Thanks in no small part to massive spending by just one Republican donor, Republicans now control the entirety of North Carolina’s government for the first time in more than a century. They haven’t wasted any time consolidating their gains. As part of a sweeping conservative agenda that includes taxing the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich, writing lower wages into the state constitution, and making it easier for well-moneyed interest groups to buy judges, North Carolina Republicans are also pushing several bills to make it harder to vote.
As it turns out, the electorate is not happy with these plans to restrict the franchise:
–Only 25% of voters support a proposal to forbid parents from claiming college students registered to vote away from home as dependents on their state taxes, compared to 57% who are opposed. This is another one where the Republican legislators supporting the measure are out of touch with actual Republican voters- only 26% support it with 56% opposed, not that different from the numbers among Democrats which are 22% supportive and 61% opposed.
–Just 33% of voters support cutting the early voting period by a week, while 59% are opposed. Republicans do narrowly support this idea (51/42), but Democrats (22/70) and independents (28/62) are heavily opposed to it.
Restricting early voting, which was a major contributor to six hour lines in some parts of Florida last November, enjoys the backing of many Republicans because early voters are more likely to be low-income Americans or racial minorities — both of which are groups that favor Democrats. Similarly, the North Carolina bill that would impose a financial penalty on parents whose children vote in the town where they attend college is difficult to read as anything other than an effort to suppress the student vote — a group that also tends to vote for Democrats.