Pat McCrory’s Voter Law Fraud

With the nation watching, the governor issues 96 seconds of pure mendacity

Gov. Pat McCrory’s video justification for signing North Carolina’s voter ID bill into law is a remarkable document, 96 seconds of pretzel logic, false assumptions, twisted analogies, lousy grammar and outright nonsense that deserve closer examination.

“Photo ID has become a part of our everyday life. You need a photo ID to board an airplane, to cash a check, or even apply for most government benefits.”

This really should go without saying, but boarding airplanes, cashing checks and applying for government benefits are not rights enshrined in the Constitution, nor are they the central tool by which “government by the people” is expected to function.

Among the many things you don’t need photo ID for: speaking publicly without fear of arrest; walking on a public sidewalk; participating in a peaceful demonstration; defending yourself from physical danger.

“In fact, just recently, both Democrats and Republicans joined together to require a valid, government-issued photo ID to buy Sudafed at your local corner drug store.”

“Just recently?” The Methamphetamine Lab Prevention Act has been on the books in North Carolina since 2005. Also, there was ample reason to pass it: There is and never has been a constitutional right to purchase mass quantities of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, and both law enforcement investigation and the experience of other states demonstrated that restricting Sudafed purchases severely curbed cookers’ ability to make meth.

No evidence exists to show a voter fraud epidemic. Also, note that McCrory in his statement declines to discuss the aspects of the law that don’t involve photo ID, such as reduction of early voting times and elimination of pre-registration for high school students and same-day voter registration.

We’re still waiting for an adequate explanation of how those measures would curb the voter fraud scourge and “restor(e) a level of confidence in government by making the electoral process secure.”

“Our right to vote deserves similar protection.”

When someone has to provide at least four types of documentation to acquire another type of document without which that person cannot exercise his or her “right to vote,” I think we can safely declare that “right” a “privilege.”

“In fact, for voters who may not even have a photo ID, they can get one at no charge at a nearby DMV office throughout the state.”

Mecklenburg County, for example, is 524 square miles. Just short of 1 million people live in it. The county has four DMV offices. Not everyone has access to reliable transportation. Smaller, less populous counties further stretch the definition of “nearby.” Ashe County, up in the Smokies? One office. Hyde County, a 613-square-mile monster on the coast? Two offices.

If the state is serious about making photo ID accessible to everyone, why not a mail option?

“Let me be direct: Many of those from the extreme left who have been criticizing photo ID are using scare tactics. They’re more interested in divisive politics than ensuring that no one’s vote is disenfranchised by a fraudulent ballot.”

Restricting early voting and the types of photo ID accepted under the law disproportionately affects poor, African-American and young voters, who tend to vote Democratic, just as new restrictions on absentee voting would disproportionately affect people who tend to vote Republican. The new law contains no new restrictions on anyone’s right to vote absentee. Those aren’t scare tactics. They’re facts.

Also, you disenfranchise people, not votes. There are already elections offices and poll workers to guard against fraudulent ballots, the likelihood of which is slim to none (a lot of work, high risk, miniscule chance of payoff).

“Protecting the integrity of every vote cast is among the most important duties I have as governor, and it’s why I signed these commonsense, commonplace protections into law.”

The state’s people do not seem to agree. We’ll see how this particular episode of common sense plays in 2016 with the voters whose integrity McCrory has sworn to protect.

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest