Monday, September 21, 2015

How is Free ID Jim Crow?

America's Journey for Justice, an 860-mile walk led by the NAACP which began on August 1st, passed through North Carolina this weekend. One of the leaders of the march was quoted as saying "Who could have guessed that we would be here 50 years after Selma; that we would be here in a state with the worst voter suppression laws?"

One of the event organizers' chief complaints is North Carolina's voter ID requirement. Rev. William J. Barber, chairman of the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP, said of the law: "[t]his law is the worst kind of voter ID. It's the worst attack on voting rights to disenfranchise racial minorities, the poor and young people since Jim Crow."

It is hard to see what about North Carolina's voter ID law has earned the ire of civil rights leaders. Voter ID has been supported by Democrats such as Jimmy Carter, the New Hampshire Secretary of State and passed in places with entirely Democrat support such as Rhode Island.  

A close look at the law makes it clear that the North Carolina state legislature desires honest and fair elections, but also wants to ensure that anyone who wishes to legally cast a ballot may do so. In fact, North Carolina and nearly all of the states requiring photo ID to vote provide a free ID for that purpose.  How is free ID Jim Crow?  

Voter fraud is a serious problem, and the vehement opposition of Democrats to laws meant to protect the sanctity of the ballot box should raise equally serious questions.

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