More than 218,000 voters, around five percent, were turned away from North Carolina’s polls today because of a lack of sufficient ID under new voter ID laws passed and insisted upon by the GOP. A significant number of college students, in particular, report being denied the right to cast a ballot.
“Bob Hall, the executive director of Democracy North Carolina, told ThinkProgress that the voter protection hotline is receiving many calls, ‘disproportionately from young people and students,’ who are being told they do not have acceptable ID, so they have to ‘go through the maze of filling out forms’ and provisional ballots. Those ballots run the risk of being challenged and not being counted.
‘Because this is so much affecting young people, we’re teaching them the wrong lesson about democracy and about voting,’ Hall said. ‘We’re really pushing them away from being involved in the political process, and that’s a bad message, but it is the message that’s coming across.'”
Although a person who moves to North Carolina can use their out-of-state ID to vote in elections, recent changes to the law stipulate that a person who has lived in North Carolina for more than 90 days – which includes most college students – but have not procured a state ID from North Carolina cannot vote. A college student from out-of-state cannot get a North Carolina ID as a resident of another state.
Elderly voters are comparing the new laws to their experiences during the Jim Crow Era.
“Rosanell Eaton, a 94-year-old voter, had to recite the Preamble to Constitution to vote in North Carolina in the 1940s. Last year, she had to make 11 trips to state agencies to comply with the voter ID law.
‘We had 100 years of pushing away people from the polls,” Hall said about North Carolina. ‘It was really only in the early 21st century, after 2000, that our participation started to come up, and now we’re going right back to this message of ‘elections are not for you.’”
The voter ID laws passed in North Carolina has created contention and brought allegations of racism since 2013, when the laws were introduced. A voter ID law that restricts 5% of people from voting in order to combat voter fraud, which happens in .00000013% of votes nationally, is a solution with no problem that is accepted only because it provides direct benefits to GOP politicians.
See video that covers the debate of NC voter ID laws below:
Featured image screenshot via YouTube