by Michael Lowrey
Raleigh’s WRAL-TV offers up an excellent summary of the election law changes enacted by the General Assembly recently. Yes, the Left is all abuzz about this, though nothing the GOP-nominated legislature passed is unique.
What is happening is that election rules are becoming much like drawing district boundaries has always been. Political parties have long looked to gerrymandering as a means to obtain an advantage. The concept is now being extended to rules about voting: how people can register to vote, when early voting happens, etc. The payoff isn’t likely to be as as high as with redistricting but it’s certainly possible to gain an edge by how easy it is to get citizens that are rather ambivalent about participating in the political process to register and then vote.
Let’s be clear here, there are many different logical and legal (under federal law and the North Carolina Constitution) election rule regimes that can exist. Some election rule constructs favor certain parties or groups more than others. The Left likes to claim the Republicans are engaged in ‘voter suppression’ with the changes they passed. If the Left wants to use that phrase fine, but then weren’t Democrats not equally suppressing voting when they failed to extend voting hours to, say, 11:00pm on election day? Or by not having early voting begin six weeks before election day? Or even the day after second primary results became official?
To a degree, the issue is a reflection of how (politically) divided we are as a nation, with both the Left and Right each having their own subjective realities. And like redistricting, it would probably be best if we as a society could come up with a less politically-charged method to come up with voting rules than have politicians create them, as they will tend to do so maximize their own advantage.