You do not need to show your ID to vote in North Carolina elections, now and forever, according to a three-judge panel who issued a “final ruling and order” in Superior Court last week.
That should be it for voter ID. The only thing that could save it now is if someone turns up the kind of voter fraud that could be prevented by showing ID at the polls. But the only significant voter fraud that has been uncovered in NC over the last 20 or so years was perpetrated by Republicans in 2018, when McCrae Dowless rigged the game using absentee ballots. That would not have been prevented by voter ID. t
It’s worth mentioning that Dowless was working for Republican candidate Mark Harris in the 9th Congressional District, which had already been gerrymandered to be mathematically advantageous for the GOP. Yet they still cheated.
The state GOP has been trying to establish voter ID since 2011 with the same sort of zeal they expend for preserving Confederate monuments and underpaying teachers. It eventually passed in 2018 by voter referendum — as an amendment to the NC Constitution! — only to be immediately challenged and banned by the courts until this lawsuit played out.
It’s important to remember here the reason why voter ID has been repeatedly struck down by courts: Like the poll tax and literacy tests that came before it — both of which were cited in the majority opinion — voter ID is designed to keep Black people from voting.
Throughout our state’s history, the opinion notes, “laws limiting African American political participation have been facially race neutral but have nevertheless had profoundly discriminatory effects. Defendants even concede that North Carolina has an unacceptable history of racial disenfranchisement.”
And because time is a flat circle, the Republicans have already announced a challenge to the ruling.
What’s left is a Republican Party unrepentant in its racism, unrelenting in its quest to disenfranchise as many Black voters as it can, willing to abuse the courts and acting in bad faith about the threat of voter fraud.
There is nothing conservative about wasting time and money on an unjust, immoral cause. There is nothing noble about dogwhistle politics designed to stoke white fears. There is nothing brave about silencing votes among those most vulnerable communities, the ones who rely on government services the most.
The most significant threat to election integrity in North Carolina is the GOP itself. They tend to do much better when the game is rigged.