Meteor Blades and Joan McCarter at Daily Kos, are writing a series entitled The War on Voting. The latest article discusses a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina:
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled in favor of North Carolina’s new voting law Monday, prompting plaintiffs in the case to say they would immediately appeal. The law is considered by opponents as one of the strictest in the country. But that wasn’t the viewpoint of the judge.
The law requires voters to have one of a number of state-specified, government-issued photo-IDs. It also barred people from registering and voting on the same day, cut the number of days allotted for early voting, blocked the counting of any ballots that are cast in the wrong precinct. Preregistering teenagers before they turn 18 is also no longer allowed under the law.
via Daily Kos
Let’s stipulate that the intent of the changes in these laws is to suppress voting, particularly among those groups, particularly minorities, that vote Democratic. Still, I’m struck by the fact that some of these states, in many respects, still have voting laws more liberal than we have in Connecticut. We don’t, for instance, have any early voting, except for absentee voters. Many of these cases involving restrictions of, but not elimination of, voting opportunities that are not available to Connecticut residents at all.
Connecticut was never covered by the Voting Rights Act, so its restrictions were never subjected to scrutiny. It’s very doubtful that they were the product of intentional discrimination. The legislature is helpless to liberalize many of our voting requirements because they are contained in the state constitution. There was a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2014 that would have allowed the legislature to liberalize our laws, but it was defeated by an electorate that had no idea what it contained.
Many of the challenges to restrictive voting laws have succeeded in federal court. The North Carolina plaintiffs might succeed eventually. Maybe the Koch owned ACLU could do us a favor and bring suit against Connecticut to get rid of some of the unnecessary restrictions embedded in our constitution. If they brought suit, the Malloy administration would be well advised to not defend the case, as a matter both of justice and partisan advantage.