August 9, 2014
Is there anything easier than casting a ballot in an election?
In North Carolina, a valid ID is still not required for voting.
There is an early voting period that allows people to cast ballots in advance of the actual election day.
And in Robeson County, there is well-paid political machinery in the wings waiting to give a ride to those who can’t drive themselves to the polls — and follow instructions well.
Yet, if you listen to Democrats, you would think voting is as difficult as solving a Rubik’s Cube with a single hand while a 60-second stopwatch unwinds.
But Democrats are not alone in being disingenuous in this partisan conversation: Republicans absolutely want to make voting more difficult for demographic groups, mostly poor people and minorities, that overwhelming vote for Democrats. That is why the Republican-led General Assembly created a voter ID that takes effect during the presidential election of 2016, eliminated same-day registration and voting, and shortened the early voting period — new laws that were upheld on Friday by a federal judge.
This partisanship was evident recently as the three-member Robeson County Board of Elections determined what the early voting hours would be for the November General Election and where satellite sites would be opened.
The lone Democrat on the board, Tiffany Peguise Powers, lost a hard fight for Sunday voting hours and a satellite polling site in Red Springs. She may appeal her case to the state Board of Elections.
Republicans on the local board, Steve Stone and Daniel Locklear, wanted the satellite sites limited to Pembroke, St. Pauls and the main elections office in Lumberton, and also rejected a single day of Sunday voting during the early period. The board did approve 150 hours of early voting, easily exceeding the state requirement of at least 112.5 hours.
Powers wants the Red Springs site because there is an effective hauling machinery there that engaged in the final hours of the May primary to re-elect county Commissioner Noah Woods by a couple of votes. She also knows that predominantly minority churches stand ready to provide buses to haul members of their congregations if there is a Sunday of early voting.
Stone cited costs in defending his vote against Sunday voting and a satellite site in Red Springs, but the cost is minimal so that’s a deflection.
We doubt Powers’ appeal will find friendly ears at the state Board of Elections because it, like the local board, is controlled by Republicans. So what the local Elections Board agreed to on Friday night is likely to stand.
We have some advice for legally registered voters wanting to cast a ballot during November General Election. Just do it. The Republicans can’t stop you from voting. Only you can.