Legislative Republicans hope to boast a long list of conservative accomplishments at the completion of their first 100 days in power. None would make them happier than the passage of a bill that will ensure that they can write a brand new "first 100 days agenda" every single year for the foreseeable future: Voter ID.
This bill is Jim Crow for old people (politically correct term, "seniors", redacted for impact). But really, it's a race/age/gender neutral discrimination policy targeting students, minorities and the non-driving disabled-- anyone without a current ID. So while the NCDP frames our message in terms of the historic struggle for civil rights, the bottom line is: New Law, same as the Old Law.
NCDP Chairman David Parker believes that this is a moral issue, and it's essential that we hold that ground. By the numbers, Voter ID would appear to be an easy "yes" vote for Republican and Democratic legislators alike. As Civitas polls show, 83 percent of North Carolinians support the Republican Voter ID measure as an effort to combat election fraud.
But public opinion on this issue is almost entirely a Republican corporatist creation; their bill will be the result of a long-term misinformation campaign centered on lies about organizing entities like ACORN and suspicion that somehow, illegal immigrants are gaming the system to gain free health care and school for their not-quite-totally-American native-born children.
The truth is that we've largely ignored messaging on Voter Rights because IT'S 2011-- HOW CAN WE POSSIBLY STILL BE DEBATING VOTING RIGHTS?!! Meanwhile, the Republicans have merely to flip the switch and bang, it's on: 83 percent support for a voter disenfranchisement ploy straight out of the sad history of the greatest-democracy-ever-that-somehow-never-manages-to-live-up-to-that-promise-that-everybody-ought-to-be-able-to-vote.
We've got to move the needle on this quickly. We're preempting the introduction of the bill to launch this campaign because for our legislators, the governor and her veto it's going to come down to this:
"Do enough registered voters understand just how backwards, mean and un-American this bill really is?"
If the answer is "not nearly enough" then we can expect more like it.