Fleecing of America continues

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Disenfranchise: a transitive verb meaning, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity; especially: to deprive of the right to vote.

We’ve heard that word time and again through all the lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s Voter ID law enacted in 2013 by our General Assembly. This past Friday, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the majority of that legislation.

The appellate judges agreed that our state’s voting law, which included a provision requiring voters to show a photo identification card, was enacted “with racially discriminatory intent” in violation of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

“We cannot ignore the record evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history,” 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diana Motz wrote.

Even though this law came into effect in 2013, it wasn’t until the 2016 Primary Election (held this past March) where it was fully implemented for the first time. The General Assembly, after hearing concerns over limitations of what was acceptable identification that a voter had to show before being allowed to cast a ballot, tweaked that portion of the law. The revisions would allow any registered voter without a proper photo ID to obtain one at no cost through North Carolina DMV. Additionally, the revisions allowed a voter that was still experiencing difficulty in obtaining a valid ID to fill out a “reasonable impediment” affidavit and they could vote.

Perhaps I’m way off base, but I would assume that the great majority of North Carolinians possess some sort of acceptable identification. I’ve been asked to show mine when purchasing certain types of medication, and cashing a check (in the days before debit cards became popular).

But getting back to the meaning of disenfranchise; if any race for any reason was purposefully steered away from casting a ballot, then why did the March 2016 Primary see the highest number ever of registered voters taking part in an election?

I looked it up on the NC Board of Elections website, studying the numbers for presidential election years. In the 2012 Primary, 2,182,675 votes were cast in our state. This past March, a record 2,323,590 individuals voted. If voters were disenfranchised, then wouldn’t the 2016 numbers be lower than 2012?

The appellate judges also saw racial bias because the new law halted the process of same-day registration and out-of-precinct provisional voting. They also didn’t like that North Carolina reduced the number of days of early voting.

I can agree on overturning the out-of-precinct provisional voting. No matter what race, people often become confused over which precinct they are supposed to visit to cast a ballot. Let ‘em vote, and sort things out afterwards.

I’ve never been a fan of same-day registration (a process used heavily during the ‘One-Stop’ voting process). There are deadlines to register as a voter, just as they are to file for a political seat. Merriam-Webster defines deadline as a noun, meaning: the latest time or date by which something should be completed. If there’s a deadline, stick to it!

As for early voting, I don’t have enough remaining space to express my distaste for this method of casting a ballot. We did just fine back in the day when we either went to our polling place on Election Day or obtained an absentee ballot because we were scheduled to be out of place on Election Day. They were the choices we had, and everything was fine.

Even the Voter ID law of 2013 allowed for one week of early voting (aka “One Stop”). But the opponents to that legislation wanted more time, and the federal judges agreed, saying the new provisions “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision” and “impose cures for problems that did not exist.”

I agree…there was no existing “problem” with the way we cast ballots prior to One-Stop. Plus, has anyone ever considered the financial burden One-Stop voting places on small, rural counties, especially those here in the R-C area? Our local Boards of Elections use taxpayer dollars to staff those weekday, weeknight, and weekend One Stop sites. Think of the money that could be saved and used for more pressing problems.

Nobody has been disenfranchised. What we have been is fleeced once again by our own federal government in the name of political correctness.


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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