06.17.2011   
GOP lack of trust in voters, or shenanigans? 
 
By Pat Poston
 

An open letter to Cleveland County voters: I trust you. I don’t think you’re going to show up at the polls, give someone else’s name, and vote under false pretenses. You’d think it was wrong, in the first place. And you’re too smart to risk a felony charge for doing something so dumb.

 

Now mine is not just blind faith that you’ll do the right thing. I’ve looked at the odds. According to reports, in 2008 when around 4.3 million North Carolina people voted in the general election, a total of 43 potentially fraudulent voting cases were referred to district attorneys. In 2010, when around 2.7 million North Carolinians voted in the general election, the number of potential fraud cases referred was 21.

 

To the best of my knowledge, none of these 64 scalawags was a Cleveland Countian, and it’s hard to see how the outcome of any race could have been affected.

 

Nonetheless, the Republican majority in the N. C. General Assembly has come out in effect and said it doesn’t trust North Carolinians. These legislators darkly would have us believe there are hundreds--thousands, millions!--just waiting for a chance to cheat at the ballot box.

 

They’ve passed legislation (see news article) requring a voter to have photo identification in hand in order to cast a vote, and hang the hassle of trying to get it if you’re not a licensed driver. “I don’t think it’s too much to ask of our voters to…be able to prove who they are,” Sen. Debbie Clary (R-Cleveland) was quoted as saying.
 
(I can just see it now:: "You claim you're Pat Poston? Well, you'll have to prove that, lady!")

 

I don’t think it’s too much to ask our legislators to spend their time and our money working on things that are real problems--like jobs.

 

In combination with other moves afoot in the General Assembly (such as proposals to abolish straight-ticket voting and limit same-day registration and voting), it seems to me Republicans are just trying to impede voting by those they stereotype as not likely to be voting for them.