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Counting on Cleary, Day #23/22/21/20: When Truth is Stranger than Fiction


Location: Unknown

I simply don't get it. Why do Republicans work so hard to make the act of voting more difficult rather than making the one thing that stands front and center as the essence of a Democracy easier for our citizens?

Obviously there are politics and partisanship at work, but I still don't get how that provokes creating solutions looking for a problem. I sort of get the logic behind voter ID that is supported by the majority of North Carolinians, but please do not describe it as necessary to combat growing fraud in elections. In 2012, the rate of voter fraud was .0017%! So we disenfranchise a whole lot of lawful voters to create a solution absent a problem? The State Board of Elections estimates that a half million of registered voters do not hold a government issued ID. While the DMV issues the necessary ID at no cost, compiling the necessary documents is a hardship especially for our oldest citizens. And in rural areas the DMV may be 50 miles away.

Republican leaders like to say that the NC Voter Verification Act they passed along party lines in 2013 was needed to restore confidence in elections. I scratched my head upon hearing that as it is nearly impossible for confidence measures to get any better than 99.9983. That number is slightly higher than Six Sigma or the highest level of excellence and freedom from error that can be reached in the business world. We still have time to think this all through as the voter ID requirement doesn't take effect until 2016.

Restricting early voting and other barriers to voting have a dubious relationship to confidence. Earlier this week, a three judge panel of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals took immediate action on two parts of the law by ruling against the elimination of same day registration and not counting provisional ballots. Their ruling would be helpful to young people in the upcoming election and also voters confused by the magnitude of redistricting that effected their polling places.

NC Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, NC Senate leader Phil Berger and Governor Pat McCrory then took immediate action to petition the US Supreme Court for an emergency ruling that blocks the Court of Appeals decision from taking effect in the 2014 midterm election. Since when did interfering with voting become an emergency?

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