On Wednesday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory offered a surprising explanation for the voter suppression measure that he signed into law in August, which reduced the state’s early voting period by seven days.
According to McCrory, “we didn’t shorten early voting, we compacted the calendar.”
“Compacting the calendar,” however, conveniently makes it more difficult for minority voters – who tend to vote Democratic – to cast their ballots.
The new law not only reduces the early voting period from 17 to 10 days, but also requires voters to present government-issued photo IDs at the polls and eliminates same-day registration and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds who turn 18 on or before Election Day.
The measures prompted the Justice Department to file a lawsuit against North Carolina, charging that the law discriminates against minority voters. The lawsuit is backed up by several studies that show such measures do, in fact, disproportionately affect African-American, Latino, women, youth and low-income voters. A Brennan Center for Justice study released last month explains the many benefits of early voting periods, especially in North Carolina. An even more recent report from the Advancement Project finds that all of the new restrictions included in North Carolina’s law are especially hurtful to young black and Latino voters.
In October, Don Yelton, a Republican precinct chair from Buncombe County, North Carolina, even admitted that the law was intended to impact minority voters because they generally vote Democratic.
Contrary to what Yelton — who resigned shortly after making those comments — said, McCrory claims the law has nothing to do with politics.
Instead, he insists that shortening the early voting period by seven days – he originally wanted to shorten it by more – actually “does not shorten the hours for early voting,” because the state will offer the same number of aggregate early voting hours as it did in previous elections.
“So it’s going to be almost identical. It’s just the schedule has changed,” the Republican governor told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.
According to the Huffington Post, the board of elections director for Wayne County, North Carolina, Rosemary Blizzard, said that the early voting period is important because it provides more “time to control things” and it “helps to make sure that everyone who is entitled to a ballot gets a ballot.”
You can watch McCrory’s full interview below.
Video via MSNBC
Copyright 2013 The National Memo