Shortly before adjourning, Republicans in North Carolina’s state legislature approved the most sweeping voting restrictions seen in the United States in decades. Any hopes that Gov. Pat McCrory (R) might save the day with a veto were quickly dashed – on Friday, he praised the legislation and announced his intention to sign it.
Whether McCrory understands the bill he’s poised to sign into law is another matter entirely.
An Associated Press reporter asked the Republican governor how three particular provisions of the bill would help prevent voter fraud – ending same-day voter registration, trimming the period for early voting by a week and eliminating a program that encourages high school students to register to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays.
McCrory talked about two other sections of the legislation….
Asked again about seemingly unnecessary voter-registration restrictions, the Republican governor told the AP, “There is plenty of opportunity for voter registration – online, offline, through many methods.”
Unfortunately, this didn’t make any sense – online voter registration is not permitted in North Carolina. That’s true now, and it will remain true under the changes the governor is poised to approve.
Pressed further on why eliminating pre-registration for North Carolinians under 18 would prevent fraud, McCrory finally acknowledged his ignorance. “I don’t know enough, I’m sorry, I haven’t seen that part of the bill,” he replied.
I’m afraid this the-dog-ate-my-homework answer just won’t do.
McCrory is ready to sign the most dramatic voter-suppression scheme Americans have seen in decades – a scheme filled with provisions that have literally nothing to do with a voter-fraud scourge that does not exist – and he hasn’t even bothered to read the bill he intends to codify into law?
If McCrory hasn’t read up on this anti-voting measure, why did he take the time to praise it?
In the governor’s defense, I suppose it’s hard to find time to read legislation when he’s so busy breaking campaign promises, restricting women’s access to health care services, gutting unemployment benefits, cutting funding for public schools, and blocking Medicaid expansion, but if McCrory is going to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of his own constituents, for no apparent reason other than a far-right desire to target minorities, students, and the poor, is it too much to ask that he at least understand the basics of the legislation he’ll sign?