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Pierce writes: "In upholding the voter suppression laws in the now consistently insane state of North Carolina, Judge Thomas Schroeder, another gift to the Republic from the late Avignon Presidency, has walked right on the same glory road that led Chief Justice John Roberts to cut the viscera from the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County."

A rally in support of voting rights. (photo: Scout Tufankjian/Polaris)
A rally in support of voting rights. (photo: Scout Tufankjian/Polaris)

North Carolina's Voting Laws Are Conspicuously Suppressing the Vote

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

26 April 16


And yet they were just upheld by a Bush-appointed judge.

id you hear the trumpets in the sky Monday evening? The Day of Jubilee has sounded again, this time in North Carolina.

In his ruling, the judge suggested that past discrimination had abated. "There is significant, shameful past discrimination," he wrote. "In North Carolina's recent history, however, certainly for the last quarter century, there is little official discrimination to consider."

In upholding the voter suppression laws in the now consistently insane state of North Carolina, Judge Thomas Schroeder, another gift to the Republic from the late Avignon Presidency, has walked right on the same glory road that led Chief Justice John Roberts to cut the viscera from the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County. The conservative movement has worked hard to salt the federal judiciary with people who believe that government has done all it can in the fight against institutional racism, and that the fight itself was won decades ago, and that the country never backslides once it has achieved progress. Combined with this fantastical vision of a country that exists somewhere between the Western Isles and the Big Rock Candy Mountain, these judges also appear completely oblivious to how most people—and especially, most poor people—actually exist in the world. And it is all of a piece. Once Roberts declared the Day of Jubilee, every likeminded federal judge in the system sang along with the choir. It is truly a remarkable, and systemic, triumph of politics over one of the three branches of the federal government.

"North Carolina has provided legitimate state interests for its voter ID requirement and electoral system," Judge Schroeder said near the end of his 485-page opinion. The judge, an appointee of President George W. Bush, found that North Carolina's system was not beyond "the mainstream of other states."

The "legitimate state interest" is, of course, the battle against practically non-existent voter fraud. And, of course, the argument that North Carolina's system was not beyond "the mainstream of other states" could have been made honestly in 1955 as regards, say, the poll tax. This decision is a magnificent demonstration of the power of strategic denial.

As to the tenuous connection that Judge Schroeder's decision has with the real world, we only have to look back a little more than a month, when North Carolina ran its primaries, which were the first elections to be conducted under the law that Schroeder now has upheld. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, and especially not to the people who designed this law, the election was a huge and chewy cluster of fck.

About 218,000 North Carolinians, roughly five percent of registered voters, do not have an acceptable form of government-issued ID that is now required under state law to cast a ballot. Early voting offered a glimpse of the problems that will arise on Tuesday—during the past ten days of early voting, many college students were blocked from the polls. North Carolina's WRAL reported that 864 people across the state had cast provisional early ballots because they did not have acceptable forms of ID, and four of the five counties with the highest concentrations of provisional ballots from voters without ID were in places with college campuses.

It got worse as the day went along, and the problems were all the result of the new regulations.

Durham officials couldn't be reached Wednesday for an update on provisional voting. Wake County had about 8,000 provisional ballots. Wake also had its highest turnout for a presidential primary in years, at 41 percent. Statewide, turnout was about 35 percent—similar to 2012 but slightly lower than 2008, when it was a record 37 percent. Across the state, volunteers for Democracy NC spoke with people who reported trouble voting. Bob Hall, the group's executive director, said voter ID laws appear to have been enforced differently throughout the state, that polling workers often appeared untrained or overworked, and that some voters reported they weren't allowed to cast provisional ballots when a problem arose. "All the problems from this primary will be far worse in the general election," Hall said in a news release. His group has been a vocal opponent of the new ID laws. In Durham, some voters also had trouble finding a precinct on N.C. Central University's campus. It was moved from the student union to the law school, although the county board of elections didn't update its website to reflect that until about 4 p.m. Tuesday.

It is important to realize that, a month ago, they took out these new laws for their first shakedown cruise and the result was confusion and frustration. Both of these were conspicuously focused on certain areas and certain classes of voters. On Monday, in his decision upholding the new regulations, and with all of this having already occurred, Judge Schroeder wrote:

The plaintiffs "failed to show that such disparities will have materially adverse effects on the ability of minority voters to cast a ballot and effectively exercise the electoral franchise" as a result of the 2013 state law, Schroeder wrote. That argument was made more difficult after black voter turnout increased in 2014, he wrote.

Look, a lot of these folks managed to jump through the hoops the legislature so cunningly put in place. So what's the problem? The Day of Jubilee is a wonder indeed. your social media marketing partner


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+25 # ligonlaw 2016-04-26 18:05
Republicans have benefited from racist attacks on the rights of minorities, poor and elderly. Reading the racist comments following the news of Judge Schoeder's gift to the Klan, the hatred for black people is both nasty and triumphant. The right wing will do whatever it takes to turn back the clock. The racists pine for the day when blacks were quiet and whites ran the world. Judge Schoeder did his part for the white race today.
+26 # Blackjack 2016-04-26 18:11
And Governor McCrory has aided and abetted every step of the way. This is a state that was on the verge of turning blue, the Repukes took note, did their homework, and overtook everything the Dems were trying to put into place. The same thing is occurring/has occurred in many other states. It's the Repuke's plan to burrow into the state hierarchy that causes so much of the backward mobility. Dems have got to get smarter at the state level or it won't much matter what happens at the federal level.
+8 # economagic 2016-04-26 18:40
Quite so. Unfortunately the Democratic party in this state and several others (you know the ones I mean) was never a friend to African Americans. Maintaining the wall of segregation and all the nastiness and bloodshed that went with it inevitably facilitated and arguably required enormous corruption. It was a certain case of that corruption that provided the ammunition for the resurgence of a Republican party that made the earlier Democrats and also some other Republicans look pretty good.
+22 # Citizen Mike 2016-04-26 18:25
The Reconstruction was begun but never completed. We need a Second Reconstruction. The vile and hateful Southern Way Of Life has never been effectively suppressed. We should be greatly shamed for this in the eyes of the world.
+4 # economagic 2016-04-26 18:35
Many Black leaders consider that to have already occurred between about 1945 and 1975, and are calling for a third.
-24 # 2016-04-26 18:39
While I disagree with the necessity for voter ID, this article seems a bit hysterical.

In the first place, the voters who were not carrying acceptable ID cast provisional ballots which will be counted as soon as the voter presents acceptable ID. No one's vote was surpressed.

But in the second place, North Carolina has relatively easy voter ID requirements: either an in-state driver's license (even if it is expired) or a driver's license from another state or a passport or a free state ID or a tribal ID. In addition, anyone over 70 is essentially exempted.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+21 # economagic 2016-04-26 18:54
Lee, as usual your somnolence is more than a match for whatever "hysteria" you perceive. Many people who were denied their rights saw no point in wasting further time filling out a provisional ballot and justifying in writing their "failure" to have acceptable ID. It turns out that they were right, as at least a thousand provisional ballots were thrown out on minor technicalities.

As for the ease of procuring such voter ID in this or any state: Come to any state with such requirements, in blackface and disguised as an elderly woman. Have an African American drive you to the DMV or to the polling place, THEN tell me how easy it was to exercise your democratic right.

I'm a 70-YO white guy, but I see and hear what is happening in my state and in my city (Durham, where resources are much more readily available than in, say, Robeson or Columbus County).
+14 # dipierro4 2016-04-26 19:48
It's not hysterical. Granted, the ID requirements are not that great for many people. But the moving of the polling places (without notice in some cases), and other actions, show a clear pattern: To suppress the vote of minorities and of the young.
+3 # grandlakeguy 2016-04-26 18:52
Isn't that what "voting laws" are supposed to do?
+3 # Krackonis 2016-04-27 12:42
Suppress the votes of minorities... Yes... That is what they do, by design.
+1 # Caliban 2016-04-28 07:00
And the young, as # dipierro4 notes. In NC, the GOP is particularly fearful of college students on Election Days.
-21 # MidwestTom 2016-04-26 19:15
Protests like this are what has give us Trump, since every idiot can vote.
+6 # tomtom 2016-04-26 19:59
What's truly amazing is there are many people who could do a tremendous job running the country, but, would never be able to afford the costs of a campaign. We've minimized the field and the choices. Riches shouldn't determine eligibility.
0 # tm7devils 2016-04-27 02:46
Which is why ALL judges should be elected by the people for a specified term. Having an open ended term for a judge is not logical or rational given their powers...and - like Schroeder - sometimes show a lack of objectivity and critical thinking skills.
+4 # ChrisCurrie 2016-04-27 08:39
We can now cite "Judge Thomas Schroeder" as and example of a highly dishonest and thoroughly corrupted Federal Judge.
+2 # Robbee 2016-04-27 09:05
ever notice how any story about our corporatist scotus or gop judiciary, chases our rsn hill-hater cockroaches to hide? like lights switching on? - here's what i say april 26th under a hit-piece that summons hill-haters to comment -

it feels like i just landed on the planet of the amnesiacs! - as says - # indian weaver 2016-04-26 15:05
"This country will also be destroyed under a Hillary regime ... I'll never again vote Democrat ... Either with Hillary or Trump, the implosion ... will continue apace."

- are we so long after our last GOP regime that no one recalls bush 2 cheney? - ever heard those names before? - who?

reading most of the above comments, many of us would have us believe - 1) that there is absolutely no difference between a dem regime and a gop regime? - 2) that obama runs our country exactly the same as bush 2 cheney did? - 3) hill would run our country exactly the same as rump would? - no difference?

on the basis of what? - evidently mass hysterical amnesia! - nothing at all! - pure inability to recall causes for our ills or to incorporate them into our reality?

we have alot of angry amnesiacs summoned by a jaundiced journalist who says "the sky is falling" - knee-jerk reacting! like -- # joe_me 2016-04-26 13:13 "... May just ... stay home ..."

bernie does not care for our amnesiacs one bit! - go bernie! - listen to bernie! and go dem!
-1 # Krackonis 2016-04-27 12:47
"The Corporate Party" Runs both the Republicans and Democrats... It is clear and obvious just watching it this year....

"The Party" (I prefer to call them "Big Brother" but you an call them whatever you want) are the guys with the cameras and control, is trying to make certain only two choices are available for president, and it will be one of their choices who will do things "The Big Brother Way".

All hail "The Party" all hail "Big Brother".

Look at what happened with just one party and the stazi... America, the surveilled..
+3 # OLDGUY 2016-04-27 09:37
To Robbee to those who say there is no difference between REP. and DEM. Let me cite a difference. Alito and Roberts vs. Hagen and Sotomyor
0 # Krackonis 2016-04-27 12:53
Fascism vs Fascism light.... There is no difference, both parties are the same...

War murder death and taxes.... The only difference is minor philosophies... Flavouring... Would you like your death and GMO's vanilla or chocolate flavoured?

For those outside your country America represents Warfare, murder, genocide and support of terrorism (Israel and Saudi Arabia come to mind)

The American flag symbolizes invaders... People coming to occupy and kill the civilian population... Usually by sending in paid mercenaries to soften up the country then pretend to be "terrorists" which the US military can go "attack" and voila America owns your country.

Then you guys actually want to vote for the lady who killed your ambassador for electioneering purposes.... WTF?
0 # Caliban 2016-04-28 07:16
Plenty of nuttiness here but not much clear thought.

Have some US administrations fit (indeed, created and exemplified) these negative stereotypes? Certainly. But they by no means fit the US all the time. Nor do other nations (or commenters) exist in pristine innocence.

So Yes, criticize specific flaws where warranted, but leave the self-righteousn ess at home when you do. Blanket condemnation is as bad as blanket acceptance.
0 # OLDGUY 2016-04-27 09:39
My error Kagan is the corret name
-2 # mmc 2016-04-27 10:50
"In North Carolina's recent history . . . there is little official discrimination to consider". Of course, until now. It will not stop until the buildings and institutions that create thes hateful, un-Christian laws are destroyed, burned to the ground, and plowed over.
0 # Krackonis 2016-04-27 12:54
American Christian or normal Christian?

They are quite different things...

(American Christians kill and murder and are proud of it, normal Christians rejects violence and support the teachings of Jesus Christ)

Did Mother Teresa or the Pope pose with a gun and a bible? That is what American Christians do.
0 # Caliban 2016-04-28 09:49
# Krackonis -- What about the Reformation in Europe? Plenty of Catholics killing Protestants and Protestants killing Catholics in that historical event.

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