This N.C. Judge Just Destroyed the Left’s Attack on Voter ID Laws
In a 485-page opinion, a federal judge in North Carolina decimated the challenge to North Carolina’s Voter ID law and other election integrity reforms. Leaving no stone unturned, Judge Thomas D. Schroeder picked apart the claims by left-wing organizations such as the NAACP and League of Women Voters that these election integrity reforms violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
In 2013, the North Carolina legislature enacted a Voter ID requirement, reduced the number of days for early voting, and no longer allowed sixteen- or seventeen-year-olds who will not be eighteen by the time of the next election to “pre-register” to vote.
The challengers to these election integrity measures include the Obama administration itself -- via the Voting Section of the Justice Department -- and a host of leftist groups and big law firms which represent them free of charge. These challengers claimed the new rules discriminate against African American and Hispanic voters.
The judge blew up the idea that Voter ID law doesn’t have a purpose. He noted that prior to the Voter ID law, poll workers served “as the primary gatekeepers to voter fraud,” yet remarkably they “had very limited means of determining whether the voter was the same person as the registrant.”
The judge also had choice language for those who bluster about “voter suppression”:
Plaintiffs have characterized the bill as a “monster voter suppression law,” focusing on the fact that it emerged at fifty-seven pages. However, in truth, most of [the law’s] changes -- some forty-two of the fifty-seven pages (74%) -- have gone unchallenged in this case.
This bluster is typical, and revealing. A number of years ago the Obama administration itself approved a Voter ID law in New Hampshire, but these groups didn’t offer a peep of criticism about that decision.
Instead of preventing minorities from voting in North Carolina, the judge found that African-American participation actually increased after the passage of the election changes. The 2014 elections saw an increase in voter turnout overall, with “African American turnout increas[ing] more than other groups in 2014.”
The opinion also dealt a blow to those clamoring to make elections longer through early voting. The challengers claimed that reducing the length of early voting to contain costs was somehow racially motivated. However, the judge found that “early voting actually tends to depress participation,” and upheld North Carolina’s new election schedule.
One of the most revealing parts of the opinion is how the Court found the parade of witnesses and the case presented by the DOJ and left-wing groups to be thoroughly unconvincing.
One such witness, apparently “featured” by the plaintiffs, was Nadia Cohen, a high school student slated to start college at UNC Chapel Hill in Fall 2015. Ms. Cohen turned 18 before the 2014 general election, but she missed the registration deadline. According to Ms. Cohen:
I didn’t know there was a registration deadline. I didn’t know I could do -- I couldn’t do same-day registration. And it’s not that I don’t, like, pay attention to the news or anything. It is just my two main sources of information, which are my parents and my school, either didn’t know or didn’t tell me, or at least not with enough time.
Ms. Cohen was asked if she had researched the registration deadlines. She responded:
No. It’s not something that particularly interests me. I just assumed that it would be as it had been for my older brother and my older sister and my parents, you know, a convenient location, you know, I wouldn’t have to go out of my way. My parents registered when we moved to North Carolina and they got their North Carolina driver’s license. My brother registered in school. No one had to go out of their way to register, and I thought that, you know, it would be the same for me.
The court was shockingly not persuaded by this testimony:
Ms. Cohen makes clear that, for some, given the myriad of options available in the modern age, failure to register and vote is more a reflection of motivation than ability.
That isn’t what the left-wing groups or the DOJ want to hear, as they believe legal structures must accommodate bad decisions and apathy.