North Carolina paper slams state GOP voter suppression efforts: Trying to 'make democracy harder’
In the North Carolina State Senate, Republicans are trying to suppress votes by eliminating a law that allows ballots that are postmarked on Election Day to be counted up to three days later. And the Charlotte Observer's editorial board, in a scathing editorial published on March 29, slams North Carolina Republicans for their voter suppression efforts.
Democrats in North Carolina have been highly critical of the voter suppression campaign of Republicans in the state legislature, and the office of State Sen. Phil Berger, a Republican, recently posted a press release mocking them. The Observer's editorial board lambasts North Carolina Republicans for cheapening the debate and responding to legitimate concerns with vitriol.
"In a sneering news release late last week, Senate Republicans ridiculed concerns surrounding a new bill that would change NC statute allowing absentee ballots that were postmarked on Election Day to arrive up to three days later," the Observer's editorial board writes. "Instead, the bill would require ballots to be received on Election Day to be counted."
Republican State Sen. Ralph Hise mockingly said, "Democrats are getting the vapors over the Election Integrity Act." And the Observer writes that Hise and other Republicans in the North Carolina Senate "want to eliminate something that isn't broken."
The Observer's editorial board explains, "Hise argues trust in elections is now an issue, but that's true not because a three-day window has caused consternation among North Carolinians anytime in the last decade. It's true because Republicans have spent the four months since Election Day spreading lies about voter fraud. That drumbeat is the real threat to election integrity, but this is what happens when you run out of justifications for trying to stop people from casting a ballot."
The editorial goes on to point out that in North Carolina, Republicans are doing the same thing Republicans are doing in many others states in the U.S.: going out of their way to make voting more difficult and complicated.
"Across the country," the Observer's editorial board notes, "Republicans are propping up election integrity as an excuse for hundreds of bills that would unnecessarily restrict voting. In Georgia, lawmakers are taking it a step further, trying to persuade voters that access is actually being expanded in a bill that, among other things, limits mobile polling places and drop boxes, bars state officials from mailing unsolicited absentee ballots, makes casting those ballots harder — and even outlaws providing food and drink to voters waiting in line to cast ballots."
The Observer's editorial board concludes it editorial by urging Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, to "reject" any voter suppression efforts from Republicans in the state and stressing that voter participation should be encouraged — not made more difficult.
"The goal, for Democrats and Republicans alike, should be to encourage as many people as possible to vote without increasing the chance for meaningful fraud," the Observer's editorial board stresses. "Calling out attempts to do otherwise isn't the 'vapors.' It's protecting voters from lawmakers who want to make democracy harder."
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