Friday, October 21, 2016

Throwing Us a Line

4-hour wait time to vote reported at this
Mecklenburg Co. site yesterday. Very
hot in the sun!
Some people saw the long lines yesterday on the first day of Early Voting as a celebration of democracy. I get that. But I also see those long wait times as the last gasp of voter suppression.

Fact: We have fewer Early Voting sites open right now in North Carolina than were open in 2012. High Point Enterprise reporter Paul Johnson noted that Guilford County voted 11,000 people on the first day of Early Voting in 2012, with numerous polling sites open. This year, the Guilford BOE Republicans opted to open only one site this week. Consequently, early voting on the 1st day in Guilford was down from 11,000 to under 2,000.

The worst reports we've seen are from Mecklenburg County, whose two Republican BOE members are well-documented enemies (scroll down!) of Early Voting. Four hours in line is unconscionable.

It's been the plan all along, IMO. When the Fourth Circuit threw out NC's election law, the ruling left the Republican Boards of Election with fewer arrows in their quiver. Without the suppressive mechanisms of a photo ID, with voting out of precinct restored, and with same-day registration revived, the Republicans were left with the singular tactic of long lines to discourage voting. Long lines because there are fewer early voting sites and reduced hours.

So far, the people look as though they intend to tough it out. Republicans claim that those long lines prove their innocence: "See, we haven't suppressed the vote." I look at those long lines and see an electorate energized against a ruthless power structure.

Yesterday in Raleigh: Shaw Univ. students
waiting to vote early
Notes on Profiling Voters
Not that all those people in line are voting Democratic!

I suspect we all do it: looking at the line of people waiting to vote and wondering who they'll be voting for. Yesterday morning in line I saw some angry faces, set jaws, pissed-off expressions. "Ah," I thought, "Trump voters!" I have noted over the years that conservatives arrive at the polls with a head of steam. You can tell from their faces that they're fuming.

In my experience, Democrats arrive at their civic duty with happier expressions, more open and jovial faces ... except, of course, for the Democrats intending to write in a name not on the ballot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am angry at our local GOP for their bitter attempts to suppress the vote here in Watauga. Here's to hoping that Four Eggers will no longer be in control of how the county interprets the law. He is corrupt.