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Opinion Letters Voter suppression and no jobs

Watching Republicans try to fix problems is like watching a baby try to eat cake. It’s cute that they’re trying, but really, it’s just going to end up making a huge mess and we’ll end up doing double the work because of it.

The new “Voter-ID” law being pledged by the Republican controlled General Assembly comes across as protecting the franchise of people here in North Carolina. They lead you to believe that this is an ever-growing problem that has the potential to up end the democratic process. Aside from the fact this has nothing to do with the creation of jobs to which they ran their campaigns on; as this is completely political. Essentially, this is the right’s Get-Out-The-Vote program to intimidate and stop others from voting.

This proposed law will instantly disenfranchise nearly one million voters without current photo identification. This bill is Jim Crow 2.0. But really, it’s a race, age, gender neutral discrimination policy targeting students, minorities and the non-driving disabled. It is already a felony to vote illegally in N.C. and according to the DMV there are about 556,000 registered voters in N.C. who do not have a driver’s license. Recently the State Board of Elections discovered 637 who fraudulently voted in the last election. How were these non-citizens permitted to register and vote? Well, because they had driver’s licenses. The fictitious problem of voter fraud schemed up to scare people into thinking large quantities of people vote illegally cannot be solved by requiring an ID. These 637 people represent 0.01044% of all registered voters in NC, not the army of fraud that you read about.

All the hype on voter fraud is just that: Hype. Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews. Why then would the newly-elected Republicans, the majority of which preached cutting spending, superfluously create a new $20 million program? The answer is simple. If you cannot win the area, change the electorate. This bill makes it most difficult for students, minorities, the disabled, and those in poverty to vote; typically those who turnout for Democrats. Laws like this are created to stop the only means these groups have to defend themselves and exert their constitutional right to vote. This creates a level of inequality as this law does not apply to those voting through the absentee process; typically those voting absentee lean Republican.

Therefore, instead of creating ways to spur job growth and help America win the future, the Republicans are preoccupied in winning the next election. This “Voter-ID” law has nothing to do with the integrity of our elections and more so with the suppression of the opposition’s voice. So while our state attempts to balance the budget on the backs of teachers, state employees, and our school systems, the Republicans want to increase our deficit to solve a non-existent problem.

Justin Conley — Franklin, N.C.

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