>>BY TORI TAYLOR Just yesterday, the governor signed in what is being considered the >>nation’s worst voter suppression law. This new law implements the most sweeping changes to North Carolina’s election process we’ve seen in decades.
The >>restrictions would require voters to show approved photo identification at the polls, reduce early voting by a week, end straight-ticket voting, and eliminate same-day voter registration during early voting. This law even >>eliminates pre-registering 16 and 17-year-olds, a popular high school civic engagement program that is responsible for registering tens of thousands of students each year.
Additionally, the law increases the maximum amount for campaign donations, creates a second primary during presidential elections, and loosens disclosure and transparency requirements in campaign advertising.
Opponents say that the law doesn’t just harm the overall democratic process; it specifically targets working people, students, seniors, minority communities, and the disabled. For example, this law drastically cuts early voting hours. During the 2012, >>2.5 million ballots were cast during early voting period. More than 70% of African American voters used early voting between the 2008 and 2012 elections.
This law hurts a young woman whose public university ID card isn’t an accepted form of identification at her polling site. It places a burden on a working mother of two who can’t get off work to vote during business hours and the evening polling site hours have been cut. It hurts a senior citizen from rural North Carolina who has voted in every presidential election since we can remember, but now lives in a nursing home with limited means. Her driver’s license expired when she was 69.
This bill does a lot of things that spell bad news for North Carolina’s political process, but the most fundamental problem is that it makes it harder to have a voice. Our country was founded upon the idea that citizens should have a voice in their government. North Carolinians deserve elected representatives who value the will of their citizens– not actively work to silence it.