Editorial: NC’s voter ID bill is a flat circle

0
80

It wasn’t the first illegal action our legislature undertook since the Republican takeover in 2010 — the marriage amendment, a racial gerrymander of our Congressional districts, an attempt to reconstruct Greensboro City Council and a move to merge state elections and ethics functions have all been struck down by judges in the last few years — but a lot hinged on the omnibus elections bill that sailed through the legislature in 2013.

It was popular among Republicans in the legislature, enjoying sponsorship by Triad Reps. John Blust, Debra Conrad, Jon Hardister, Julia Howard and Donny Lambeth, which is every single one of them in the GOP save for Rep. John Faircloth, who was busy writing a bill that allowed judges and county clerks to wear sidearms at work.

But like a lot of illegal legislation, this law did not make it past the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down five key provisions in 2015. One judge called it “one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.”

But the faithful held out hope that their colossal wrong could be made right by the US Supreme Court. On Monday, that body declined to hear arguments on the case, effectively shooting North Carolina’s voter ID law dead.

Normal humans might, at this point, accept that they tried to foist something horrible upon the people they were elected to represent, that they were caught doing this thing, and that maybe expending their energies on getting votes for themselves instead of preventing people from voting for anybody else would be the way to go here.

But that’s not what happened.

Within hours of the Supreme Court decision, the News & Observer reported, House Republican leadership had already begun crafting a bill designed to wriggle out of the restrictions imposed by the Fourth Circuit.

Meanwhile, four years — four years — have passed while these jokers continue their fruitless efforts to erode to our democracy.

The punchline, though, is that voter fraud is practically nonexistent in NC. An audit of the 2016 election showed that just 508 people —441 of them active felons — cast ineligible ballots out of 4.8 million votes cast. No races were affected.