The State Board of Elections last week voted to restore Sunday early voting hours in counties that previously had the option under the 2012 voting plan, but not for counties that did not offer early voting in under the old election law.
But in doing so, did they undermine the principle of “one person, one vote”?
The State Board was tasked with arbitrating the differences between the plans of the majorities and minorities of 33 local county boards after a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision forced the state’s 100 local boards to redraw their early voting plans ahead of the November election.
A three-judge panel of the court threw out portions of the Voter Identification and Verification Act, including the ID requirement and the reduction in early voting days from 17 days to 10 days.
The board settled 33 disputed early voting schedules where the local board vote wasn’t unanimous, as required by law clearing a path to the election under the old 2012 policies.
“In the law it now reads that if a local board does not reach a unanimous vote on one-stop sites, then the minority member, or the member who does not vote with the majority, can bring an alternate plan to the state board and the state board can decide to choose the majority party plan or the minority plan, or a combination of both or whatever they decided to do,” Susan Myrick, elections policy analyst for the Civitas Institute, said. “So what has happened in North Carolina is that, after the 4th Circuit rescinded VIVA, instead of 10 days there is a 17-day window of early voting. County boards had to come back with new plans.”
But under the rules now imposed on the state, there are different classes of voters. “It used to be we were just American voters,” she said. “Every voter was treated the same, whether they were rich or poor, black or white, male or female, Republican or Democrat. But now different groups of voters are being treated differently, depending on when and how they vote.”
Myrick said that North Carolina already has greater access to the polls than many states, including New York and Virginia, which only have voting on Election Day, but the court struck down North Carolina’s attempt at election reform, in turn guaranteeing that voters are treated differently, which is a problem for Myrick.
Myrick said that, though voters who go to the polls don’t have to show ID, voters who register by mail are required to show their ID when first voting, singling them out.
“Moving voter ID back to no voter ID really changes it back to some people are asked for ID and some people aren’t asked for ID. I think that is horrendous,” she said.
Myrick also said that the stated goal of early voting is to make voting more convenient, but that isn’t the whole story. The real problem is that there’s no need or benefit for Sunday voting.
Pushing Sunday voting is a drain on local election boards in both money and manpower. With 17 straight days of voting, the human beings who run the polls need both some days to rest, and time to check over results.
In any case, she added it has been found that early voting does not increase turnout, nor does Sunday voting. Some elections experts even say it can decrease overall voting by draining some of the excitement that “Election Day” generates.
Sunday voting is just a tool by which liberal activist groups can more easily accomplish their mission of turning out voters who traditionally vote for Democrats, all the while disparaging those who don’t believe the practice is warranted for voters in their county, she said.
She put forth this hypothetical idea: What about mailing absentee ballots to every eligible voter in the state. Convenient, right? But the political establishment would never go for that, she said.
“I might support mailing ballots to all voters, if safeguards were in place, but you know who won’t? Politicians,” she said. “They say they want everyone to vote but they really don’t. They want the people who will vote for them to vote. They are afraid if they sent the ballots out to (all of the voters), they might actually all vote.”
Myrick says that early voting was meant to improve access for everyone but it has now become an integral part of the “Get out the vote” campaign being used by liberal groups like the NAACP, ACLU and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the same groups that sued North Carolina to overturn the election reform law.
“The Southern Coalition for Justice, NAACP, ACLU, are major, players in liberal politics in North Carolina. They are given millions of dollars to ‘get out their vote’ in every big election,” Myrick said. “They don’t care about getting out the vote next year, they care about the presidential elections, and elections that they receive the most money to get out the vote for liberal candidates.”