Last night at 11:30pm, the GOP dropped another bill to limit access to the voting booth. This one would dramatically reduce the number of early voting days from 17 to 10. Rep. David Lewis says that’s not the intention of the bill and that 17 days will be restored. Who knows, though? The only thing that is certain about this bill is that the Republicans have been messing with the political process non-stop since they took control of the legislature.
The bill is almost certainly designed to reduce the number of people who might vote for Democrats, just like their voter ID amendment. Republicans understand that their base is older and shrinking. They’re trying to rig the political process to protect their majorities. They can deny it, but they’re only lying to themselves.
The massive voter suppression law that Republicans passed in 2013 was struck down by the courts for targeting African-American voters with “almost surgical precision.” The GOP’s initial response was to start trying to rig the judiciary. Now, they’re trying to pass the measures piecemeal instead of in a single bill. If they can’t rig the system one way, they’ll rig it another.
Republicans aren’t as worried about their ability to hold power now as they are about the future. They’ve taken a comprehensive approach to limiting access to the polls for African-Americans, young people and poor people. At the national level, they’re pushing back against shifting demographics by working to reduce the Hispanic population through deportations and brutal deterrence procedures.
Republicans criticize Democrats for making blanket accusations of racism. They have a point. Not everybody who voted for Trump is a racist and certainly not all Republicans are racist. However, the GOP has long been playing on racial resentment to garner support among their base for their most draconian measures. The goal might be political but the impact certainly looks racist.
Until Republicans took control of the legislature, nobody complained about how our elections work. Despite their claims, no evidence of widespread voter fraud existed and most fraud occurs in mail-in ballots, a method that tends to be preferred by Republicans. Their continued meddling in elections, voting and redistricting has done more to cast doubt on the validity of North Carolina’s democracy than anything individual voters have done. The real voter fraud is coming from inside the legislature.