The NCGOP is rolling out a cynical plan to boost Republican turnout in November. They’re loading up the ballot with constitutional amendments intended to motivate their base. They’re mostly bad ideas designed to lock in conservative principles that will harm working class and minority voters. Voters should reject them all.
Still, let’s go through a couple. The most notorious is the voter ID amendment. The amendment would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls. The problem lies in the details. There are none. The substance of the law would be determined by the legislature. It’s part of the GOP’s attempt to circumvent the court and enact their massive voter suppression piecemeal. I’m not as anti-voter ID as some folks, but I certainly don’t believe we should be using the constitution to limit rights. If we need a voter ID law, pass it as a bill but leave the constitution alone. That, by the way, is a conservative position.
The GOP’s effort to cap income tax in North Carolina is an attempt to ensure that working people continue to pick up an increasing share of the tax burden. At a time when income inequality is at an all-time high and taxes, especially for rich people, are at an all-time low, this bill makes sure that in times of need, we’ll reduce the spending power of the poor and middle class instead of asking the most privileged among us to pay a little more.
Other amendments would reduce the power of the executive branch purely because a Democrat holds the office. That’s certainly not a reason to alter the constitution and is really an attack on the separation of powers. North Carolina has historically kept the governor’s powers among the weakest in the nation. Reducing it more just strengthens the hand of Republicans who are protecting their power through gerrymandering and voter suppression.
Who knows what else is going to be on the ballot, but we should oppose them all. Amending the constitution should not be done lightly and it should certainly not be done to further a political agenda. It should be done to protect the people of the state. Just say no to rigging the state constitution.