(Photo source: Associated Press and the Virginian Pilot)
by Diane Rufino, December 4, 2018
On November 6, an amendment to the North Carolina constitution requiring voters to present a photo identification for voting in person (the “Voter ID” amendment) passed with 55 percent support. The language of that amendment, per House Bill 1092 (H.B. 1092) which gave rise to the amendment, states: “Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.”
The next step in the process, of course, is to back the amendment up with appropriate legislation. The NC General Assembly officially began that task when it reconvened in Raleigh this week.
With this in mind, we can predict what the North Carolina NAACP, other black activist groups, and Democrats/liberals will do — challenge any proposed legislation as too strict, too burdensome, and too discriminatory on black voters. Any law will be challenged as an orchestrated attempt to disenfranchise black voters at the ballot. It has already filed a motion for Summary Judgement to declare all four of the adopted amendments void as being the product of an illegal general assembly (The NC NAACP holds that the election of the 2017-2018 General Assembly body was the product of racially-motivated gerrymandering and hence illegal).
On November 15, Reverend T. Anthony Spearman, the head of the NC NAACP held a press conference and outlined the group’s opposition to a photo ID law. He said: “The North Carolina NAACP calls on all people of good will to attend the ‘All Roads Lead to Raleigh’ rally on November 27 as we prepare for a usurper general assembly which came to power illegally through racially-discriminatory maps and which will meet in Raleigh in a lame-duck special session to make a final effort to enshrine discrimination in our laws.”
He said the proposed amendments which were on the ballot on November 6 were “misleading and unlawful” and “forced upon North Carolina” by an illegal general assembly.
“We will continue to fight the anti-democracy racist Photo ID law and its attempt to suppress black votes. A Photo ID discriminates against blacks, Hispanics, people of color, immigrants, and veterans. These people cannot be disenfranchised from their rightful access to the ballot box. Democracy requires that they have access to the ballot box.
History teaches us, and our hearts know it to be true – morally and constitutionally and practically that North Carolina is trying once again to suppress the votes of black people. I speak to our history……
Even before the ink was dry on President Grant’s clear signature on the 15th constitutional amendment on March 30, 1870, the slaveholders of North Carolina and the other ten treasonous states who declared war on the red, white, and blue flag and its government, had met in their lily-white caucuses to design schemes to deny and abridge, to suppress and gerrymander the black vote power down to nothing. Like today, in many NC counties, black voters were in the majority and anyone who could count could understand that if people voted by their racial category, the white man was going to lose. Like today, Mr. Berger and Mr. Moore hide in their lily-white caucus in our people’s house, and plan, with all their tricks, how to ram thru legislation and over-ride vetoes. Their motivations are clear. Their intent is to intimidate, trick, and confuse poor black voters…. “
“The 15th Amendment states clearly – ‘The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” House Speaker Moore, Senator Berger… What is it about the 15th Amendment’s clear guarantee that you don’t understand? Perhaps we should hang the 15th Amendment high on a banner outside the lily-white caucus room in which you scheme up your scams. Will you have your police arrest us for holding up the Constitution, which you purport to love? The US Supreme ruled twice, in cases our organization brought, that the Photo ID legislation that you all passed (obviously talking to the NC General Assembly Republicans) was intentionally racist, ‘targeting voters of color with surgical precision.’ (quoting from the decision of the 4th Circuit’s 2016 opinion). You have contemptuously ignored the court’s ruling.
The second sentence of the 15th Amendment is even more elementary than the first. It reads: ‘The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.’ In 1965, Congress authorized the Voting Rights Act and re-authorized it three times. Since last Tuesday, many believe the votes are there to pass the bill (the Photo ID bill) that was stalled in the house. Thank God. The House used every trick I the book to abridge, curtail, trick, suppress, supplant, scare, intimidate, humiliate, and violently kill people, characterize them as felons, frame them as felons, imprison them as felons, and create impossible barriers to register – such as finding and producing birth certificates when high proportions of older black voters today were born with midwives with no birth certificates at all.
Even before the ink was dry on President Grant’s clear signature on the 15th constitutional amendment, sore-loosing slaveholders began organizing a defeated confederate army into secret political societies. In North Carolina, not far from here, in Alamance County, Colonel Sanders, from Chapel Hill, shed his gray uniform and donned a silly-looking white sheet to ride with burning sticks. That being in the White House and Nazi groups were particularly upset when black and white neighbors came together and began challenging the fake history that glorifies the statues of Robert E. Lee. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to erect statues of Ulysses S. Grant across the South since many of our neighbors and students don’t seem to know who won the war to abolish slavery…….”
Wow, what a mouthful of racism…. So much hatred oozing from his words.
NOTE: Spearman was absolutely INCORRECT (and perhaps even intentionally misleading) in his claim that the US Supreme Court has ruled on the NC Voter ID law. The Supreme Court DECLINED to look at the law (see later).
Well, at least we know now that the NAACP, with its extreme racist political position and its toxic, offensive, racist, and hate-filled rhetoric, is once again hoping to derail honest intentions to ensure honesty and integrity in North Carolina elections and once again framing the initiative (voted on by a majority of the voters in NC) as one pursued by Republicans for the purpose of intentionally disenfranchising blacks. Its intent is clear – to fight a restrictive Photo-Voter ID law.
And keeping its word, the NC NAACP held its protest beginning in the morning of November 27 (as the special lame-duck session of the NC General Assembly met to take care of business) on the Bicentennial Mall, headlined by its head, Rev. Spearman, and Rev. William Barber. In keeping with his rhetoric of November 15, Spearman shouted these words: “Senator Berger, Speaker Moore, what is it about that clear guarantee in the 15h Amendment that you cannot understand?”
Spearman thinks the racially-divided South of the Jim Crow era and pre-Civil Rights era has never ended. He needs a reality check. Sure, racism existed for a long time in our country. No one can deny that and no one does. But to think that it exists on a level even close to what it did back during the Jim Crow era and even up until the early 1960’s is sheer dishonesty. Although it took far too long for blacks to be recognized with full civil rights, the federal government not only stepped in to solve the problem but it went far beyond, granting all kinds of special protections, government over-sight, court orders, and affirmative action programs to remedy generations of past discrimination. Every race was discriminated at some point in our 20th century history (including Italians, Irish, Chinese, Middle-Easterners – all facing employment practices that excluded them from being hired. All faced horrible stereotypes which translated into the government intentionally limiting their numbers or banning them through our US immigration laws). Yet only one race has received and continues to receive special protection. Just look at all the federal and state laws that protect blacks and punish employers, schools, public accommodations, etc who attempt to discriminate against them. There are even laws that make it particularly easy to sue on the basis of racial discrimination. (When whites sue for discrimination, including when they are discriminated against in their application to universities in favor of blacks who are far less qualified, they are told that there is no law that protects them and hence, those schools are given great latitude and deference as to what they choose to do in reviewing and accepting applicants). Only one race believes it holds the copyright on discrimination and disenfranchisement.
Writer and journalist Rachel Lu (of The Federalist) is tired what she sees as constant, unfounded accusations of racism from the left. She explains: “Liberals need racist foes to vanquish. Most of the time they have to resort to finding them where they obviously aren’t there.” What I think she means is that accusations of racism by Democrats and other leftist groups are means to an end.
We see how racial discrimination has been dealt with in employment and public accommodations, so let’s look at how race influences things these days in other areas that really matter:
A 2005 study by Princeton sociologists Thomas J. Espenshade and Chang Y. Chung compared the effects of Affirmative Action on racial and special groups at three highly selective private research universities, including Harvard University. The data below, which is from the study, represents admissions disadvantage and advantage in terms of SAT points (on the old 1600-point scale):
Whites (non-recruited athlete/non-legacy status): 0 (control group)
Recruited athletes: +200
Legacies (children of alumni): +160
In other words, whatever the SAT test score that a white applicant received, the university judges that student and weighs his or her application exactly on that score. Whatever SAT score a black applicant received, the university automatically adds 230 additional points to the score before that applicant’s application is reviewed and judged and compared to other applicants. Hispanic applicants have their SAT scores upgraded and recruited athletes as well (and legacies, but we all kinda suspected that). Universities (again, at least the top private universities which were the target of the study) punish Asian applicants by automatically subtracting points from their earned SAT scores before reviewing their applications.
In 2009, Espenshade and researcher Alexandria Walton Radford, in their book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, examined data on students applying to college in 1997 and calculated that Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African Americans who got 1100.
After controlling for grades, test scores, family background (legacy status), and athletic status (whether or not the student was a recruited athlete), Espenshade and Radford found that whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian Americans.
It’s hard for most Americans to understand the notion that blacks are insidiously discriminated today in American society.
President Obama signed two federal orders, one in 2011 and another in 2016, which strengthened the ability to use race-related affirmative action to enroll in elementary and secondary education, as well as an Executive Order to require schools to ease off on punishing blacks in their school discipline policies (Obama assumed that since blacks were disproportionately the target of high school disciplinary action, the policies or the school administrators must be racist]. President Trump rescinded the federal orders.
The NC Voter Integrity Project, in talking about cases of voter fraud in North Carolina, recalls the incident where a black woman voted multiple times. No one wanted to say anything or call her out on it because they were afraid it would create a scene. Finally, on the third or fourth time voting, one poll worker finally questioned her. She immediately started screaming “They are trying to disenfranchise my vote!” She said she was voting for her black neighbor. The poll officials essentially did nothing; she was told to come back with her neighbor. As it turned out, she HAD voted multiple times, she LIED and DECEIVED the poll officials, the poll officials CHOSE to look the other way and ignore the fact that she voted illegally, and poll officials DECLINED to go to the officials about what she had illegally done. Once that brave poll worker left, she could continue to keep voting. (The last attempt at voting, she gave the name of her neighbor, a man). Imagine if a white man had claimed: “I’m white and they are trying to stop me from voting.” What do you think the outcome would be? And people wonder why a photo ID is absolutely necessary.
Again, it’s hard for most Americans to understand the notion that blacks are insidiously discriminated today in American society.
The Supreme Court has said, in so many words and in many different ways, that our laws have done everything possible to eradicate discrimination against blacks and there is nothing else that can, or should be, done. To continue affirmative action programs (except in professional programs, such as law schools, for example) would be to violate the 14th Amendment as reverse-discrimination. All that being said, I deplore racism in any form, whether it is outright in its action or application or whether it results by disparate application of law or policy. There is something wrong with a person who thinks that just because a person has a different skin color, there is something fundamentally different about what’s underneath – in his or her heart or mind. There isn’t….. Unless, of course, it is the skin color that compels people to act differently, in a bad way – in a way that harms society. We are all different, on so many levels, but to think that skin color, a feature that a person is born with and has no ability to change (unless he or she is Michael Jackson) somehow makes that person inherently superior or inferior is the very definition of racist.
We can hold our own opinions regarding culture, cultural values, cultural conduct, and cultural priorities, and that is, in fact, where we are today. And that is our right as individuals who are allowed to think freely. It is our right of conscience and are right of association. But what we should never do is think that any one group of persons, simply based on skin color, is inherently inferior or superior. And we should never impute a bad quality to a group of persons simply because of skin color. Yet we see that all too often, from both sides.
And that’s why I hate racists; I hate what they have done to our society and what they continue to do. I hate race baiters and race mongers. I hate that they constantly force people to look at the characteristics that we can’t change, like skin color, rather than the characteristics that we have control over, such as character, personality, intelligence, talent, kindness, goodness, the ability to promote harmony, and the ability to make others smile. I hate racists from both sides. But to be honest, aside from neo-Nazi groups and strict white supremacists, the real racists are the ones on the left, and yes, from the black community like the NC NAACP, the Democratic Party, Reverend Al Sharpton’s black activist group, Black Lives Matter, the liberal mainstream media, and more. No one takes the neo-Nazis or the white supremacist groups seriously; they are lunatic fringe hate groups. Sadly, they have First Amendment rights. But luckily, they are small, powerless groups who don’t organize huge protests or cause any real violence or damage (as a group). Dylann Roof, the young man who killed 9 when he shot up a black church in Charleston, identified as a white supremacist and even wrote a manifesto following the Travon Martin shooting.
But the more insidious racism comes from the left. President Obama accused every white person of being a racist (“whether they know it or not”), of being incapable of subconsciously thinking that black people are inferior. Hillary Clinton said the exact same thing. Michelle Obama spent almost her entire life seeing the world, and especially academia, in terms of black and white. She accused Princeton of being a racist institution yet protested the school demanding that black students be allowed to have their own dormitory (blacks, she said, have their own issues and shared interests that warrant getting their own living arrangements). As soon as Barack Obama took office, he rushed to judgement, publicly, when a Harvard professor, Henry Gates, a black man, was apprehended by a police officer when he was caught breaking into his own home (he lost his key). Obama characterized the incident as an all-too-commonplace incident when a white officer racial profiles a black man. The truth of the matter is that Gates was observed by a neighbor who only saw his back, concluded it was an attempted home break-in, and notified the police. She never once said the man was black. When police arrived at the scene, Gates became overly hostile and accused the police of harassing him only because he was black and refused to answer the policeman’s questions. It was Gates who was the racist; it was he who created a racist incident where it didn’t deserve to be. The Black Lives Matter movement encourages blacks to kill white members of law enforcement for no other reason than they are white. Al Sharpton led a march in New York City in protest of supposed police brutality against blacks in which the marchers chanted “What Do We Want? Dead Cops! When Do We Want Them? NOW!”) The mainstream media perpetuated an incorrect narrative regarding the Travon Martin shooting, reporting that Community Watch leader George Zimmerman stalked and shot Travon because he was black and didn’t belong in the neighborhood. The truth is (I studied the tox reports, the autopsy findings, the court filings, and the case itself) that yes, while Zimmerman was keeping an eye on Travon (in his car), it was Travon who ultimately stalked him, attacked him, and beat him almost to the point of death, prompting Zimmerman to shoot his gun. Travon was high on drugs, had a history of aggressive behavior (was expelled from high school on account of it), had likely became paranoid because he saw Zimmerman keeping an eye on him (a side-effect of the drugs), and became aggressive, jumping Zimmerman, and while on top of him, punching him and beating him so hard that his nose was broken and blood was flowing down his throat and into his lungs. Zimmerman thought he was going to die and felt himself beginning to lose consciousness, which finally prompted him to shoot Travon. We all remember Obama condemning Zimmerman and saying “Travon could be my son.” The dishonest media, throughout the ordeal, continued to show Travon as a sweet-faced young kid rather than the angry, thug-faced teen he had grown into, all in an effort to push the narrative that the shoot was racially-motivated. And how many times have we heard the testimonies of pro athletes who talk about their lives in the inner city and how they were raised to hate and mistrust whites. Even college-age liberals seem to be indoctrinated with the notion that all whites share a history of discriminating and mistreating blacks and that all whites are inherently given preferential treatment in society, in schools, in employment, in business, etc even when they don’t deserve it (“white privilege”). That term alone tells us that racism is becoming more entrenched in our society.
The truth is that more than ever, we find ourselves faced with gentle societal pressure to view people in terms of skin color and race, even when we don’t want to… even when every instinct and every moral, religious, and practical impulse tells us it is wrong. But Rev. Spearman is wrong to suggest, and to dare perpetuate, the message that the racism of the pre-Civil Rights era is the same racism poisoning our society and guiding our legislature here in North Carolina.
I. HISTORY OF NC VOTER ID —
In all its prior elections, North Carolina voters were not obligated to show any form of identification at all when they showed up to vote, which seems impossible given the many instances of voter irregularity, the numbers that don’t make sense, the highly questionable votes that continue to roll in even after the election, the persistent appearance of impropriety in several of the counties in NC, the many instances of reported voter fraud by poll workers and other eyewitnesses, the instances of actual verified voter fraud uncovered by the NC Voter Integrity Project, the refusal of the state Board of Elections to prosecute the instances of fraud, and the inconsistencies (pointing to a scheme of voter fraud) unearthed by Major Dave Goetze when he analyzed all the numbers of voters versus recorded votes.
The adoption of a photo ID requirement to vote finally brings North Carolina into alignment with the great majority of other states who have voter identification requirements. Thirty-four states already require some sort of identification for voting in person. Of those, 17 states require a photo ID.
A voter ID must be viewed as a common sense requirement because many Western democracies, in fact, require voter ID in some form.
North Carolina recognized the need for a photo ID to vote, to address the claims and the opportunity for voter fraud and to address the general lack of trust and confidence in the integrity of its elections, and had already passed a valid Voter ID law back in 2013 (HB 589, which was the initial bill that originated in the NC House; it was amended in the Senate and then enacted as SL 2013-381). It was actually an omnibus bill which essentially means that it includes many changes, or packages many smaller bills into one larger single bill that could be passed with only one vote in each house. SL2013-381, in fact, including many changes to North Carolina’s voting laws in addition to adding a photo ID requirement. It was to take effect in 2016, in time for the presidential election. But African-American activist groups, like the NC chapter of the NAACP, protested strongly against it and challenged it in court, alleging the law to be a “blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters of color.” The Federal District Court for the Middle District of NC found no discriminatory intent, but on appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 3-judge panel agreed with the petitioners (challengers) and on July 29, 2016, it struct down NC’s Voter ID law as being an intentional attempt to target black voters in its changes to the states’ voter laws. In other words, the 4th Circuit struck the Voter ID law down as being intentionally discriminatory. The opinion of the 4th Circuit will be addressed later, in a little more detail. [The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/161468.P.pdf ]
The NC state legislature appealed to the US Supreme Court the following May, but the high court refused to grant review. It denied review, not on the merits, and not on the valid issue at hand, but based on a procedural inconsistency. Pat McCrory filed the petition for review but lost his Governor’s seat in 2016 to Roy Cooper, thus making the challenge by the legislature invalid. In the Court’s response to the NC legislature, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “Given the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in this Court under North Carolina law, it is important to recall our frequent admonition that ‘the denial of a writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case.’” Again, in denying to hear the case, the Supreme Court was not ruling on whether the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ three-judge panel was correct or not in its assessment of the North Carolina law.
After the crushing blow by the activist 4th Circuit, the NC legislature was left to figure out another way to deliver to the NC citizens a Photo ID voter law, a law which was top on their list of demands in sending a Republican majority to Raleigh. A constitutional amendment was the solution. It was not a legislature-driven initiative but rather one voted upon by the people themselves. And the people voted to adopt it. It was their will; it was their voice.
The NC NAACP can’t accuse 55% of the voters of North Carolina of being racist, of being motivated by a desire to disenfranchise blacks.
The more likely motivation was that they were concerned over too many irregularities in North Carolina elections (the election returns in Durham county, for example, back in 2016 ) and over too many stories (many true) of illegals voting and people voting by misappropriating the names of dead persons and those who have moved away. A photo ID requirement which proves to the poll official that the person who is voting is who he or she says he/she is is a simple way to address such opportunities to defraud the voting process (“One Citizen, One Vote”). Voter fraud and election fraud were also the reasons the NC General Assembly pursued a Voter ID law back in 2013, pursuant to a clear mandate pressured by the voters in the 2010 election. People were sick of the shenanigans being pulled at the ballot box. Despite what the mainstream media says about voter fraud, which in regard to this issue is absolutely fake news, the people know the truth. In 2010, Republicans finally secured the majority in both houses of the NC General Assembly (giving them the power to draw legislative districts, a critical move which helped them achieve GOP supermajorities in both the House and Senate). The opportunity finally arrived to address the lack of faith in NC elections and to address actual voter fraud and potential opportunities to commit it.
The voters of North Carolina put pressure on their state legislature for a Voter ID bill through the ballot box in 2010 (Republicans ran on a Voter ID bill) and then again on November 6 when they adopted a constitutional amendment requiring North Carolinians to present a photo ID to vote.
The language of the Photo ID amendment, per House Bill 1092 (H.B. 1092), states: “Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.”
On November 21, Republican leaders in the NC General Assembly drafted a bill that describes what forms of photo ID would be allowed. It is considered a strict form of a photo ID bill; that is, it is restrictive in terms of what forms of ID would be allowed. That initial bill (v. 09) would have required persons to show one of the following forms of photo identification when they show up to vote: A North Carolina driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a military ID and veteran ID, tribal IDs, other forms of photo ID issued by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, a student ID (but only one issued by any of the 17 universities belonging to the UNC university system), and a voter ID card issued by each county’s board of elections office. This week, on Tuesday (Nov. 27), the General Assembly convened for a special two-week lame duck session in order to continue work on the new Voter ID law, as well as to address the other constitutional amendments adopted by voters on election day. Almost immediately, though, a revised draft of the Photo-Voter ID bill was submitted (Senate Bill 824; or S.824 – See below for its content) and as expected, Democrats played their games in an attempt to water-down the bill. From what I am told, the General Assembly will tackle in earnest the legislation to address photo ID next week.
And that is where the amendment stands right now.
The intent of the amendment would suggest that voters want a strict photo ID voter law. Why do I say this? Considering the intense fight by Democrats and groups representing blacks to oppose and challenge a common-sense Voter ID law (it wasn’t even a strict one) and the intense media opposition campaign by the liberal-controlled media and by the Democrats (with George Soros providing much of the funding) to the Voter ID amendment, it seems obvious that the reason they were (and have been) so intently opposed to any type of voter ID is because they don’t want honest elections. Only a strict photo ID requirement can effectively thwart any of their plans to engage in voter manipulation or fraud.
NC Representatives Michele Presnell (R-Yancey) and John Sauls (R-Lee), both primary sponsors of H.B. 1092, believed the amendment was vital to block election fraud. As Rep. Presnell explained: “Citizens are increasingly concerned about attempts to subvert our elections process and it is incumbent upon government officials to safeguard public perception of our democracy as well as the actual ballots cast.” And Rep. Sauls added: “Confidence in the American democracy is essential to its longevity. Our state must not tolerate anyone’s vote being threatened because lawmakers failed to prevent fraud.”
Which brings us to the special lame-duck session which convened this week. Republicans want a strict form of a Photo ID law and but they face a potential hurdle if they don’t act quickly – Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat and a strong opponent of voter ID laws. In fact, his entire history as Attorney General and we see a little of it also as Governor is that he has little respect for laws that are duly enacted and supported by the majority of the people of the state. He refused to support the Marriage Amendment that was adopted in the state by a ballot initiative (refused to defend it when it was challenged, even though it was his job) and he refused to allow the Supreme Court to review the 4th Circuit’s opinion on the 2013 Voter ID law. If Republicans have any chance of passing a strict Photo ID law, it needs to do so while it still enjoys a supermajority on both houses (that is, it needs to pass it before the new General Assembly is sworn in and the 2019-2020 session begins, which will be in January).
Interested persons should review the recent draft (S.824 – see below) and if they have questions or concerns, they should contact their legislators as quickly as possible.
II. THE RELEVANT LAW
Let’s go back to the accusations made by race-mongers, Rev. Anthony Spearman and Rev. William Barber, and his racist organization, the NC NAACP. I call them “race mongers” because they and their organization feed off racial stress and racial division. The organization exists only to perpetuate it and in fact, should racial harmony exist, the organization would die. It would become irrelevant; Rev. Spearman would become irrelevant. Rev. William Barber would be irrelevant. These men and this organization (like many similar ones) offer nothing brand new, nothing good, no solutions, but rather, just emphasize and re-emphasize the dispute between the races and the sins of the past.
Let’s look at their accusations that any form of Voter ID law is an absolute “abridgement” of the voting rights guarantee in the 15th Amendment to black people, that all attempts to enact a Voter ID law in North Carolina amounts to an intentional scheme to disenfranchise blacks of their right to vote, and that white legislators, in general, meet in their caucuses for the precise purpose to scheme against blacks and to seek legislation to discriminate against them and to disenfranchise them of rights and privileges and opportunities.
The first step, of course, is to take note of the relevant law, which I’ve summarized below:
A. The 15th Amendment:
Section 1: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2: The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
B. The 14th Amendment:
Section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
C. Voting Rights Act of 1965 (relevant sections)
Section 4: (a) To assure that the right of citizens of the United States to vote is not denied or abridged on account of race or color, no citizen shall be denied the right to vote in any Federal, State, or local election because of his failure to comply with any test or device in any State with respect to which the determinations have been made under subsection (b) or in any political subdivision with respect to which such determinations have been made as a separate unit, unless the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in an action for a declaratory judgment brought by such State or subdivision against the United States has determined that no such test or device has been used during the five years preceding the filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color: Provided, That no such declaratory judgment shall issue with respect to any plaintiff for a period of five years after the entry of a final judgment of any court of the United States, other than the denial of a declaratory judgment under this section, whether entered prior to or after the enactment of this Act, determining that denials or abridgments of the right to vote on account of race or color through the use of such tests or devices have occurred anywhere in the territory of such plaintiff. An action pursuant to this subsection shall be heard and determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court. The court shall retain jurisdiction of any action pursuant to this subsection for five years after judgment and shall reopen the action upon motion of the Attorney General alleging that a test or device has been used for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color.
If the Attorney General determines that he has no reason to believe that any such test or device has been used during the five years preceding the filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, he shall consent to the entry of such judgment
(b) The provisions of subsection (a) shall apply in any State or in any political subdivision of a state which (1) the Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1964, any test or device, and with respect to which (2) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 percentum of the persons of voting age residing therein were registered on November 1, 1964, or that less than 50 percentum of such persons voted in the presidential election of November 1964.
A determination or certification of the Attorney General or of the Director of the Census under this section or under section 6 or section 13 shall not be reviewable in any court and shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
(c) The phrase “test or device” shall mean any requirement that a person as a prerequisite for voting or registration for voting (1) demonstrate the ability to read, write, understand, or interpret any matter, (2) demonstrate any educational achievement or his knowledge of any particular subject, (3) possess good moral character, or (4) prove his qualifications by the voucher of registered voters or members of any other class.
(d) For purposes of this section no State or political subdivision shall be determined to have engaged in the use of tests or devices for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color if (1) incidents of such use have been few in number and have been promptly and effectively corrected by State or local action, (2) the continuing effect of such incidents has been eliminated, and (3) there is no reasonable probability of their recurrence in the future.
Section 5: Whenever a State or political subdivision with respect to which the prohibitions set forth in section 4(a) are in effect shall enact or seek to administer any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting different from that in force or effect on November 1, 1964, such State or subdivision may institute an action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory judgment that such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure does not have the purpose and will not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, and unless and until the court enters such judgment no person shall be denied the right to vote for failure to comply with such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure: Provided, That such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure may be enforced without such proceeding if the qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure has been submitted by the chief legal officer or other appropriate official of such State or subdivision to the Attorney General and the Attorney General has not interposed an objection within sixty days after such submission, except that neither the Attorney General’s failure to object nor a declaratory judgment entered under this section shall bar a subsequent action to enjoin enforcement of such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure. Any action under this section shall be heard and determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has no bearing on NC Voter ID laws since June 2013, when, in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down the operative section that used to require the federal government to review changes to any state’s voting laws, provided that state had a history of discrimination against African-Americans.
Section 5 is known as the Pre-Clearance Section, which provides that any state or political subdivision thereof meeting the criteria set forth in Sections 4(a)-(b), must have any changes to its voting laws reviewed by a federal court to make sure that such changes do not discriminate outright on account of race or have the effect of doing so. Section 5 was not invalidated, but Section 4 was. Section 4 is the section which establishes the “Pre-Clearance Formula” to determine which state or subdivision thereof comes under the jurisdiction of Section 5. In other words, Section 4 contained the legislative formula to determine which jurisdictions must get “preclearance” from the federal government to change their voting laws—a procedure mandated by Section 5 of the Act. Without Section 4, Section 5 has no effect, since no states or jurisdictions are subject to the preclearance mandate. (The formula hadn’t been updated by Congress since 1975 and so a majority of the Court struck down Section 4 because the formula was far too outdated to pass constitutional muster.)
Note, however, that the Court in Shelby decided to exempt Section 5 from scrutiny, thereby leaving an opening for Congress to enact a new formula that “identifies those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of the current conditions.”
I should go into the Shelby decision a little further since the 2016 4th Circuit opinion striking down the 2013 NC Voter ID law touches on it and also because Rev. Spearman is under the impression that the 15th Amendment and Voting Rights Act go hand-in-hand as perpetual law. He believes that the constraints imposed by the Voting Rights Act extend, and should rightly so, into perpetuity. He is under the impression that there is a continual struggle between whites and blacks and that whites will always find ways to disenfranchise blacks to minimize their standing in society. But that just isn’t so.
The following is taken right from the Opinion: (https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/12-96 )
FACTS & HISTORY: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to address entrenched racial discrimination in voting, “an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of our country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution.” South Carolina v. Katzenbach (1966). Section 2 of the Act, which bans any “standard, practice, or procedure” that “results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen . . . to vote on account of race or color,” 42 U. S. C. §1973(a), applies nationwide, is permanent, and is not at issue in this case. Other sections apply only to some parts of the country. Section 4 of the Act provides the “coverage formula,” defining the “covered jurisdictions” as States or political subdivisions that maintained tests or devices as prerequisites to voting, and had low voter registration or turnout, in the 1960s and early 1970s. §1973b(b). In those covered jurisdictions, §5 of the Act provides that no change in voting procedures can take effect until approved by specified federal authorities in Washington, D. C. §1973c(a). Such approval is known as “preclearance.”
The coverage formula and preclearance requirement were initially set to expire after five years, but the Act has been reauthorized several times. In 2006, the Act was reauthorized for an additional 25 years, but the coverage formula was not changed. Coverage still turned on whether a jurisdiction had a voting test in the 1960s or 1970s, and had low voter registration or turnout at that time. Shortly after the 2006 reauthorization, a Texas utility district sought to bail out from the Act’s coverage and, in the alternative, challenged the Act’s constitutionality. This Court resolved the challenge on statutory grounds, but expressed serious doubts about the Act’s continued constitutionality. See Northwest Austin Municipal Util. Dist. No. One v. Holder (2009).
Petitioner Shelby County, in the covered jurisdiction of Alabama, sued the Attorney General in Federal District Court in Washington, D. C., seeking a declaratory judgment that sections 4(b) and 5 are facially unconstitutional, as well as a permanent injunction against their enforcement. The District Court upheld the Act, finding that the evidence before Congress in 2006 was sufficient to justify reauthorizing §5 and continuing §4(b)’s coverage formula. The D. C. Circuit affirmed. After surveying the evidence in the record, that court accepted Congress’s conclusion that §2 litigation remained inadequate in the covered jurisdictions to protect the rights of minority voters, that §5 was therefore still necessary, and that the coverage formula continued to pass constitutional muster.
OPINION & REASONING: The majority opinion was delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito. The Court held that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional, that its formula can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting states and political subdivisions to preclearance. The majority concluded that Section 4(b) exceeded Congress’s power to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments, reasoning that the coverage formula conflicts with the constitutional principles of federalism and “equal sovereignty of the states” because the disparate treatment of the states is “based on 40 year-old facts having no logical relationship to the present day” and thus is not responsive to current needs. The Court expressed that Congress cannot subject a state to preclearance based simply on past discrimination. The opinion reads:
In Northwest Austin, this Court noted that the Voting Rights Act “imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs” and concluded that “a departure from the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty requires a showing that a statute’s disparate geographic coverage is sufficiently related to the problem that it targets.” It is this basic principle of sovereignty and also this principle of “burden v. necessity” that guide the Court in addressing the issue presented – in reviewing the constitutionality of Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
(1) State legislation may not contravene federal law. States retain broad autonomy, however, in structuring their governments and pursuing legislative objectives. Indeed, the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States all powers not specifically granted to the Federal Government, including “the power to regulate elections.” Gregory v. Ashcroft (1991). There is also a “fundamental principle of equal sovereignty” among the States, which is highly pertinent in assessing disparate treatment of States. See Northwest Austin. The Voting Rights Act sharply departs from these basic principles. It requires States to beseech the Federal Government for permission to implement laws that they would otherwise have the right to enact and execute on their own. And despite the tradition of equal sovereignty, the Act applies to only nine States (and additional counties). That is why, in 1966 (in Katzenbach), this Court described the Act as “stringent” and “potent.” The Court nonetheless upheld the Act, concluding that such an “uncommon exercise of congressional power” could be justified by “exceptional conditions.”
(2) In 1966, these departures were justified by the “blight of racial discrimination in voting” that had “infected the electoral process in parts of our country for nearly a century” [Katzenbach]. At the time, the coverage formula – the means of linking the exercise of the unprecedented authority with the problem that warranted it – made sense. The Act was limited to areas where Congress found “evidence of actual voting discrimination,” and the covered jurisdictions shared two characteristics: “the use of tests and devices for voter registration, and a voting rate in the 1964 presidential election at least 12 points below the national average.” The Court explained that “tests and devices are relevant to voting discrimination because of their long history as a tool for perpetrating the evil; a low voting rate is pertinent for the obvious reason that widespread disenfranchisement must inevitably affect the number of actual voters.” [Ibid] The Court therefore concluded that “the coverage formula was rational in both practice and theory.” [Ibid]
(3) Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions. Largely because of the Voting Rights Act, “voter turnout and registration rates” in covered jurisdictions “now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.” See Northwest Austin. The tests and devices that blocked ballot access have been forbidden nationwide for over 40 years. Yet the Act has not eased §5’s restrictions or narrowed the scope of §4’s coverage formula along the way. Instead those extraordinary and unprecedented features have been reauthorized as if nothing has changed, and they have grown even stronger. Because §5 applies only to those jurisdictions singled out by §4, the Court turns to consider that provision.
Later in the opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote:
A statute’s “current burdens” must be justified by “current needs,” and any “disparate geographic coverage” must be “sufficiently related to the problem that it targets.” The coverage formula met that test in 1965, but no longer does so.
Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices. The formula captures States by reference to literacy tests and low voter registration and turnout in the 1960s and early 1970s. But such tests have been banned nationwide for over 40 years. And voter registration and turnout numbers in the covered States have risen dramatically in the years since. Racial disparity in those numbers was compelling evidence justifying the preclearance remedy and the coverage formula. There is no longer such a disparity….. The nation is no longer divided along racial lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.
….. the Fifteenth Amendment commands that the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race or color, and it gives Congress the power to enforce that command. The Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to ensure a better future.
In light of the outdated formula, in light of the fact that at one time (1966), the formula was “rational in both practice and theory” (preclearance was a “tailored remedy” under the circumstances) but that times have dramatically changed, and in light of the undue burden it placed on certain states in violation of the Tenth Amendment, the Supreme Court concluded that Section 4’s formula is unconstitutional in light of current conditions.
Taking to heart the opinion’s explanation that times have “changed dramatically,” ask yourself a question: Referring to the black women I wrote about much earlier, who had attempted to vote at least three times on a single day in North Carolina, with the poll officials purposely not saying anything about it or turning her in – Does anyone think that such a thing could have ever happened in pre-Civil Rights era America? Does anyone even think such a thing could have happened in 1965? Absolutely not. That instance shows just how much times have changed and how far behind us we’ve put racial discrimination at the ballot box.
Again, note that Justice Roberts opted to strike down only the formula in Section 4 that determined which jurisdictions would be subject to the preclearance requirements. The Court declined to address the constitutionality of Section 5 (invoking the doctrine of “constitutional avoidance,” which says that a federal court should refuse to rule on a constitutional issue if the case can be resolved on a non-constitutional basis), although it also was challenged by Shelby County, Alabama, thus leaving it in place for Congress, should it ever wish to enact an updated “formula.” (Giving Congress the chance to address or update Section 5 was the “chance to resolve the issue on a non-constitutional basis”).
As Justice Antonin Scalia said during oral arguments: “Congress reauthorized Section 5 (in 2006) not because the legislation was necessary, but because it constituted a ‘racial entitlement’ that Congress was unlikely to end.”
The important thing to know is that as it stands now, Section 5 has been rendered useless by the decision in Shelby because the provision that gives it force (Section 4) has been struck down as unconstitutional. And because Section 5 is rendered useless, the Voting Rights Act no longer demands and requires federal court review and approval of any changes to North Carolina’s voting laws. (Same for any other southern state previously identified by the law’s “preclearance” provision)
D. Latest Draft of a NC Photo-Voter ID bill (S.824):
PART I: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT REQUIRING PHOTOGRAPHIC IDENTIFICATION TO VOTE
SECTION 1.1(a) Article 17 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
“§ 163A-869.1. Voter Photo Identification Cards.
(a) The county board of elections shall, in accordance with this section, issue without charge voter photo identification cards upon request to registered voters. The voter photo identification cards shall contain a photograph of the voter and the registration number for that voter. The voter photo identification card shall be used for voting purposes only, and shall expire ten years from the date of issuance.
(b) The State Board shall make available to county board of elections the equipment necessary to print voter photo identification cards. The county board of elections shall operate and maintain the equipment necessary to print voter photo identification cards.
(c) County boards of elections shall maintain a secure database containing the photographs of registered voters taken for the purpose of issuing voter photo identification cards.
(d) The State Board shall adopt rules to ensure at a minimum, but not limited to, the following:
(1) A registered voter seeking to obtain a voter photo identification card shall provide the voter’s date of birth and the last four digits of the voter’s social security number.
(2) Voter photo identification cards shall be issued at any time, except during the time period between the end of the voter registration deadline for a primary or election as provided in G.S. 163A-865 and election day for each primary and election.
(3) If the registered voter loses or defaces the voter’s photo identification card, the voter may obtain a duplicate card without charge from his or her county board of registration upon request in person, or by telephone, or mail.
(e) Ninety days prior to expiration, the county board of elections shall notify any voter issued a voter photographic identification card under this section of the impending expiration of the voter photographic identification card.”
SECTION 1.2(a) Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
“§ 163A-1145.1. Requirement for Photo Identification to Vote in Person.
(a). Photo Identification Required to Vote. – When a voter presents to vote in person, the voter shall produce any of the following forms of identification that contain a photograph of the voter:
(1) Any of the following that is valid and unexpired, or has been expired for one year or less::
- A North Carolina drivers license.
- A special identification card for nonoperators issued under G.S. 20-37.7 or other form of non-temporary identification issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles of the Department of Transportation.
- A United States passport.
- A North Carolina voter photo identification card of the voter issued pursuant to G.S. 163A-869.1.
- A valid and current tribal enrollment card issued by a federally recognized tribe.
- A valid and current tribal enrollment card issued by a tribe recognized by this State under Chapter 71A of the General Statutes, provided that card meets all of the following criteria:
(i). Is issued in accordance with a process approved by the State Board that requires an application and proof of identity equivalent to the requirements for issuance of a special identification card by the Division of Motor Vehicles of the Department of Transportation.
(ii). Is signed by an elected official of the tribe.
- A student identification card issued by a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3), provided that card is issued in accordance with G.S. 163A-1145.2.
- An employee identification card issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, provided that card is issued in accordance with G.S. 163A-1145.3.
- A drivers license or special identification card for nonoperators issued by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or commonwealth of the United States, but only if the voter’s voter registration was within 90 days of the election.
(2) Any of the following, regardless of whether the identification contains a printed expiration or issuance date:
- A military identification card issued by the United States government.
- A Veterans Identification Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for use at Veterans Administration medical facilities.
(3) Any expired form of identification allowed in this subsection presented by a voter having attained the age of 65 years at the time of presentation at the voting place, provided that the identification was unexpired on the voter’s sixty-fifth birthday.
(b). Verification of Photo Identification. – After presentation of the required identification described in subsection (a) of this section, the precinct officials assigned to check registration shall compare the photograph contained on the required identification with the person presenting to vote. The precinct official shall verify that the photograph is that of the person seeking to vote. If the precinct official disputes that the photograph contained on the required identification is the person presenting to vote, a challenge shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures of G.S. 163A-914.
(c) Provisional Ballot Required Without Photo Identification. – If the registered voter cannot produce the identification as required in subsection (a) of this section, the voter may cast a provisional ballot that is counted only if the voter brings a valid and current photo identification to the county board of elections no later than the end of business on the business day prior to the canvass by the county board of elections as provided in G.S. 163A-1172.
(d) Exceptions. – The following exceptions are provided for a voter who does not produce a valid and current photograph identification as required above:
(1) Religious Objection. – If a voter does not produce a valid and current photograph identification due to a religious objection to being photographed, the voter may complete an affidavit under penalty of perjury at the voting place and affirm that the voter: (i) is the same individual who personally appears at the voting place; (ii) will cast the provisional ballot while voting in person; and (iii) has a religious objection to being photographed. Upon completion of the affidavit, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.
(2) Reasonable Impediment. – If a voter does not produce a valid and current photograph identification because the voter suffers from a reasonable impediment that prevents the voter from obtaining photograph identification,
the voter may complete an affidavit under the penalty of perjury at the voting place and affirm that the voter: (i) is the same individual who personally appears at the voting place; (ii) will cast the provisional ballot while voting in person; and (iii) suffers from a reasonable impediment that prevents the voter from presenting photograph identification. The voter also shall complete a reasonable impediment declaration form provided in subsection (d1) of this section, unless otherwise prohibited by state or federal law. Upon completion of the affidavit, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.
(3) Natural Disaster. – If a voter does not produce an acceptable form of photograph identification due to being a victim of a natural disaster occurring within 100 days before election day that resulted in a disaster declaration by the President of the United States and the Governor of this State, the voter may complete an affidavit under penalty of perjury at the voting place and affirm that the voter: (i) is the same individual who personally appears at the voting place; (ii) will cast the provisional ballot while voting in person; and (iii) was a victim of a natural disaster occurring within 100 days before election day that resulted in a disaster declaration by the President of the United States and the Governor of this State. Upon completion of the affidavit, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.
(d1) Reasonable Impediment Declaration Form. – The State Board shall adopt a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form that, at a minimum, includes the following as separate boxes that a voter may check to identify the voter’s reasonable impediment:
(1) Inability to obtain photo identification due to:
- Lack of transportation.
- Disability or illness.
- Lack of birth certificate or other underlying documents required.
- Work schedule.
- Family responsibilities.
(2) Lost or stolen photo identification
(3) Photo identification applied for but not yet received by the voter voting in person.
(4) Other reasonable impediment. If the voter checks the “other reasonable impediment” box, a further brief written identification of the reasonable impediment shall be required, including the option to indicate that State or federal law prohibits listing the impediment.
(e) County Board Review of Exceptions. – If the county board of elections determines that the voter voted a provisional ballot only due to the inability to provide proof of identification and the required affidavit required in subsection (d) of this section is submitted, the county board of elections shall find that the provisional ballot is valid unless the county board has grounds to believe the affidavit is false.
(f) Purpose. The purpose of the identification required is to confirm the person presenting to vote is the voter on the voter registration records. Any address listed on the identification is not determinative of a voter’s residence for the purpose of voting. A voter’s residence for the purpose of voting is determined pursuant to G.S. 163A-842.
SECTION 1.2(b) Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
“§ 163A-1145.2. Approval of Student Identification Cards for Voting Identification.
(a) The State Board shall approve the use of student identification cards issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3) for voting identification under G.S. 163A-1145.1 if the following criteria are met:
(1) The chancellor, president, or registrar of the university or college submits a signed letter to the Executive Director of the State Board under penalty of perjury that the following are true:
- The identification cards that are issued by the university or college contain photographs of students taken by the university or college or its agents or contractors.
- The identification cards are issued after an enrollment process that includes methods of confirming the identity of the student that include, but are not limited to, the social security number, citizenship status, and birthdate of the student.
- The equipment for producing the identification cards is kept in a secure location.
- Misuse of the equipment for producing the identification cards would be grounds for student discipline or termination of an employee.
- University or college officials would report any misuse of student identification card equipment to law enforcement if G.S. 163A-1389(19) was potentially violated.
- The cards issued by the university or college contain a date of expiration, effective January 1, 2021.
- The university or college provides copies of standard identification cards to the State Board to assist with training purposes.
(2) The university or college complies with any other reasonable security measures determined by the State Board to be necessary for the protection and security of the student identification process.
(b) The State Board shall approve the use of student identification cards issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3) every four years.
(c) The State Board shall produce a list of participating universities and colleges every four years. The list shall be published on the State Board’s Web site and distributed to every county board of elections.”
SECTION 1.2(c) Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
“§ 163A-1145.3. Approval of Employee Identification Cards for Voting Identification.
(a) The State Board shall approve the use of employee identification card issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, for voting identification under G.S. 163A-1145.1 if the following criteria are met:
(1) The head elected official or lead human resources employee of the state or local government entity or charter school submits a signed letter to the Executive Director of the State Board under penalty of perjury that the following are true:
- The identification cards that are issued by the state or local government entity contain photographs of the employees taken by the employing entity or its agents or contractors.
- The identification cards are issued after an employment application process that includes methods of confirming the identity of the employee that include, but are not limited to, the social security number, citizenship status, and birthdate of the employee.
- The equipment for producing the identification cards is kept in a secure location.
- Misuse of the equipment for producing the identification cards would be grounds for termination of an employee.
- State or local officials would report any misuse of identification card equipment to law enforcement if G.S. 163A-1389(19) was potentially violated.
- The cards issued by the state or local government entity contain a date of expiration, effective January 1, 2021.
- The state or local government entity provides copies of standard identification cards to the State Board to assist with training purposes.
(2) The state or local government entity complies with any other reasonable security measures determined by the State Board to be necessary for the protection and security of the employee identification process.
(b) The State Board shall approve the use of employee identification cards issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, every four years.
(c) The State Board shall produce a list of participating employing entities every four years. The list shall be published on the State Board’s Web site and distributed to every county board of elections.
SECTION 1.2(d) Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-1145.1, 163A-1145.2, and 163A-1145.3, the State Board shall approve (i) tribal enrollment cards issued by a tribe recognized by this State under Chapter 71A of the General Statutes; (ii) student identification cards issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3); and (iii) employee identification cards issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, for use as voting identification under G.S. 163A-1145.1 no later than March 15, 2019, for use in primaries and elections held in 2019 and 2020, and again no later than May 15, 2021, for elections held on or after that date. The State Board shall adopt temporary rules on reasonable security measures for use of student or employee identification cards for voting identification in G.S. 163A-1145.2 and G.S. 163A-1145.3 no later than February 1, 2019. The State Board shall adopt permanent rules on reasonable security measures for use of student or employee identification cards for voting identification in G.S. 163A-1145.2 and G.S. 163A-1145.3 no later than May 15, 2021. The State Board shall produce the initial list of participating institutions and employing entities no later than April 1, 2019.
SECTION 1.2(e) Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-1145.1, 163A-1145.2, and 163A-1145.3, a student identification card issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3) or an employee identification card issued by state or local government entity that does not contain an expiration date shall be eligible for use in any election held before January 1, 2021. 9
SECTION 1.2(f) Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-1145.1(d)(2), for elections held in 2019, any voter who does not present a photograph identification listed as acceptable in G.S. 163A-1145.1(a) when presenting to vote in person shall be allowed to complete a reasonable impediment affidavit and cast a provisional ballot, listing as the impediment not being aware of the requirement to present photograph identification when voting in person or failing to bring photograph identification to the voting place.
*** Language and sections highlighted in bold are the revisions to the original draft proposed by lawmakers just prior to the start of the special lame-duck session of the NC General Assembly.
[Source: The draft bill (S.824) – https://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/Senate/PDF/S824v2.pdf
The changes made to the original draft Voter ID bill (v. 09) which gave rise to S.824 are listed in more plain terms below:
(a) SECTION 1.1(a) adds a new section to § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards – requiring county boards of election to maintain a secure database containing the photographs of registered voters taken for the purpose of issuing voter photo identification cards.
(b) SECTION 1.2(a) broadens the section in § 163A-1145.1: Requirement for Photo Identification to Vote in Person which lists Student ID cards as an acceptable form of photo identification. In the prior version of the bill, the only acceptable student ID cards were those issued by any of the 17 schools belonging to the UNC University system.
(c) SECTION 1.1(b) adds a new section to § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards – adding Employment Identification cards as an acceptable form of photo identification.
(d) SECTION 1.1(b) adds additional language to the section (“Exceptions – Reasonable Impediment”) in § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards. It further includes Section (dl) which requires that a voter claiming a Reasonable Impediment to fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration Form.
(e) SECTION 1.1(b) adds a new subsection to § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards – to section “Exceptions.” The new exception is “Natural Disaster.”
(f) All the sections after that – Sections 1.2 (c) – 1.2 (f) – are newly-added; that is, they are new to S.824.
E. The Opinion of the Supreme Court, Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections (2008) – upholding the constitutionality of a strict photo ID type voter ID law
In 2005, Indiana passed a strict Voter ID law. It was the most restrictive voter law at the time. The Indiana statute required citizens voting in person on election day, or casting a ballot in person at the office of the circuit court clerk prior to election day, to present photo identification issued by the government.
Under the law, voters MUST have a specific form of ID in order to vote. The ID must be issued by the state of Indiana or the U.S. government and must show the following:
- Name of individual to whom it was issued, which must conform to the individual’s registration record
- Photo of the person to whom it was issued
- Expiration date (if it is expired, it must have an expiration date after the most recent general election; military IDs are exempted from the requirement that ID bear an expiration date)
Voters in Indiana who are unable to or decline to produce such an identification may vote a provisional ballot. The ballot is counted only if: (1) the voter returns to the election board by noon on the Monday after the election and: (A) produces proof of identification; or (B) executes an affidavit stating that the voter cannot obtain proof of identification, because the voter: (i) is indigent; or (ii) has a religious objection to being photographed; and (2) the voter has not been challenged or required to vote a provisional ballot for any other reason. [Indiana statute §3-5-2-40.5, 3-10-1-7.2 and 3-11-8-25.1]
The strict photo identification requirement was challenged as being an unreasonable burden on the right to vote and that challenge made its way to the Supreme Court in 2008. [Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, (2008)]. Civil rights groups (including ACORN), the Women’s League of Voters, and other groups filed amici briefs challenging the constitutionality of the ID requirement. After concluding that no voter would conceivably be precluded from voting under the law, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the photo ID requirement, finding it closely related to Indiana’s legitimate state interest in preventing voter fraud, modernizing elections, and safeguarding voter confidence.
Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the majority opinion, stated that the burdens placed on voters are limited to a small percentage of the population and were offset by the state’s interest in reducing fraud. He opined: “Because Indiana’s cards are free, the inconvenience of going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gathering required documents, and posing for a photograph does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting. The severity of the somewhat heavier burden that may be placed on a limited number of persons—e.g., elderly persons born out-of-state, who may have difficulty obtaining a birth certificate—is mitigated by the fact that eligible voters without photo identification may cast provisional ballots that will be counted if they execute the required affidavit at the circuit court clerk’s office. Even assuming that the burden may not be justified as to a few voters, that conclusion is by no means sufficient to establish petitioners’ right to the relief they seek.”
“In sum, on the basis of the record that has been made in this litigation, we cannot conclude that the statute imposes “excessively burdensome requirements” on any class of voters. A facial challenge must fail where the statute has a ‘plainly legitimate sweep.’ When we consider only the statute’s broad application to all Indiana voters we conclude that it imposes only a limited burden on voters’ rights. The precise interests advanced by the State are therefore sufficient to defeat petitioners’ facial challenge.
Finally we note that petitioners have not demonstrated that the proper remedy – even assuming an unjustified burden on some voters – would be to invalidate the entire statute. When evaluating a neutral, nondiscriminatory regulation of voting procedure, we must keep in mind that a ruling of unconstitutionality frustrates the intent of the elected representatives of the people.”
Justice Scalia wrote separately in a concurring opinion: “The law should be upheld because the overall burden is minimal and justified.” He went on to state that the Supreme Court should defer to state and local legislators and that the Supreme Court should not get involved in local election law cases, which would do nothing but encourage more litigation. “It is for state legislatures to weigh the costs and benefits of possible changes to their election codes, and their judgment must prevail unless it imposes a severe and unjustified overall burden upon the right to vote, or is intended to disadvantage a particular class,” he wrote.
Finally, he concluded: “The universally applicable requirements of Indiana’s voter-identification law are eminently reasonable. The burden of acquiring, possessing, and showing a free photo identification is simply not severe, because it does not “even represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting.” And the State’s interests are sufficient to sustain that minimal burden. That should end the matter.”
In addition to the challenge that the strict ID requirement was an unreasonable burden on the right to vote, civil rights groups alleged that the requirement benefitted Republicans and harmed Democrats at the ballot box (because Democrats include more poor people and minorities). Justice Stevens, joined by Justices Scalia and Kennedy, disregarded that argument and wrote: “The justifications for the law should not be disregarded simply because partisan interests may have provided one motivation for the votes of individual legislators.”
What exactly does the Indiana Voter ID law require of each voter when he or she shows up to vote? This is important because according to the Supreme Court, the ID requirement is NOT an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote. The Supreme Court did not say it was not an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote for a WHITE person. The Court held that the limitation was not an unreasonable limitation on any person’s right to vote.
F. The Opinion of the 4th Circuit, North Carolina NAACP v. Pat McCrory (2016) – striking down the 2013 NC Voter ID Law
Reverend Spearman points to the opinion of the leftist 4th Circuit as proof that North Carolina’s 2013 Voter ID law was intentionally racist and racially-motivated, that the NC General Assembly is a racist government body, and that any law enacted in North Carolina to regulate voting (particularly to address potential fraud and integrity concerns) is nothing more than an intentional scheme to continue the historical repression of black votes. He points to the language of the opinion, which just happens to sing his favorite tune. The language also happens to be horribly offensive and I submit, legally dishonest.
But first let’s look at the judicial history: The day the NC Voter ID law was passed (SL 2013-381).
On August 12, 2013, the NC General Assembly, with the signature of Governor Pat McCrory, enacted the first NC Voter ID law [Carolina Session Law 2013-381, or “SL 2013-381”], which made a number of changes to North Carolina’s voting laws. All the changes were to take effect immediately except for the voter photo ID requirement, which would not be effective until January 1, 2016. That same day, the NC NAACP joined several groups in suing to overturn several provisions – provisions they alleged as being racially motivated: the photo-ID requirement, elimination of same-day registration (“SDR”), elimination of the first week of early voting (shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days), elimination of one of the two “souls-to-the-polls” Sunday voting days (which allow churches to provide transportation to voters), prohibition on counting out-of-precinct (“OOP”) provisional ballots, elimination of mandatory pre-registration of sixteen-year-olds (when they attend mandatory high school driver’s education or go to the DMV to obtain a drivers license), and expansion of poll observers and ballot challenges.
Trial was set for July 13, 2015. On June 18, 2015, the NC General Assembly passed House Bill 836, and on June 22, 2015, the Governor signed it into law as North Carolina Session Law 2015-103 (“SL 2015-103”). The law relaxed the photo-ID requirement created by SL 2013-381 by providing an additional exception that permits individuals to vote without a photo ID so long as they sign a “reasonable impediment” affidavit. Beginning July 13, 2015, the district court held a trial on the merits of all claims except those challenging the merits of the photo-ID provision, but then the NC NAACP and other plaintiffs sought to also ask the court for an injunction preventing the implementation of the “watered-down” photo ID requirement (as amended, or “watered down” by the “reasonable impediment” provision). In all, the NC NAACP sought a preliminary injunction against the challenged changes to existing voting laws and a preliminary injunction only as to the “soft roll-out” of the photo ID requirement.” The district court denied the injunctions, concluding that the plaintiffs did not make a strong enough showing that they would succeed on the merits of their case. The court held that the NC General Assembly did not act with discriminatory intent in enacting its Voter ID omnibus bill and deferred to its wisdom and intent in drafting and passing the law.
The case was then appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the opinion of the District Court. The opinion was written by Judge Motz.
The 4th Circuit 3-judge panel noted that all of the voting tools restricted or eliminated by the bill were ones that African-Americans disproportionately used. Furthermore, according to the court, the photo ID requirement imposed a hardship on African-American as they disproportionately lacked them. [Note again that the legislature had amended the bill, in 2015 (version SL 2013-103) before its trial date to include other forms of identification that African-Americans would likely possess, as well as to include a provision providing that if a person could not produce a photo ID, a one free of charge would be provided by the county, but the 4th Circuit ignored that]. Essentially, the 4th Circuit concluded that the NC state legislature acted with discriminatory intent in enacting the 2013 Voter ID bill because it restricted voting mechanisms and procedures that most heavily affect blacks.
The opinion began:
“During the period in which North Carolina jurisdictions were covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (preclearance of any voting laws with the US Justice Department), African-American electoral participation dramatically improved. In particular, between 2000 and 2012, when the law provided for the voting mechanisms at issue here (ie, early voting, Sunday voting, same-day voting, provisional voting) and did not require photo ID, African-American voter registration swelled by 51.1% – as compared to an increase of only 15.8% for white voters. African-American turnout similarly surged, from 41.9% in 2000 to 71.5% in 2008 and 68.5% in 2012.”
[The 4th Circuit incorrectly credited North Carolina’s very relaxed voting laws with the African-American voter turn-out when the truth is that the turn out was exceptionally high, in relation to white voter turn-out,] because for the first time in our country’s history, an African-American was running for president. The African-American community couldn’t be more energized!]
The opinion continued:
“After years of preclearance and expansion of voting access, by 2013 African-American registration and turnout rates had finally reached near-parity with white registration and turnout rates. African-Americans were poised to act as a major electoral force.”
The judges concluded that the sole purpose of the Voter ID law was to prevent that from happening.
In late June 2013, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that held enormous implications for North Carolina. In it, the Court invalidated Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act, which provided the preclearance coverage formula to be used by the federal government when assessing a change to a state voting law under Section 5. The government reviews changes to state voting laws under the Voting Rights Act one of two ways: either in an administrative review by the Attorney General, or in court, in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court in Shelby found that Section 4 was unconstitutional as an undue burden on the States’ inherent sovereign powers under the Tenth Amendment because it continued to rely on greatly outdated data which had no place in our current times. finding it based on outdated data. [The Shelby v. Holder case was addressed in detail earlier). Consequently, as of that date (late June 2013), North Carolina no longer needed to preclear changes to its election laws. It was no longer under the historic presumption that any changes to election laws would be an intentional scheme to disenfranchise African-American voters. North Carolina was free from the taint of its discriminatory past.
Up until that decision, the NC legislature had been working on a Voter ID bill. Voters were getting very impatient, but the legislators assured their constituents that a good, legally-sound bill would take time; it needed to be reviewed and re-reviewed by lawyers in order to make sure it would be “challenge-proof. When the Shelby decision came out, the legislature decided to enlarge the Voter ID bill into an omnibus bill, seeking several changes to what was without a doubt, an extensive early voting period. That bill would become Session Law (“SL”) 2013-381, which we all knew as the 2013 NC Voter ID bill.
Noting that the Shelby opinion came out just as blacks had become energized to vote and as the NC legislature was putting its Voter ID in final form, the 4th Circuit concluded that is when the so-called “racist” republicans (the court’s view) hatched their diabolical discriminatory scheme to disenfranchise black voters.
The opinion read:
“But, on the day after the Supreme Court issued Shelby County v. Holder, eliminating preclearance obligations, a leader of the party that newly dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an “omnibus” election law. Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices used in North Carolina. Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.”
The court continued: “In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications.” I bring this particular statement up because of several reasons:
(1) The justifications were sufficient for the district court. As a court is supposed to do, it defers judgement and wisdom to the legislative branch when reviewing a law, being careful not to substitute its judgement.
(2) The court mocked the “justifications” offered by the NC legislature, namely voter fraud and potential for voter fraud, claiming the law was passed to “impose cures for problems that did not exist.”
(3) Evidence of voter fraud was not allowed at the trial court (the District Court). I asked Jay Delancy of the Voter Integrity Project, the most reputable group addressing NC voter fraud, the group which has investigated and uncovered verified cases of actual voter fraud, voter fraud schemes, evidence of possible organized criminality in voter and election fraud, and serious potential opportunities for fraud, if he had been asked to give testimony, he told me that he was not allowed to. It is important to note that the Circuit Courts are appeals courts and so it does not hear any testimony. It just reviews the record sent up from the District Court. If the District Court has no evidence (or allowed no evidence) of voter or election fraud, then the Circuit Court cannot assess the credibility of the issue and hence its justification for the Voter ID omnibus bill.
(4) Consequently, the court lacks the foundation and knowledge to state that “the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation….. which is intentional discrimination.”
“The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision…. And this bears the mark of intentional discrimination,” wrote the court.
In reaching its conclusion that the NC General Assembly “enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent,” the 4th Circuit pointed to what it called a “smoking gun.” As mentioned earlier, prior to the enactment of SL 2013-381, the legislature requested and received data as to the racial breakdown of usage of each of the early voting tools and practices that it was seeking to amend. The data was requested and collected in order to help enlighten and guide the General Assembly in its task to amend the state’s voting laws. The goal, as it had always been, was to address actual and potential voter fraud (and election fraud), and to remove and minimize such opportunities. The district court concluded as such but the 4th Circuit could only think in terms of race.
That “smoking gun,” by the way, had nothing to do with any requirement to show a photo ID to vote since that provision was a brand new provision and had not yet been in effect for any election; hence, it could not be evaluated. The “photo ID” requirement was actually a voter initiative. Voters were demanding it of their candidates and then when elected, of their representatives. Since only conservatives believe in voter integrity, it made sense that it became a priority when Republicans finally took control of the state government.
The 4th Circuit looked at the data the legislature collected and the changes it made to the state’s voting laws and concluded that according to the data, every change made was one that disproportionately affected African-Americans. Each of the voting tools and practices eliminated or restricted were ones that African-Americans disproportionately took advantage of. They apparently take advantage of the first 7 days of early voting, their churches use the souls-to-the-polls Sundays, they take advantage of same-day voting and same-day registration, they, for some reason, are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the out-of-precinct voting (“of those registered voters who happened to vote provisional ballots outside their resident precinct, a disproportionately high percentage were African American”), and apparently, they disproportionately benefit from pre-registration (I don’t know how there can be any racial preference here at all). As the opinion read:
“In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications. Although the new provisions target African-Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist. Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation. ‘In essence,’ as in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006), ‘the State took away minority voters’ opportunity because they were about to exercise it.’ This bears the mark of intentional discrimination. Faced with this record, we can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”
Furthermore, it read: “The record makes obvious that the ‘problem’ the majority in the General Assembly sought to remedy was emerging support for the minority party. Identifying and restricting the ways African-Americans vote was an easy and effective way to do so. We therefore must conclude that race constituted a but-for cause of SL 2013-381, in violation of the Constitutional and statutory prohibitions on intentional discrimination.”
What I don’t understand is how the court concluded that a photo ID constituted intentional discrimination against African-Americans when many states already require photo ID’s to vote, including strict photo ID laws, and the law itself provides one free of charge to anyone who doesn’t have one or cannot afford one. Furthermore, the Supreme Court held in Crawford v. Marion County (2008) that a strict photo ID requirement to vote, to prove the identity of the person seeking to cast a vote, does not constitute an undue burden at all on anyone in their exercise of the right to vote. It addressed a challenge to Indiana’s strict photo ID law and upheld it. (North Carolina’s Voter ID law was modeled after it). There are black people in Indiana, there are poor black people in Indiana, there are elderly people there, and there are poor elderly there; yet the Supreme Court, after reviewing all the evidence and testimony given at the district court level, still concluded that requiring a photo ID as a condition to vote in person is not discriminatory and does not impose an undue burden.
The court, in its analysis, I believe, committed several serious errors. First, it converted a privilege (a long early voting period, two Sunday voting days, same-day registration, etc) into an entitlement. Instead of looking into whether the changes would absolutely prevent any voter who really wished to vote from doing so, the court should have looked into whether blacks would likely be able to conform with the stream-lining of the voting laws. What are voters actually entitled to when it comes to early voting and opportunities to register? And what are African-Americans specifically entitled to, above and beyond what are offered to persons of other races?
Up until the end of 1990’s, voters in North Carolina were only “entitled to” one day to vote – Election Day, a Tuesday. If a voter couldn’t vote at that time, he or she could either submit an absentee ballot or forfeit the opportunity. At what point must we submit to making election increasingly more convenient, especially when apparently, only one group of voters benefits? Remember, there are significant costs associated with early voting.
Second, despite the Supreme Court’s holding in Shelby that the DOJ and courts should no longer rely on or consider historical discrimination, the 4th Circuit did exactly that. In its opinion, it continually reminded the reader of North Carolina’s “shameful” history of “past discrimination.” In its introduction, the opinion noted: “Unquestionably, North Carolina has a long history of race discrimination generally and race-based vote suppression in particular. Although we recognize its limited weight, see Shelby, North Carolina’s pre-1965 history of pernicious discrimination informs our inquiry. It was in the South that slavery was upheld by law until uprooted by the Civil War, that the reign of Jim Crow denied blacks the most basic freedoms, and that state and local governments worked tirelessly to disenfranchise citizens on the basis of race.”
Third, in forming it’s opinion, the 4th Circuit did something that a court is never supposed to do (under the Separation of Powers doctrine) and that was to substitute its judgment for that of the legislature. To the court, the justifications in enacting the law may not have seemed good enough. Maybe the court felt that the excessive voting tools and voting mechanisms to benefit predominantly black voters were more important than addressing voter fraud, election fraud, ensuring voter confidence in NC elections, costs, etc. But that is exactly what a court must not do – substitute its judgement for that of the legislative body responsible to its particular constituency, its taxpayers. Here are some justifications that the 4th Circuit should have considered rather than dismiss:
(a) Early voting imposes a tremendous cost. It is a rightful exercise of the legislative body to try to keep state costs at a minimum.
(b) Maybe the General Assembly asked for the data, broken down by race, etc, in order to streamline early voting and to streamline the voting laws in such a way that when extra days, extra procedures benefit only one race instead of everyone, then that would seem a common sense way to look at making changes.
(c) Maybe the General Assembly had access to information related to voter fraud in the state, when it is committed, by which group of people, etc and the changes made to the voting laws were intended to minimize the potential for voter fraud and election fraud. What I do know is that certain of the voting tools and procedures originally permitted in North Carolina have been great sources of problems. Pre-registration, same-day registration, same-day voting pose great potential for abuse and voter fraud. And what I also know is that decent people of good intentions have watched for years as the democrat-controlled State Board of Election did absolutely nothing when faced with hard evidence of actual voter fraud. It refused to prosecute any of the criminals.
(d) Perhaps the streamlining of voter laws, its voting mechanisms and voting tools, was strictly political rather than racial. Since one cannot separate race from political party in North Carolina (blacks make up 22% of North Carolina’s electorate, and 83% identify with the Democrat Party), so every law affecting a political party in general also affects blacks particularly. In fact, having black skin is a better predictor for voting Democratic than party registration here in North Carolina. Maybe the General Assembly, with Republicans in the majority and wanting to continue enjoying political power, thought that it made sense to amend the voting laws by eliminating or paring back those tools and mechanisms that Democrats particularly take advantage of. The justification would be political (as political parties are prone to do) rather than racial. Here is something else to consider:
(e) Perhaps the General Assembly had some data and facts and figures to support their photo ID requirement, such as:
(i) Black voter turnout was higher than white voter turnout in 2012, including in states that had implemented voter ID laws. (This is according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and even the leftist PolitiFact)
(ii) A recent study of the 2010 and 2012 primaries and general elections shows that voter ID laws did not disproportionately decrease minority turnout. (In fact, the study showed that turnout declined for people of all races from 43 to 31 percent, as ID requirements became stricter). Contrary to what the left claims, photo ID requirements don not discriminate disproportionately according to race.
(iii) Despite what the left argues and the mainstream media reports, voter fraud does exist. In 2012, the Pew Research Center found the following:
- There were almost “24 million active voter registrations in the US which were either invalid or inaccurate
- There were almost two million dead Americans were still on the active voting lists.
- 12 million voter records were riddled with “incorrect addresses or other errors.”
- Almost 2.75 million voters were registered in over one state.
- 6.4% of all noncitizens voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election, and 2.2% voted in the 2010 midterms. (80% of illegals vote Democratic)
(iv) In a close election, voter fraud could play a significant role. There is evidence that Al Franken, in fact, won his election due to voter fraud, with illegals playing a part.
(v) Polls show that the vast majority of Americans support voter ID laws, including Democrats and blacks. Poll after poll confirms this, including the Rasmussen Poll, the FOX News Poll, and the Washington Post Poll.
Again, a court’s role is simple and must never presume to impart a different intention to, or to substitute its judgement for that of the legislative body. That is why, under the Separation of Powers doctrine, each branch of government has its own separate role.
III. THE ANALYSIS
So let’s look at the NC Photo-Voter ID Bill and assess it in light of the requirements of the 15th and 14th Amendments, as guided by the Supreme Court’s opinions in Shelby v. Holder and Crawford v. Marion County.
First of all, recall that the 14th and 15th Amendments, together with the 13th, are the Reconstruction amendments abolishing slavery and then granting blacks rights of citizenship (constitutional and civil. The amendments were intended to serve a specific purpose, necessitated by the political situation created by an unconstitutional war and in part, motivated by a desire to punish the southern states for seceding.
All three amendments, for the particular purposes they served, were morally justified – the 13th to abolish the vile and unconscionable institution of slavery, the 14th to grant citizenship to the free blacks and newly-freed slaves (and in fact, to define citizenship since nowhere in the Constitution is it defined), to ensure they were recognized with the same rights as every other citizen, to make sure they would not be denied due process should their liberty rights or property rights be violated, and to make sure they would be assured equal protection under the law, and the 15th to make sure that blacks would not be denied the right to vote.
The 15th Amendment was indeed striking in what it accomplished. On March 30, 1870, the amendment immediately made voters out of 4,000,000 people who had only 13 years earlier, been declared by the highest tribunal in the land (the Supreme Court, in the 1857 Dred Scott decision), as not being capable of becoming citizens of the United States because the black man who never intended to be part of the country so created, that “black men had no rights which the white man was bound to respect” (conclusions articulated by Justice Roger Taney, who wrote the opinion in Dred Scott). But let’s not read anything more into the language or intent of the 15th Amendment than was intended.
The 15th Amendment simply states that the right to vote cannot be denied or abridged to a person on account of race (ie, blacks cannot be denied the right to vote). We know what the word “denied” means and we know what the word “abridged” means (to curtail). The NC Photo-Voter ID Bill does nothing to deny or abridge the right. It puts reasonable procedures in place to guarantee the right to vote for everyone Every instance of voter fraud cancels someone’s rightful vote. Obtaining an identification with a photograph is not unduly burdensome and is, in fact, is something that 99.99% of the people already do once they come of age and what they need to carry out many of life’s functions – such as get medication, pick up a check, cash a check, use a check or credit card, enter a school building, enter a courthouse, fly, etc. The Supreme Court has already ruled (in 2008, in the case of Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections) that a voter ID law requiring persons who show up at the polls to vote to present a government-issued form of photo identification (strict photo ID requirement) presents no meaningful burden to a person’s right to vote. It’s 2018, for crying out loud !!!
The second section of the 15th Amendment which provides that “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation,” does NOT imply that the Voter Rights Act is a permanent law to be used on the South. That section simply means that when states or political subdivisions thereof employ verifiable schemes of black voter suppression or actual disenfranchisement of the black vote, the federal government has the authority to step in to correct the situation in order to give meaning to the guarantee in Section 1. The Supreme Court, in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) made the constitutional determination that the Voting Rights Act has outlived its usefulness against the south because those invidious schemes no longer exist.
To repeat, Shelby removes North Carolina from the preclearance requirement with the federal government (NC can now do its own thing !) and Crawford stands for the constitutional bright-line rule that a strict photo ID is not inherently racist or discriminatory and does not pose any meaningful burden on a person’s right or ability to vote.
Furthermore, according to the Supreme Court, all rights can be abridged. We already know the first amendment rights to speech and religion, the rights to be free from searches, and the right to obtain and possess guns are already abridged.
The 14th Amendment provides that all laws should be equally applied to everyone (“Equal Protection;” everyone is protected or served equally by our laws). The 14th Amendment requires “equal” protection and not “special” protection. The NC Photo-Voter ID Bill is neutral on its face and is written to ensure that every single voter can meet its requirements, including the poor and the elderly. A photo ID will be provided, free of charge, to anyone who cannot afford one and it will be provided at all county board of elections (which is more convenient than waiting in line at DMV locations). Everyone knows someone that drives. To make any argument that certain people are too poor or too isolated to be able to find someone to give them a ride would be to assume we never modernized or entered the industrial era. A country, and a court system, so intent on moving forward with such sweeping social change like same-sex marriage and transgender acceptance can’t at the same time, assume people can’t get access to a car or a phone or a computer or a DMV or other county office.
Just because changing a law makes it easier or more convenient for only one group to vote doesn’t mean that the 15th or 14th Amendment requires that change. Heck, extending the election season for a whole month and including 4 “souls-to-the-polls” Sundays would be really convenient, right? Taking votes over the phone would be convenient, yes? Allowing one family member to vote for everyone in the family, and extended family, would be perfect, for sure! Just because the legislative body or the voting public doesn’t want to make the changes (and sacrifice voter integrity) doesn’t mean the bill is racist or the voting public is racist, or the state legislature is racist. Groups like the North Carolina NAACP have to stop that nonsensical rhetoric.
NOTHING in the VOTER ID law of 2013 or in the current draft Photo-Voter ID law integrally impairs ANYONE’s right to vote. There is the single entitlement – the right to vote on Election Day (as was the law in NC up until the end of the 21st century (late 1990’s) and the right to submit an Absentee ballot if a person can’t make it to the polling location in person. All the other voting tools and mechanisms are privileges, or “indulgences” (as Justice Scalia termed them). The state interest (in honest, fraud-free elections that comports with the constitutional principle of “one citizen, one vote”) clearly outweighs any claims that a strict photo ID requirement may burden one group of voters. Again, the expectation is that EVERYONE’S vote is important, and the legislature has an obligation to protect the integrity of each person’s vote. Every instance of voter fraud, which we know has become a serious problem here in North Carolina, diminishes the weight of honest citizens. Every instance of voter fraud cancels the vote of someone who has voted legally.
Recently, I watched a YouTube video by journalist Ami Horowitz to examine just what people think of the NC photo ID law and the argument that blacks in North Carolina don’t all have a photo ID and that some simply can’t get one. It was rather enlightening. Ami went to the campus of UC-Berkeley to find out what college students think of voter ID laws and whether they believe they suppress the black vote. Their responses are classic liberal rhetoric. It is clear that white liberal college students have been indoctrinated by the rhetoric of Democrats and by such racist groups as the NAACP which alleges and alleges and repeats and repeats the same accusation – that voter ID laws are racist, they target blacks in their ability to vote, and that blacks are a particularly disadvantaged, incapable, uninformed, unskilled group of people.
Horowitz then took his “On the Street” segment to east Harlem, New York City to find out what black people there thought of the answers that the UC-Berkeley students gave. Their responses were clear – the answers given by the white UC-Berkeley students was offensive, and yes, racist. Each person questioned had a photo ID on them, they said to be without one would be irresponsible, and not a single one thought it would be impossible to get one. To them, it appeared that blacks in the South have been stereotyped, to the detriment of their race in general. They could not understand the notion that fellow blacks couldn’t get a photo ID, something that everyone in modern society must have.
The point I am clumsily making is that groups like the NC NAACP and other groups that pursue policy (including challenging common-sense Voter ID and Photo ID laws) by promoting the inability of blacks, by alleging that whites use government to scheme in order to disenfranchise blacks, and by claiming that blacks are still the target of intentional discrimination are indirectly perpetuating the old stereotype that blacks are victims, that blacks are a disadvantaged race, that they are somehow less capable than every other race to conform with neutral laws. How offensive is it to allow the same stereotypes to be perpetuated as the one cited by Justice Taney in the Dred Scott decision? That was 160 years ago. By constantly using arguments like blacks are too poor to be expected to get an ID, that they don’t have cars to drive to a DMV to get a free county-issued ID, that they are too uneducated to understand laws, that they can’t get to a computer (all libraries have them for people to use), that they don’t have cell phones (even though Obama gave every Democrat a phone), and that even if they could get to a computer, they lack the skills to use one or the ability to learn how to use one, they are teaching and indirectly recreating the segregated society that we left behind long ago, where there exists two general races – blacks who are generally inferior and unable to do for themselves and all others, who have no problem complying with laws.
We’ve worked too hard as a society – passing laws, enacting policies, federalizing traditional state sovereign functions, remedying past wrongs, whites teaching their children that skin color is irrelevant, and hopefully blacks teaching their children the same, and reinforcing in all school children, and in fact, every single person, of the plight of blacks in this country (Black History Month) – to put the wrongs of the past behind us and to move forward in a colorblind society, judging one another not by the color of our skin (which we can’t change) but by the content of our character (which is something each of us controls). It serves no purpose whatsoever to keep rehashing the past and reminding folks of how bad our country used to be. We can’t move forward until the restraints of the past are removed, or ignored. Black activist groups such as the NC NAACP certainly aren’t empowering blacks by poisoning them with the notion that they continue to need special protections in order to take an equal place in American society.
There is a reason the NC NAACP fights so hard to oppose a Voter ID. It truly can’t be that the NAACP and the Democratic Party believe that blacks are unable to obtain a photo ID (something every other race has no problem obtaining). No, the real reason is that the Democratic Party NEEDS the ability and opportunity to perpetrate fraud in the election process to order to win elections. It’s been that way since the illegal election of John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, as president, and even the election of Roy Cooper, a Democrat, as North Carolina’s governor. The NC NAACP and Democratic Party need elections in North Carolina to be loosely-controlled. NC is a potential swing state and because both groups stand on the same side of the political fence, they have more than a vested interest in how politics plays out.
The NC NAACP and Democratic Party in North Carolina continue to imply that blacks are disadvantaged in many many respects [poor, uneducated, uniformed, more likely to move around (you need a car for that!!), have more health problems, less access to technology, have less ability to comprehend laws, etc etc], are inferiorly-situated (because of the aforementioned issues), and inferior in general (by their claims of being less educated, less knowledgeable, generally un-informed and less capable) in order to make the case that a photo ID is inherently discriminatory. We see clearly which party is the real racist party. What I don’t understand is why blacks tolerate it. Their opposition to voting laws that take away excessive mechanisms and voting opportunities and tools, their support for Affirmative Action programs, and their constant demands for “special protection” rather than “equal protection” are all tacit ways they accept their inferior status in our society. Where is their dignity? Where are the black activist groups to stand up to oppose these positions on the grounds that they are racist and perpetuate horrible stereotypes?
Again, the real reason the NC NAACP and the Democratic Party fight so hard to oppose a strict photo voter ID law is because requiring a photo ID at the polls will frustrate their schemes to perpetrate voter fraud and blacks, as always, are the perfect group to manipulate and use to challenge common-sense laws. In 2018 (53 years after the Civil Rights Act passed and 63 years after the forced integration of public schools) we should NOT be having this conversation and blacks should NOT allow themselves to still be characterized as inferior or somehow behind all other races (including Hispanics). Let’s be clear — both parties can benefit from voter fraud, but only one party is dishonest enough to want to do so. And also, let’s be clear… Enforcing a strict Photo ID has been challenged as discriminatory and as an undue burden on blacks and on the very elderly. Again, the Supreme Court entertained that challenge in Crawford v. Marion County (2008), against Indiana’s strict photo ID Voter ID law. It held that a STRICT photo ID requirement to vote does NOT amount to an unnecessary burden on anyone’s right to vote. Both a liberal justice and a conservative justice wrote opinions to that effect (yes there were two majority opinions!). In North Carolina, the challenge to our Voter ID law back in 2015-2016 was that it was discriminatory against blacks. The challenge was not that it burdened the elderly or that it burdened all minorities. (the review by the 4th Circuit was that it was intentionally discriminatory against blacks). We have to stop falling for the NC NAACP and Democratic Party bullshit. We should all be horribly offended at Spearman’s words, just as a liberal college student is offended at hearing Ann Coulter or Ben Shapiro.
Reverend Spearman and the NC NAACP like to point to President Grant and his “clear signature” on the 15th Amendment and his message to Congress as to the historic nature of the amendment, but they cherry-pick with his message. In that special message to Congress delivered by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 30, 1870 in honoring the passage of the 15th Amendment, he offered this encouragement:
“I call attention of the newly enfranchised race to the importance of their striving in every honorable manner to make themselves worthy of their new privilege. To the race more favored heretofore by our laws I would say, withhold no legal privilege of advancement to the new citizen. The framers of our Constitution firmly believed that a republican government could not endure without intelligence and education generally diffused among the people. The Father of his Country, in his Farewell Address, uses this language: ‘Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.’”
Most people would hope that groups like the NC NAACP would put politics of race aside, stop inferring that the racism of the Reconstruction era still lingers in the hearts of white people and that every act of government is intentionally designed to somehow disenfranchise or otherwise discrimination against blacks, and instead take their cue from President Grant – to empower blacks not to cling to a history of victimhood but rather to project empowerment and equality through education and intelligence.
The NC NAACP Addresses the Voter ID Law, November 26, 2018 at the NC State Capital in Raleigh – https://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/video/18023119/
NAACP Outlines of Voter ID Protest – https://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/video/17996798/
Opinion, US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, North Carolina NAACP v. Pat McCrory, 2016 (upholding the 2013 NC Voter ID law) – http://www.ncmd.uscourts.gov/sites/ncmd/files/opinions/13cv658moo_0.pdf
Opinion, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, North Carolina NAACP v. Pat McCrory, 2016 (reversing the District Court opinion and striking down the 2013 NC Voter ID law) – http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/161468.P.pdf
Opinion, US Supreme Court, Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections, 553 U.S. 181 (2008) – Opinion by Justice Stevens – https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-21.ZO.html
Opinion by Justice Scalia – https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-21.ZC.html
VIDEO: Ami Horowitz “How White Liberals Really View Black Voters” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrBxZGWCdgs
Ulysses S. Grant’s Special Message to Congress, March 30, 1870 (after the passage of the 15th Amendment) – https://www.nps.gov/ulsg/learn/historyculture/grant-and-the-15th-amendment.htm
Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. __ (2013) – https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/12-96
Jay Delancy, “The Voter Fraud Too Many Deny,” US News & Observer, February 18, 2016. Referenced at: https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article61140462.html
Jay Delancy, “The Voter Integrity Project (VIP) Issues Response to Draft NC Voter ID Bill (v 0.9),” November 27, 2018. Referenced at: https://voterintegrityproject.com/draft-voter-id/ (or https://voterintegrityproject.com/draft-voter-id/?fbclid=IwAR1SAo_s5tVW-QV5oEFO9Frf5AAXU6FhgZz7Z4N3pSRWCitLXXVyxfhtKGM
Aaron Bandler, “5 Statistics That Show Voter ID is Not Racist,” Dailywire, August 2, 2016. Referenced at: https://www.dailywire.com/news/7992/5-statistics-show-voter-id-not-racist-aaron-bandler
NC’s draft Voter – Photo ID Law (S.824), “Implementation of the Constitutional Amendment Requiring a Photographic Identification to Vote” –
Voting Rights Act of 1965 – https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=100&page=transcript
Government Relations, Regulatory Affairs and Contracting Group, “Supreme Court Strikes down Voting Rights Act’s ‘Preclearance’ Formula,” Ballard Spahr, June 27, 2013. Referenced at: https://www.ballardspahr.com/alertspublications/legalalerts/2013-06-27-supreme-court-strikes-down-voting-rights-acts-preclearance-formula.aspx
Thomas J. Espenshade, Chang Y. Chung, and Joan L. Walling, (December 2004), “Admission Preferences for Minority Students, Athletes, and Legacies at Elite Universities,” Social Science Quarterly, December 2004. Referenced at: http://www.princeton.edu/~tje/files/Admission%20Preferences%20Espenshade%20Chung%20Walling%20Dec%202004.pdf [OR accessible from Wiley Online Library, 85 (5): 1422–46].