IN THE wake of the Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision, which gutted significant portions of the Voting Rights Act, it’s difficult to say which of the many recently passed voter-suppression bills constitutes the greatest threat to that most sacred of American freedoms: the right to vote. The contest has several leading contenders, but the winner just might be North Carolina’s especially draconian bill, signed into law on Monday.
The bill includes the usual provisions that have come to characterize the quiet assault on the franchise: a shortened early-voting period, the elimination of the state’s successful same-day registration program and, of course, a strict photo identification requirement despite any evidence of voter fraud in the state.
What makes this law unique is how much further it goes. It includes no fewer than 12 extra provisions that prohibit such things as counties extending polling hours by one hour in the event of unusual circumstances (such as, say, long lines); provisional voting should someone, say, mistakenly go to the wrong precinct; and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, who could previously register to vote before they turned 18.