Republicans in North Carolina — which Trump must win to have a shot at 270 electoral votes — love that black voters are being kept from the polls.
In a press release circulated by the North Carolina Republican Party (NCGOP), partisan leaders celebrated the news that approximately 8.5 percent of African American voters, or roughly 66,000 people cast early ballots this year in comparison to 2012. The NCGOP also boasted about Caucasian voter turnout increasing by 22.5 percent.
Other statistics cited by the NCGOP include shrinking the gap between Democratic and Republican early voting by over 144,000 votes, and with Democratic early voting up by just 1.5 percent this year while Republican early voting is up 20.2 percent compared to 2012.
While party chairman Robin Hayes credited the early voting numbers to the state Republican Party’s ground game, a slew of voter disenfranchisement laws passed by North Carolina’s Republican supermajority in the state legislature also play a major role, along with dirty tricks from GOP activists in the Tar Heel state. One example is how Republicans send massive mailers to everyone on a county’s voter registration list, gather all the mail that was returned as undeliverable, then present that to the state as evidence a registered voter should be removed from the rolls.
After several North Carolina counties purged nearly 7,000 voters — most of them African American — from the rolls, a federal judge stepped in and order the voters to be reinstated, calling the voter purge “insane” and comparing it to the Jim Crow policies of the South that inspired the Civil Rights Movement. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the United States Department of Justice also chimed in, pointing out that the controversial practice is a violation of federal law.
“It almost looks like a cattle call, the way people are being purged,” U.S. District judge Loretta Biggs said when issuing the ruling. “This sounds like something that was put together in 1901.”
North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes are still seen as a toss-up as of this writing. The state went to Mitt Romney in 2012, and to Barack Obama in 2008.
Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email at [email protected], and follow his work on the Public Banking Institute blog.