Four Ways of Looking At a Voter ID Law

McCrory on voter fraud: ‘It’s like insider trading; you don’t know until you look.’ What?

Realpolitik in four installments:

Gov. McCrory’s interview with Bloomberg’s Albert Hunt, a financial news veteran and Wake Forest graduate who spent 35 years at the Wall Street Journal — and who, I think, can be safely dubbed a non-leftist — was one of the most revealing he’s given as governor.

Hunt’s none-too-complimentary column for Bloomberg View on North Carolina’s “perilous lurch to the right” contained a couple of truly doltish comments by the former Charlotte mayor. The first:

“We’re getting tremendous positive feedback from the business community.”

Yes, I imagine the Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute folks have been purring since January. But Gov. Pat might want to define “the business community,” because (as Hunt himself notes) not everyone, even on the staunch corporate Republican side, seems especially pleased about the General Assembly’s erosion of the state’s once-prized public education system.

The second, regarding the now-notorious House Bill 589, which McCrory signed into law this month:

“When asked about the alleged voting fraud that mandated the changes in procedure, (McCrory) offered no specifics: ‘It’s like insider trading; you don’t know until you look.’”

Did he actually say that?

I could go on for a while on that one, but two quick things should suffice: The changes in the law would not expose any more evidence of voter fraud than exists today, which is damn little. So it’s not that you don’t know until you look, it’s that you don’t know, period, and you never will, and there’s all kinds of material and logical evidence that widespread voter fraud not only does not exist but would be ill-advised and hard to pull off in the extreme. But this is what passes for clear and convincing evidence when your slippery standard of proof lends itself to such Catch-22 absurdities as “rampant and undetected.”

Second, how the hell would Pat McCrory know what insider trading is like?

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed its first civil suit against a state, Texas, over a new voting law following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act ruling back in June.

“We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “The Department will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs.”

Looking at us, North Carolina. Clock’s ticking.

Another strike against H.B. 589 and the Keep the Wrong People From Voting Act of 2013 Going On 1871: Former Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell was in Raleigh on Thursday for, of all things, a CEO Forum.

And with Gov. Pat in attendance, Powell proceeded to take the stage and all but tell our state’s chief executive that he was out of his damn mind:

“I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote,” said Powell, a Republican, at the CEO Forum in Raleigh.

“It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs,” Powell continued. “These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away.” …

In one comment, he seemed to rebuke McCrory for suggesting that voter fraud likely exists but is hard to detect. The governor had compared it to insider trading.

“You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,” Powell said. “How can it be widespread and undetected?”

Powell, who served under President George W. Bush, also said the new (law) sends the wrong message to minority voters. “What it really says to the minority voters is … ‘We really are sort of punishing you,’” he said.

McCrory delivered the event’s opening remarks and preceded Powell, but didn’t address the election law directly.

It’ll get “addressed” soon enough. Powell’s comments reminded me of one of the speakers at the Moral Monday protest in Marshall Park this week, who said the state’s voters should use the law and the thinking behind it as fuel to swarm DMVs statewide for the necessary IDs — and the voting booths next November.

Watauga County’s elections board is earning some embarrassment over its consolidation of polling places in a way that makes it harder for Appalachian State University students to vote. But not only that — for its ham-handed attempts to have an argument over the consolidation at a recent board meeting expunged from its official minutes. Video below from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, which had a segment on the foolishness Wednesday night:

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And reporting from Boone by WCNC’s (and C-Mag’s) Jeremy Markovich. Talk amongst yourselves.

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest