On Patrick Cannon and Voter ID
Pat McCrory's wrong assessment of what the ex-mayor's failed attempt to vote shows
Gov. Pat McCrory has been trying to make the case since last week that North Carolina’s new voter law was warranted—or, to use his fallback term, “common sense.” Voter turnout was higher than normal for a midterm election, he said Friday on WFAE-FM’s “Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins.” Therefore, this business about the law restricting the vote is nonsense.
This ignores the obvious conclusion that more people were compelled to vote because they realized the state had made it harder. Besides, if increased exercise of a right justifies restriction of that right, where’s that comprehensive gun control law to accompany the record sales of guns and ammo?
Then, right at the end of the show, as the bumper music was playing, the governor said something else that defied, well, common sense. It concerned former Mayor Patrick Cannon, who famously tried to vote last Tuesday and discovered he couldn’t, and ended up on pre-prison sentence house arrest for his trouble.
Here was McCrory’s in-passing assessment of the situation: “That’s another perfect reason why we need stronger laws.”
The voter ID component of the law won’t take effect until 2016, and Cannon wasn’t trying to pretend to be someone else (which would’ve made this comic episode truly farcical).
He wasn’t voting in the wrong precinct. He wasn’t voting early. He wasn’t engaging in a “Souls to the Polls” drive.
So exactly how does Patrick Cannon’s mindless attempt to vote illustrate the need for stronger laws on voting?
It doesn’t. It illustrates the exact opposite. Cannon tried to vote. He was a recently convicted felon. His ballot was thrown out. He was taken immediately to U.S. District Court and punished for his crime.
The system worked. If anything, Cannon’s attempt to vote illustrates perfectly why we don’t need stronger voting laws.