It began with several generations of trickery:
Starting at the end of Reconstruction following the Civil War, North Carolina and other states used official and unofficial means to stop poor and black citizens from voting. North Carolina’s 1900 constitution required that voters pay a poll tax and be judged as literate by the local voter registrar, who could choose tough questions for some voters and easy questions – or none – for others. The constitution also included a grandfather clause that exempted from the poll tax those entitled to vote as of January 1, 1867. Between 1896 and 1904, nearly all black voters, including many thousands who had voted before, were removed from the voting rolls, and nearly all black officials were driven from office.
While this first assault on minority voting rights was eventually turned back in the 1960's, similar yet not so blatantly obvious methods were adopted shortly after the turn of the 21st Century, by the now moribund Republican Party (see footnotes) which rose to power under questionable circumstances, likely due in part to the Great Recession which plagued much of the world during this era:
The North Carolina State Board of Elections found that over 300,000 voters who are already registered — and are disproportionately black and low-income — lack the type of photo ID that the new law requires. Ending Sunday voting means the end of the popular Souls to the Polls, a growing tradition in which black churchgoers go to vote together. Finally, the new law prohibits paying canvassers to conduct voter registration drives, which have often been organized to register low-income and minority voters.
As in previous assaults on the rights of certain individuals and demographic sectors of the population, seemingly "neutral" quasi-intellectuals formed "informative" organizations, subsidized by business interests, to circulate propaganda casting the victims of said assault as merely political pawns who suffered no real harm from the process:
North Carolina’s conservative advocacy network, including Civitas and the John Locke Foundation, spent over five years calling for stricter voting laws. Civitas and John Locke both receive major funding from Art Pope, a wealthy businessman who is North Carolina’s local version of the Koch brothers. Since 2007, the network has published over 40 articles, news reports, and blog posts supporting an end to same-day registration, a smaller window for early voting, and a photo ID law.
While we might look back on these times with disbelief and confusion over how something like this could actually happen, it's important to understand that those who collected large amounts of money (see footnotes) wielded a great deal of power over those who did not possess much of this currency, and many policies which harmed wide segments of the population were common.