Deplorable NC Republicans Show Their True Colors On Eve Of The Election

Deplorable NC Republicans Show Their True Colors On Eve Of The Election

North Carolina Republicans are patting themselves on the back, having done whatever they can to limit early voting hours within black communities. And GOPers here just couldn’t be happier.

Republicans should be ashamed…not happy

In a Monday press release, the North Carolina GOP bragged that early voter turnout among blacks was down statewide, and also boasted there was a surge in “Caucasian voters” as evidence that Republicans will still maintain control of the state this election cycle.

“As a share of Early Voters, African Americans are down 6.0 percent, (2012 28.9 percent, 2016 22.9 percent) and Caucasians are up 4.2 percent, (2012 65.8 percent, 2016 70.0 percent).”

And among all early voters, the total share of young voters as a percentage fell, in comparison with 2012, while over the same period, the share of older voters who vote early has risen.

Reuters obtained emails last week that show GOP officials in North Carolina had “lobbied members of at least 17 county election boards to keep early-voting sites open for shorter hours on weekends and in evenings — times that usually see disproportionately high turnout by Democratic voters.”

As Vox notes, it’s not particularly surprising that North Carolina Republicans are happy about the situation, because after all, they did enact voting restrictions that one federal court said were aimed specifically at “target[ing] African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” And when the restrictions were struck down in court, county officials began closing a series of polling places. One analysis discovered this had a greater impact than Hurricane Matthew did in depressing voter turnout among blacks.

And some North Carolina Republicans acknowledge that these measures were meant to make voting more difficult for black voters.

Related: The 1950s? Republicans Want To Roll America Back Way Further Than That 

But GOP leaders in this state continue to insist their law isn’t racially motivated and that their goal was fighting voter fraud. Republicans called their opponents demagogues and claimed they were using racism to ignite the issue, the Washington Post reports. 

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Long-time Republican consultant Carter Wrenn told the Post’s William Wan that the GOP’s voter fraud argument is merely an excuse.

“Of course it’s political. Why else would you do it?” Wrenn said, noting that like any political party, the Republicans aim to preserve their majority. And although GOP legislators may have passed the law to suppress some voters, he said, that doesn’t make it racist.

“Look, if African Americans voted overwhelmingly Republican, they would have kept early voting right where it was,” he said. “It wasn’t about discriminating against African Americans. They just ended up in the middle of it because they vote Democrat.”

But despite what Wrenn says, things sure don’t look that way.

In August, one local newspaper reported on an email that North Carolina GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse to local elections officials. The email urged elections officials to limit early voting opportunities, most especially on Sundays, which are disproportionately used by African-Americans to vote, especially if they take part in black churches’ “Soul to Poll” voter drives, Talking Points Memo reports.

“Our Republican Board members should feel empowered to make legal changes to early voting plans, that are supported by Republicans,” Woodhouse wrote. “Republicans can and should make party line changes to early voting.”

And more emails have turned up from GOP members using similar arguments since then. County elections boards — which are largely Republican — were deciding on their early voting plans after the restrictions were struck down by an appeals court. That’s when officials did what the state party was hoping they would do, and proposed plans that would seriously limit early voting opportunities, especially for blacks and student voters. Understandably, these plans were challenged by civil rights groups, and some plans — but not all — were dropped.

But either way you look at it, North Carolina Republicans are crowing about limiting access to voting, and they note this in their press release:

“The other factor which shows drastic change from 2012 is the significant decrease in Democrat Party performance during Early Voting. This may finally prove the myth pushed by many mainstream media outlets of the superior Clinton get out the vote operation, as measured by the number of Clinton-specific offices in comparison to Trump-specific offices. The vaulted Clinton ground game has been buried in North Carolina by the Republican effort, thus far.”

What this tells me, however, is how weak the Republican Party is in North Carolina. These people aren’t promoting any perceived strengths the Party may have. Instead, they are trying to undermine innocent people by making it that much harder for them to vote.

What a slimy thing to do.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images