When it comes to the “war on voting,” perhaps no state has gone after voting rights with the ferocity of Republican officials in North Carolina, which approved the most sweeping voter-suppression law in the nation earlier this year. Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who spearheaded the fight, put a fascinating twist on his record this morning during an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.
After dismissing criticisms of a new voter-ID law – he described the policy as “common sense,” despite the fact that it undermines voting and solves a problem that doesn’t exist – the Republican governor bristled in response to a question about early voting.
“We didn’t shorten early voting, we compacted the calendar,” McCrory said. He added, “It’s just the schedule has changed.”
Is that so.
Starting next year, McCrory’s voter-suppression law “reduces the early voting period from 17 days to 10 days.” The governor can try to put a nice spin on this, but when he “compacted the calendar,” he also took days off the calendar in which North Carolinians could vote.
(The Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly recently argued the “reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important” because it benefits Democrats if more voters can participate in advance of Election Day.)
What’s more, this same law McCrory is so eager to defend also places new restrictions on voter-registration drives, makes it much harder for students to vote, ends same-day registration during the early voting period, and makes it easier for vigilante poll-watchers to challenge eligible voters. All of these measures, according to the state’s own numbers, disproportionately affect African-American voters.
“It’s just the schedule has changed”? No, governor, quite a bit more than that changed.