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Don’t Worry, North Carolina: Early Voting Wasn’t Shortened, Just “Compacted”

Don’t Worry, North Carolina: Early Voting Wasn’t Shortened, Just “Compacted”

North Carolina’s legislative attack on voting rights this year was quickly recognized for what it was the most restrictive set of laws since the Voting Rights Act of the sixties was put into effect. A myriad of new rules for voters were put into place with the bill, which was then signed into law by Republican Governor Pat McCrory. Now, the governor, facing an uphill battle for reelection, is trying to do a little history rewriting when it comes to limiting voter’s rights.

One key piece of North Carolina’s law would drastically cut back on early voting, which is seen by many to be a key factor in increasing voter turnout and ensuring democratic participation when it comes to electing candidates to office. The legislature voted to eliminate a full week off the early voting calendar, decreasing it from 17 to just 10 days.

Facing harsh criticism over that move, Governor McCrory is claiming that they actually didn’t shorten the early voting calendar at all. No, he says, they just “compacted” it.

“First of all, we didn’t shorten early voting, we compacted the calendar,” said McCrory in an interview with MSNBC, according to Huffington Post. “But we’re going to have the same hours in which polls are open in early voting, and we’re going to have more polls available. So it’s going to be almost identical. It’s just the schedule has changed. The critics are kind of using that line when in fact, the legislation does not shorten the hours for early voting.”

Of course, it’s semantic gymnastics to claim that by opening more polling places you can slash nearly half of the early voting period off and still somehow not be “shortening” early voting. For those who work inflexible jobs, an additional place to vote will not help when it comes to trying to arrange time off or a baby sitter or any of the other acts of juggling necessary to get to a voting place, and now there are even less days available to work with.

As Huffington Post reports, early voting has been wildly successful in North Carolina, and has been especially good for lowering the chaos and waits that can come with voting on Election Day. That in itself may be enough of a reason for the GOP, who have a stranglehold over the North Carolina legislature, to want to inhibit the process.

According to Mother Jones, it has become increasingly difficult to vote on Election Day for those who are of color or are younger voters, due to long wait times and increasing issues with voter restrictions. A study of Florida polls showed that those that catered to people of color or younger voters often closed anywhere from 90 minutes to five hours later than those in traditionally older or white neighborhoods. On average white voters waited in line 7 to 11 minutes less per voter than Latino or African American voters.

Even more disturbing? Many voters of color were being turned away from the polls because they didn’t have ID, even in states that didn’t require voter ID.

With a new voter ID law ready to go into effect in 2014, early voting periods “compacted” and new restrictions on new voters getting registered, it’s no wonder that the Justice Department has sued the state over its enactment. It is that fact that makes it even more disappointing that the Governor is pretending that the concern is overblown and that it is “much ado about nothing.”

Being able to vote isn’t “nothing,” and Governor McCrory and those who think like him need to treat it like the protected, constitutional right that it is.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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8:38PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Cletus Your absolutely right. Dan already lost the 2000 election argument, as I cleary demonstrated his erroneous facts. The bigger picture, as you suggest is that Bush stole the election and damaged our country. The two wars that were based on lies, and tax breaks for the rich, resulting in a 10.7 trillion dollar national debt for Obama to inherit. George Bush was the worst president in our history, and deservedly hated around the world. In fact he is a war criminal in some countries, and would be arrested if he ever traveled there.

8:29PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

(continued) getting involved in a state issue, and denying Gore a recount. Clearly the republicans gave Gore no chance. The Florida Supreme court had ten of thousands of votes that had to be recounted. It is a violation of the constitution, to decide an election, without all the votes being counted. Gore would have won had those votes been counted. The republican Supreme court knew that so they illegally halted a recount. The republican Supreme court had no right to intervene in the states rights issue. You are completely wrong Dan. I don't know where you get your information, but it is completely false. › … › 2000 News of the Nation › Election 2000

8:20PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Dan B The 2000 election will go down in history, not only for the gridlock in Florida, but also for the way in which it split the Supreme Court, which had never before stepped in to rule on a federal election. The court divided 5–4 on partisan lines in its decision to reverse the Florida Supreme Court, which had ordered manual recounts in certain counties, saying the recount was not treating all ballots equally, and was thus a violation of the Constitution's equal protection and due process guarantees. The Supreme Court essentially ruled that the Supreme Court of Florida would need to set up new voting standards and carry them out in a recount, but also mandated that this process and the recount take place by midnight, Dec. 12, 2000, the official deadline for certifying electoral college votes. Since the Court made its ruling just hours before the deadline, it in effect ensured that it was too late for a recount. In the end, tens of thousands of undervotes—votes that were never tallied by voting machines for a number of reasons—remained uncounted, Clearly Gore would have won the recount, but the Supreme Court procrastinated, on purpose, and took the precious time Gore needed for a recount. So Gore never had a chance at a recount, contrary to our statement. The Supreme Court decision was 5 to 4 your second flub. The republicans on the Supreme court are liars, who knew full well that Gore was the winner, but purposely denied him a chance by running out the clock,

3:36PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

-- cont --

-- the second recession being nothing less than a freefall towards the second [R]-caused Depression in the last century, but was averted into recovery from a 'mere' deep recession by the election of a [D] president and congress. That is CERTAIN. And, garsshoper, it IS the certainty of Teatard FAILURE.

3:34PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Dan B. -- Thank you for labelling my post as "inane". That will prove to most readers here, what you and I already know, that it is not at all inane. You just lack the intellectual cogency and honesty to properly address my points, and so you use your feeble labels as a facile attempt at a defense. Rightwing DEFLECTION at its finest. Rightwing APOLOGETICS at its finest. Rightwing intellectual COWARDICE at its finest.

But I do agree with the "uncertainty" that you attempt to sow over the 2000 FLA election results. It is uncertain. Even those projections and unsupervised recounts that you cherry-picked. Did the various media recounts follow all the rules an official recount would? Even if an official recount was allowed, would the SC have invalidated it on any number of specious grounds, a partisan track record they had already established in their early rulings? The questions and uncertainty about FLA 2000 are almost endless.

But here is what IS certain. The [R] Bush became president. And he proceeded to bestow upon America one of the most consistently FAILED set of domestic and foreign policies ever to come out of an administration. On the economic front alone, he oversaw TWO recessions all while following THE core [R] mantra for economic prosperity -- i.e. giving reams of money away, mostly to the rich, in the form of tax rebates and tax cuts -- the second recession being nothing less than a freefall towards the second [R]-caused depression in the last cen

3:01PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

I cannot believe that you think the supreme court is made up of a bunch of liars. It really diminished your integrity.

2:54PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Forgive me for my "nonanswers.". I did not intent to respond to your inane post at all.

2:51PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Brian f.,
Just who are these so-called experts who believe Gore would've won a recount? Democrats, possibly? Did you even read the recount summary by a consortium of news agencies? Apparently not, or you would not be making erroneous conjectures. The 5-4 vote was on how the state should proceed. The SC halted the recount by a 7-2 vote.

2:12PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Dan B

Your analysis is incorrect. The Supreme Court decision was 5-4, completely along party lines. The Supreme Court had no business interfering in a state decision. The republicans in the Supreme Court stole the election, for Bush. Gore never had a chance. Most experts believe Gore would have won the recount. The Supreme Court made a decision to deny Gore the recount, and they never gave Gore an opportunity to have another recount as you suggest. The Supreme Court had no business intervening in a state decision, and wasted precious time, that Gore needed for a recount. The 2000 presidential election was stolen by five conservative liars on the Supreme Court. Gore would have won the recount. I don't know where you get your information from, but it is wrong.

11:59AM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Grasshopper -- Thank you for your non-answers to my pointed and SUBSTANTIVE questions to you concerning the motives behind the nonsense you proffer on here. Your silent retreat with your tail between your legs speaks loudly enough.

So, more rebuke for you. Your recent post was dutifully full of factoids; but do note that NONE of them challenged the basic correctness of what Brian F. said to you concerning [R]s and the SC, as relates to the 2000 presidential vote.

Further, your purposefully lean and contrived statement of how the SC voted back in 2000 belies further facts which were in play:
#1 -- The SC's so-called "constitutional grounds" were just so much partisan nonsense, since the the votes cast in the main election were ALSO CLEARLY NOT DETERMINED UNIFORMLY. In fact the re-count was proceeding with much more uniformity than the main election count. Reams of law articles have been written on the hypocritic inconsistency of that partisan SC vote.
#2 -- The little bone the SC threw to Gore was disingenuous nonsense at best, done so that fairytale-beliving Teatards like yourself could come back and say 'see, they gave Gore another fair chance'. The SC knew full-well that Gore could not pursue another recount, because of the combination of (a) the SC's advertised aim to hold the recount to much higher standards than the main election count, and (b) there was a constitutional deadline approaching soon that was almost impossible to meet, and impossible because of

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