We were warned all along that if you let those nasty old Republicans take charge of things they would get up to all sorts of dirty tricks, including finding ways to stop primarily minority, younger or low income residents (read: Democrats) from voting. This weekend, these ominous portents apparently came true, as I saw one liberal after another touting a shocking report from Michael Wells Jr. at Politics USA with the Halloween level scary title, Minority Voter Suppression In North Carolina Witnessed Firsthand.
So I guess they were right after all, eh? I mean, here we have a “firsthand” witness, so the case is closed. Except that this lengthy article – being referenced all over Twitter – completely fails in two rather important areas. First of all, the first seven of ten lengthy paragraphs (Spoiler Alert!) have nothing to do with reports of observed voter suppression, firsthand or otherwise. They are a highly biased history of the current election laws in the state, including voter-id requirements. And even there the author makes a breathtaking statement which none of his liberal supporters seem to have noticed.
Starting in 2016, ID will be required to vote. There are six acceptable forms of ID: 1) an unexpired North Carolina Driver’s License, 2) United States Passport, 3) a Veterans Identification Card, 4) an unexpired North Carolina Identification Card, 5) a United States Military Identification Card and 6) Tribal Identification Card. All of these forms of ID cost money and are tantamount to a ‘poll tax,’ which the Constitution forbids.
Well, I’m going to have to protest this myself. I have maintained all along that one requirement for such laws must be that a free id be available to all legal residents who are otherwise qualified to vote. You can’t mandate a requirement for a document which is only available by paying a fee. But here’s where the problem comes in: the author has apparently never heard of the DMV.
DMV offers ID cards for those customers who require a photo ID, but do not require a Driver’s License. There is no fee for a Voter ID card, or if a customer qualifies for another no-fee ID. The cost for a standard Non-operator ID card is $10. An ID can be obtained from any Driver License Office, regardless of where you live.
Requirements & Documents to Obtain a No-Fee Voter ID Card
There is no fee charged for a North Carolina ID Card for an individual registered to vote in North Carolina who does not have acceptable photo identification under N.C. General Statute 163-166.13.
To obtain a No Fee Voter ID card, you must sign a declaration stating that you do not have an acceptable photo ID. If you already have an acceptable photo ID, you are not eligible to receive a No Fee Voter ID.
You must also be registered to vote. If you are not a registered voter, DMV will assist you in completing your voter registration application during your visit, and you will still be eligible for your No Fee Voter ID.
And if even that sounds like too much of a hassle, they publish a schedule stretching out for years of when their DMV Mobile Unit will be visiting every neighborhood, specifically for the purpose of helping people get free id in preparation for the 2016 election.
So now that we’ve dispensed with the author’s out and out mendacity about availability of id to comply with the law, let’s get down to the serious accusations of “firsthand” observation of voter suppression, shall we?
I witnessed the inequities of the law firsthand during the first day of early voting in North Carolina on Thursday, October 23rd. I voted in Winston-Salem at the Forsyth County Government Center. Several African-American voters told me they were told by people outside the polling place that it would take two hours to vote. I, a clearly upper-middle-class white man, was told forty-five minutes to an hour; it took fifty-five minutes. I have heard other similar stories of purposeful misinformation given to minority voters from through out the state.
In Boone, North Carolina, the Board of Elections tried to move a polling site located at Appalachian State University. The polling site draws primarily college students, and most of those students vote for Democrats. The Board’s efforts proved unsuccessful as a local Superior Court judge ruled the polling place must stay at Appalachian State, but do not be surprised if Tillis, Berger and others in the final days before the election file another frivolous lawsuit to keep college students from voting.
Believe it or not, that was the entire thing. The “proof” being trumpeted from all corners of the web was delivered in those two paragraphs. Some unnamed persons allegedly told the author that they were told by “people outside the polling place” (were these election officials? He fails to say) that the wait would be longer than what some other unnamed person told him. Oh, and there were “other stories” from around the state. Sadly, it seems that no details, documentation or even media reports were available.
Then, in a truly Vox-worthy deep dive, Wells discovers that a request was made to move a polling site located at a state university campus. Never mind that the properly filed request was later denied and the polling place stayed where it was. Never mind that such requests are filed all over the country for reasons ranging from construction at the original site, traffic problems, or complaints about ease of access from other voters who may not be able to get onto campus as easily. Or – as I already said – that it wasn’t actually moved. Hey… a request was made! This is obviously a case of blatant voter suppression.
This article is getting pushed around the web a couple of days before the election to gin up some outrage and GOTV work for Democrats. And it’s 100% malarkey, as our distinguished Veep would say. I mean, when I heard there was actual voter suppression witnessed, I thought it was going to look more like this…