North Carolina GOP boasts that its voter suppression efforts are working

Press release celebrates that African American early voting is down in the state.

An early voting location in Greensboro, NC. CREDIT: AP Photo/Skip Foreman
An early voting location in Greensboro, NC. CREDIT: AP Photo/Skip Foreman

After Republican leaders mounted a concerted and illegal effort to make it harder for African Americans to vote in North Carolina, the party apparatus celebrated on Monday that fewer African Americans have voted in North Carolina this year.

In July, a federal appeals court struck down an “omnibus” election law, passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R), writing that it was “hard not to come away with the conclusion that North Carolina’s lawmakers wanted to get caught engaging in unlawfully racial discrimination.” The court found that the GOP legislature had “requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices,” and then “enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.” In an unsuccessful appeal, the state actually claimed that its efforts would instead increase minority turnout.

After that failed, North Carolina Republicans used their two-to-one edge on electoral boards to slash early voting options and force long lines at the few early voting locations in urban centers like Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Winston-Salem. Unsurprisingly, almost 9 percent fewer African Americans took advantage of early voting than had in 2012.

According to Colin Campbell of the Raleigh-based News & Observer, the North Carolina GOP sent out a press release titled “North Carolina Obama Coalition Crumbling,” citing the decline in African American early voting and the increase in “Caucasian” early voting.

Should Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper defeat incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Tuesday, the GOP will lose its control for the next four years over the local elections boards that put up these road blocks for minority voters.