RALEIGH – As soon as the early voting period began, Democrats, their friends in the media, started to revive the narrative that Republicans’ changes to the early voting schedule – and a full day – are somehow racist plots to suppress the black vote.
Playing their part, NPR runs a piece focusing on just that, even roping county-level Republicans in to complain about state mandates.
“North Carolina voters are once again dealing with changes to how the state runs its elections. At a time when early voting is becoming increasingly popular nationwide, a new law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature will result in nearly 20 percent fewer places to cast votes before Election Day.
Democrats say the changes could disproportionately affect African-American voters, but some local Republican officials also complain about the changes, arguing they impose too much top-down control on election administration and amount to an unfunded mandate from the state.
The state’s 17-day early voting period, which starts Wednesday, is extremely popular. More than 60 percent of North Carolina voters cast an early ballot in the 2016 election, according to the state’s board of elections.
When the legislature debated the early voting law in June, Democratic state Rep. Amos Quick said the requirement that if one early voting site is open on the weekend, all the rest of a county’s sites also have to be open could discourage counties from holding any weekend hours.
“Weekend early voting has been preferred … by certain populations,” Quick said, referring to African-American voters. “Certain populations whose right to vote who has not only been highlighted but has been protected in recent court decisions.”