Changes in the North Carolina voting laws came into effect at the beginning of 2014, but there is much more to the issue than voter ID.
The actual bill, House Bill 589 is here. It’s about 50 pages so I hope you’re sitting down and in a comfy chair. So, let’s take the time to look at the real facts and the real issues.
1. Voter ID doesn’t go into effect until 2016. In political years, that’s a lifetime. We need to worry about that later.
2. The law cuts a week off of early voting but counties have to keep the same number of hours in 2014 as they did in 2010.
3. Same day registration is no more. Voters have to be registered at least 25 days prior to any election. Want to vote in the May 6th primary? Make sure you’re registered by April 11, 2014.
4. Judicial candidates—the end of public financing. To the average reader and maybe the average voter, it doesn’t mean much. But, in reality it means everything. This is the one area the media really hasn’t focused on and they should. The end of public financing means the gloves are off and millions of dollars will flow into North Carolina and into the hands of judicial candidates. Public financing placed all candidates on the same playing field, assuming they could gather enough support to run. Paid for through attorney assessment fees at the tune of $50 dollars and a $3.00 check off box on your North Carolina tax form—the North Carolina Judicial Campaign Reform Act of 2002 meant that Judges at the Appellate and State Supreme Court level weren’t beholden to any one person or special interest group.
5. Straight ticket voting, say goodbye. In my opinion, probably the most significant change other than early voting. North Carolina Democrats out voted Republicans by approximately 400,000 votes in early voting.
There are many more changes, including that 16 and 17 year olds can no longer preregister. Again, it to the Republican’s advantage, Dems out numbered Repubs 3 to 1 in preregistration.