North Carolina will be the next state to be sued by the federal Department of Justice over its voting law, which was signed by Governor Pat McCrory in August. The federal lawsuit accuses the state of racial discrimination, since minorities of North Carolina are less likely to have the proper forms of ID than white people of the state. We’re not the first state to be targeted by the Justice Department since the Shelby case took the teeth out of the mouth of the Voting Rights Act (Texas has also been sued), and we’re among several southern states that have passed voter ID laws that are aimed squarely at our right to vote.
This WRAL article provides a comprehensive list of the changes coming to your right to vote where you go to school and go to sleep most nights of the year. Some of the highlights are as follows: You need an ID to vote. It has to be a driver’s license, a passport, a military or veteran’s card, or a tribal enrollment card. Many students don’t have any of these IDs thanks to Duke’s and Durham’s public transportation networks. Student IDs are not considered valid voter IDs, even if that ID is issued by a state university. In other words, the state won’t recognize its own ID.
The law cuts early voting by a week–in the last several elections, Duke has had an early voting site on campus, but the Election Day site has been off campus. You can no longer register and vote on the same day at an early voting site like you could in past years. In addition, if you vote in the wrong precinct, your entire ballot is thrown out instead of just the local votes that are actually ineligible. All that means is we need to be a little bit more aware, since East Campus is not in the same precinct as West and Central Campuses are.
But it all must be worth it in order to prevent the epidemic of voter fraud that’s sweeping the nation at a rate of 10 cases of voter impersonation since 2000.