortening early voting by a week.
The bill was approved in a 32-14 party-line vote following three hours of debate. Among the bill’s 57 pages of provisions are measures ending same-day voter registration and a popular high school civics program that encourages students to register in advance of their 18th birthdays.
As I just told a reporter, this North Carolina measure is the most sweeping anti-voter law in at least decades. I’m not big on using the term “voter suppression,” which I think is overused and often inaccurate, but it is hard to see this law as justified on anti-fraud, public confidence, or efficiency grounds. The intent here is to make it harder for people—especially non-white people and those likely to vote Democratic–to register or cast a vote that will be counted. It also makes money matter more in North Carolina politics and kills public financing of the North Carolina courts.
North Carolina is well on its way to becoming the next Florida. If only there were a law that would stop such a provision from going into effect until someone determined the law would not hurt minority voters. Oh wait…