During an appearance at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C, a key center of power for the conservative movement, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory portrayed himself as a business-minded policy wonk, earnestly extolling the benefits of infrastructure development and government-efficiency measures. He might as well have been describing someone else.
For the last year, McCrory has engineered a hard-right shift in North Carolina that has crippled millions in his state. His 2012 election gave Republicans control of all three branches of the state’s government for the first time since Reconstruction and they took advantage of it. In 2013 alone, North Carolina has said no to expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, approved a tax plan that redistributes wealth from poor to rich, cut education by half a billion dollars, instituted perhaps the toughest voting restrictions in the country, weakened campaign-finance laws, and passed its own version of Texas’ controversial abortion measure.
When Rosanell Eaton was 21 years old and living in segregated North Carolina, she became one of the first African Americans in her county registered to vote, after successfully completing a literacy test that required her to recite the preamble to the Constitution. But now, at 92 years old, she faces new obstacles under the voter suppression law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) Monday. For one thing, she may not qualify for the voter ID card required under the new law, because the name on her birth certificate is different from the name on her driver’s license and voter registration card. Reconciling this difference will be a costly and time-consuming administrative endeavor. For another, she has participated in early voting since it was instituted in the state. Now, it’s been cut back a week.
She is one of several individuals who, along with civil rights groups, are already suing the state for what may be the most restrictive voting law in the nation. Other restrictive new provisions in the law include the elimination of same-day registration and early registration for high schoolers in advance of their 18th birthday, and prohibiting certain kinds of voter registration drives that tend to register low-income and minority voters.