An editorial from National Review takes aim at critics of North Carolina’s new voter identification requirement.

It is either the case that African Americans, young people, old people, and poor people labor under some onerous yet curiously undetectable burden that keeps them from obtaining free, government-issued photo IDs, or it is the case that Hillary Clinton, the NAACP, et al. are full of bunk when they claim that voter-ID laws such as the one just adopted in North Carolina amount to “disenfranchisement.”

The evidence strongly suggests the presence of ambient bunk levels approaching toxicity. In general, Americans are very handy when it comes to acquiring free things issued by the government, and none of the groups that Democrats list as targets for “disenfranchisement” has shown itself disproportionately unskillful in doing so. The oldsters manage to sign themselves up for Social Security and Medicare, and anybody who has observed the effect the word “free” has on a group of young people must look askance at suggestions that they cannot be expected to stand in line a bit for something they want. The truth of the situation was more accurately described by Representative G. K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat who in the course of denouncing the new voter-ID requirement told PBS: “Many people will not do that. They will choose not to vote.”

They will choose not to vote. That is rather a different thing from what transpired under the prefectship of Jim Crow. But even that milder formulation fails to honestly describe Democrats’ objections to the new election rules in North Carolina, which in addition to requiring photo identification reduce the number of early-voting days to ten and disallow the practice of same-day registration. The phrase essential to understanding Democratic objections to clean-election reforms is: “walking-around money.”

It is a time-honored practice in machine-run political jurisdictions — most prevalent in but not limited to Democrat-run cities — to task local political fixers (call them “community organizers”) with delivering the votes of a particular ward to a particular party. Doing so is vexatious and thirsty work, thus the payment of “walking-around money,” which is putatively for operational expenses but is used in effect to purchase votes. Go down to the local homeless shelter, day-labor corner, or wino encampment, pull up with vans, and distribute such benefits as may be motivational in exchange for the effort of the denizens therein to cast their ballots. In the 2000 presidential campaign, the practice was so aggressive that a Milwaukee homeless shelter had to chase away Gore operatives attempting to bribe their wards with cigarettes.

Long early-voting periods and same-day registration facilitate this process. Even the most able political machine can round up only so many people on Election Day, and those who are available for such rounding up often are not registered voters. Under the new rules, North Carolina will reduce the number of days for early voting from 17 to ten, which in our view is ten days too many, and there will be more early-voting locations, which will be open longer hours, resulting in no decrease in the total amount of time available for early voting. But even this non-reduction in early-voting hours is seen as aggression by the Democrats, even more so than the photo-ID rule.

But the photo-ID requirement is important, too, inasmuch as it is a worthwhile thing to be able to ensure that people showing up to vote are who they say they are.