Letter writer: Voter ID law harkens back to Jim Crow practices

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Mountain Xpress provided a valuable resource to our community in its recently published article on the new state voter ID law [“Show Your Face: Confusion at Polls Feared as New Voter ID Law Takes Effect,” Dec. 2].

First, a few salient points from the constitutional challenge to the law by the ACLU, NAACP and the U.S. Justice Department. Most worthy of scrutiny were the voter ID requirements and other suppression measures involving a significant curtailing of early voting (African-Americans on a percentage basis outnumber white voters in early voting), elimination of same-day voter registration and eliminating preregistration of 16 to 17-year-olds. All harken back to Jim Crow laws and practices. While not as egregious as Jim Crow poll taxes and literacy tests, the intent and result are the same: disenfranchisement and disproportionate burden on African-Americans, Latina/os, the poor and the young.

The federal court challenge to the new restrictions is under advisement and awaiting a decision following a court trial this past summer. Trials, as we know, are about evidence and facts. Professor Lorraine Minnite testified that her 2000-2014 review of North Carolina voting records demonstrates there were two voter impersonation fraud referrals to county district attorneys during a period when 35 million ballots were counted in primary and federal elections.

In your article, Susan Myrick of the Civitas Institute (North Carolina’s conservative voice) asserts that voter fraud has been a real problem in North Carolina. She mentions that when voters die or move, they remain on the voter rolls. Whether fraud accompanies this situation is pure speculation, as it is unclear how much of it takes place and how many people, if any, take advantage of it, given that fraudulent voting in North Carolina is a felony.

The voter ID requirement continues to sow confusion and concern in our community. Consider young men stopped by the police, questioned and then released without an arrest. Might these young men nevertheless think there may be an outstanding warrant, and by showing ID they run the risk of arrest in the near future? This situation occurring may be very remote, but a young person distrustful of law enforcement may be deterred from showing up at a government desk and providing identification. And why should they have to experience any fear for voting in their district?

The evidence surrounding voter ID comes down on the side of suppression of the vote rather than combating widespread voter fraud. Years ago, women could not vote, African-Americans could not vote, men under age 21 could not vote. Our history must be about increasing access to the ballot. When people have access to the ballot, it reinforces our basic democratic values. Let’s reaffirm “one person, one vote,” not legalize “some persons, some votes.”

— Curry First
Asheville

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38 thoughts on “Letter writer: Voter ID law harkens back to Jim Crow practices

  1. James

    Same excrement different day. Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, elderly Americans, poor Americans, blah, blah, blah all have to have a photo ID in order to drive. These same people are all capable of pulling out that ID at the voting booth just like they do at the DMV. This tired old charge of racism is brought out by white liberals when something sensible threatens their agenda – in this case, preventing voter fraud.

    • bsummers

      Yeah, right. We can’t stand it that you merely want to prevent voter fraud. Whatta crock.

      • Lulz

        LOL, so says the guy that wasted money on a dumb water lawsuit lulz. But those that don’t have ID to vote probably don’t pay property taxes and thus have to watch as they’re raised constantly so some can play Perry Mason.

        • bsummers

          I wasted money on the lawsuit? lulz? I think LOL you have me confused lulz with 7 elected officials in a City where I’m not even a resident. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

          And defending municipalities right to control their own infrastructure from a privatization-happy State is never “wasted”.

          LULULULULULULZ

          • Peter Robbins

            Not that “City Council” cover story again. Next you’ll say you weren’t born in Kenya.

      • Peter Robbins

        Why all the suspicion? The letter plainly states that identification cards will address real problems. Two of them.

    • mynameis

      “This tired old charge of racism…”

      It’s tired and old, just like most racists.

      And just like the myth of voter fraud driving voter ID laws.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/08/06/a-comprehensive-investigation-of-voter-impersonation-finds-31-credible-incidents-out-of-one-billion-ballots-cast/

      “A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast.”

      By voter impersonation, they mean the type of voter fraud that Voter ID laws could hinder.

      • Lulz

        LOL, trusting the media machine to tell you everything is cherry is like taking a big gulp of acid and thinking it’s water lulz. But you go right ahead and post those links LOL.

        • Not as stupid as you are

          I’m guessing you only pay attention to Fox News and Glenn Beck. No surprise there. You never have to worry about them going over your head.

        • mynameis

          It’s so easy to dismiss stuff when you really don’t care, isn’t it Lulz?

      • bsummers

        Right. Even the suspected “voter fraud” rate, of the type ID laws would stop, account for .000000003% of votes cast. We all know what NC’s voter ID law is really intended to do.

        “The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt.”
        Don Yelton, Buncombe County GOP

        “The law targets an illusion while doing real damage to the right to vote.”
        NC’s voter ID law blocks voters, not fraud
        http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/ned-barnett/article27054421.html

        Why do you people hate America so much?

        • Solutionist

          Only the CRIMINAL democrackkks that we HATE so much for RUINING our once great nation … never more evident than right here in Dumcombe County ….

          • mynameis

            Holy cow, Fisher. If you’re going to change your name up, you’re gonna need to come up with a new schtick.

    • Lulz

      LOL, it’s pretty pathetic when democrats have to rely on lies to win elections because their platform has nothing of real substance to offer. Nor do they hold their own to the same standards as their opponents and why even if they do win, the eventual outcome will be continued decline especially in the middle class. Not one of them can tell me the benefit of open borders in an era where so many Americans are out of work lulz. Not one has the integrity to speak up about the deal with Iran and how bad it is. Why Iran just tested what is basically an ICBM that is capable of carrying nuclear warheads against the so called Obama historic agreement. Not one will say that the latest hot air global warming agreement holds the USA to immediate reductions while leaving countries like China until 2030 to comply. Why do democrats hate America so much and more importantly whites especially lulz?

      • mynameis

        Paranoid much? Perhaps you should grab a gun and hide in the closet until all this scary scary stuff passes.

      • bsummers

        So the real crime here is obvious. It’s not voting fraudulently that has you riled – it’s people voting Democrat that has to be stopped.

        Sometimes you come right out and say it, like the Speaker of the House in New Hampshire, who was trying to stop college students from being able to vote. Why? Because they were:

        “kids voting liberal”

        Oho!! The horror!! We must deprive these liberal voters of their franchise as American citizens until they vote the way we approve!!

        It’s all about shaving a few percentage points off of voter turnout in groups that tend to vote Democrat. It must suck to know that the only way you can win is by chipping away at democracy. lulz

      • Tracy Rose

        Name calling on this forum is not OK. Please keep the discussion to the issue at hand.

    • Not as stupid as you are

      Ever head of the concept of statistical insignificance?

    • bsummers

      That appears to be “voter registration fraud”, not simple voter fraud. He voted via absentee ballot in two states and in person at a third. Having to show an ID at the poll doesn’t stop this kind of fraud. But don’t let that discourage you from making it harder for hundreds of thousands of innocent people to vote.

  2. Yared Sharot

    Voter ID. Simple. Easy. Good for everyone. Do it. (And it’s not racist.)

  3. “Might these young men nevertheless think there may be an outstanding warrant, and by showing ID they run the risk of arrest in the near future?”

    It sounds like these young men have a pretty tough row to hoe regardless of their heartfelt need to vote. Imagine no welfare, no beer, no hunting license. My heart goes out.

    Should we compromise the integrity of the entire election process in the state to accommodate a few scofflaws who might fear showing that their ID lest they caught in a snare? (which does not happen). Here is a short list of the things young men voluntarily give up by refusing to obtain cheap or free ID:

    1. Alcohol
    2. Cigarettes
    3. Opening a bank account
    4. Apply for food stamps
    5. Apply for welfare
    6. Apply for Medicaid/Social Security
    7. Apply for unemployment or a job
    8. Rent/buy a house, apply for a mortgage
    9. Drive/buy/rent a car
    10. Get on an airplane
    11. Get married
    12. Purchase a gun
    13. Adopt a pet
    14. Rent a hotel room
    15. Apply for a hunting license
    16. Apply for a fishing license
    17. Buy a cell phone
    18. Visit a casino
    19. Pick up a prescription
    20. Hold a rally or protest
    21. Blood donations
    22. Buy an “M” rated video game
    23. Purchase nail polish at CVS
    24. Purchase certain cold medicines

  4. Peter Robbins

    C’mon, liberals, think. The letter plainly states that there have been two incidents of alleged voter impersonation threatening the peace and good order of our state. Two! Imagine if there had been even half that many shootings in North Carolina. We’d have gun control overnight. Why should voter identification be any different?

  5. James

    I am an independent who votes Democrat as much as Republican…..I just can’t see how this is an issue. Seems like common sense and there are much bigger fish to fry than arguing over these voting rules. Is our populace so inept that we cannot adjust to simple changes in voting laws with a 2 year runway? Let’s focus on the things that matter rather than arguing just for the sake of trying to stick it to one another. Merry Christmas!

    • Peter Robbins

      A measure doesn’t comport with common sense unless the benefits outweigh the costs — an analysis eased in this instance by the absence of any serious claim to benefits and the presence of some potentially very ugly costs. Happy Holidays.

  6. The Real World

    My Gawd, this topic is such a bore. Give ’em damn ID cards already. So, you people can focus on the bigger fraud….rigged voting machines.

    Look, right here in our own state and dating back into the 1990’s (hello!) there have been problems with “defective” (wink, wink) machines, corrupt election officials and slick salesmen with plenty of grease money.
    http://www.ejfi.org/Voting/Voting-56.htm

    The voter ID thing is a distraction…..”oh, look over here at this bad, bad problem of actually requiring people to prove who they are. They shouldn’t have to do that!” ……..heh, heh, while we’re busy refining and installing our clever software that alters votes and is undetectable if the machine is examined. Gotcha, suckers.

  7. RL

    The true racists in this debate are the liberals who think minorities are incapable of getting an ID and taking on responsibility.
    Low expectations of minority classes are the soft pedaled racists views characterized as caring and good intentions, and are actually the evil of the liberal ruling class.

    • The Real World

      @RL – that is so true. Whereas I agree with the Dems on some issues, the treatment of people as incompetent, inept and in need of a caretaker is deeply troubling.

      I finally realized what much of it is about after listening to many liberals talk about themselves and what they were willing to do for these people. THERE YOU HAVE IT. Read the last half of that sentence again….it’s really about THEMSELVES and what ‘white knights’ they are.

      If you truly care and respect people, you first recognize that they ARE able and, if needed, you help them self-determine their lives. Not paint them into a little box of incapacity. It’s very sad.

      • bsummers

        What’s sad is dressing this up as anything other than what it is: an attempt to shave a few percentage points off Democratic-leaning voter turnout. Everyone knows that is what it’s about. If everyone who was eligible to vote turned out on election day, there wouldn’t be a Republican Party by the time the sun came up.

        Trying to make it harder for people to cast their votes. You are some fine Americans, tell you what.

        • Peter Robbins

          To protect the integrity of the political process, sometimes they have to lie about what they’re up to.

  8. The way to turn out voters is with recall elections. these enable the millions of cynical voters to vote against politicians and can turn out voters who would never vote for any politician. The turnout advocates failure to use recall petitions for turnout makes this whole fight a bit pointless. If they wanted turnout they would be circulating recall petitions.

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