Target: North Caroline State Sen. Tom Apodaca
Goal: Condemn North Caroline State Sen. Tom Apodaca for rushing to pass restrictive voting laws
Since the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, several Republican-controlled states have rushed to pass new, restrictive voting laws ahead of the upcoming 2014 elections. North Carolina, which previously had 40 of its 100 counties covered by the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance requirements, is no exception. State Senator Tom Apodaca (R), chairman of the state Senate rules committee, complained that the preclearance requirements caused “legal headaches” in trying to change voting laws, and seems to see the Supreme Court ruling as an invitation to restrict voting rights.
One measure to be included in the Republican-proposed voting law changes is a new set of requirements for voter ID. Voter ID requirements are seen as discriminatory because they keep many voters who may not have access to ID facilities, including poor, elderly, and minority voters, from the polls. In fact, a study released recently revealed that up to 613,000 voters, or 9.25% of individuals registered to vote in North Carolina, do not have a state-issued photo ID.
The risk of disenfranchising so many people hasn’t stopped state Sen. Tom Apodaca from welcoming these restrictions, along with a whole host of others. Other proposals, including ending same-day voter registration and Sunday voting, also target groups of voters that lean Democratic. North Carolina Republicans are even pushing to end early voting despite the fact that 60% of North Carolina voters voted early in 2012. Tom Apodaca has said that the removal of pre-clearance requirements will allow him and his colleagues to “speed things along greatly”. Please sign the petition below to condemn North Carolina state Sen. Tom Apodaca for rushing to pass restrictive voting laws.
Dear North Carolina State Sen. Tom Apodaca,
Although many will view the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act decision as the end of this debate, the right for every eligible citizen to have equal access to the ballot box is still very much at issue in North Carolina and in the country as a whole. Unfortunately, the new voting restrictions proposed by you and your Republicans colleagues will have a negative impact on many of North Carolina’s voters. New voter ID requirements alone have the potential to disenfranchise almost 10% of registered voters in the state.
Voter fraud is often cited as justification for these discriminatory policies, but proposals such as ending early and Sunday voting clearly have nothing to do with any claims of voter fraud. It seems that this is instead a concerted effort to disenfranchise specific Democratic-leaning groups of voters. You have claimed that voting laws need to be brought into “this century, not the last century”. Keep in mind that many people have fought and died to ensure that in this century, every eligible citizen would have the right to vote. Please reconsider these voting restrictions that serve only to move us backwards, not forward.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brentin Mock via Color Lines