Voter-suppression off to a fast start in North Carolina

Updated
 
On campus at Elizabeth City State University
On campus at Elizabeth City State University

It was only four days ago that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed sweeping new voting restrictions into law (despite his own personal confusion over what the law says and does). But it’ll probably be a little while until we start to see the practical effects, right?

Wrong. Voter-suppression efforts are off to a fast start in North Carolina (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney and Facebook commenter Sharon Doherty for the heads-up).

Within hours of Gov. Pat McCrory signing a Republican-backed bill this week making sweeping changes to the state’s voting laws, local elections boards in two college towns made moves that could make it harder for students to vote.

The Watauga County Board of Elections voted Monday to eliminate an early voting site and election-day polling precinct on the campus of Appalachian State University.

The Pasquotank County Board of Elections on Tuesday barred an Elizabeth City State University senior from running for city council, ruling his on-campus address couldn’t be used to establish local residency. Following the decision, the head of the county’s Republican Party said he plans to challenge the voter registrations of more students at the historically black university ahead of upcoming elections.

Much of the criticism of the voting restrictions in North Carolina have focused on Republican efforts to suppress African-American and low-income voter participation, but efforts to target students – who tend to be more progressive – are a key provision of the new state law.

That Republicans are already hard at work at Elizabeth City State University checks two boxes on the GOP to-do list – it targets students and African Americans since the school is a historically black college.

Remember, the use of student IDs for voting came up quite a bit during the legislative debate on the new voter-suppression law. State Sen. Tom Apodaca (R), the bill’s chief sponsor, argued that college IDs “could be manipulated” and must therefore be excluded.

Did Apodaca have any evidence of anyone, anywhere ever using a manipulated student ID to commit voter fraud? No. Did Apodaca show that college IDs are more prone to manipulation than other forms of identification? No.

But the provision was included anyway. And now that it’s part of the law, the GOP is already hard at work.

Correction: This post originally referenced possible tax penalties for parents whose kids registered to vote using their school addresses, but that was part of a separate measure that was not approved, and wasn’t included in the voting restrictions signed this week. The incorrect sentence has been removed.

North Carolina, Pat McCrory, Voter Id and War On Voting

Voter-suppression off to a fast start in North Carolina

Updated