Originally published on April 18, 2016 on The Nation by Ari Berman.
In June 2013, North Carolina passed the most sweeping voting restrictions in the country, requiring strict voter ID, cutting early voting and eliminating same-day registration, pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds, and out-of-precinct voting, among other political reforms. The state defended its cutbacks in court last summer by invoking, of all places, New York.
“The state of New York has no early voting as opposed to North Carolina that has ten days of early voting,” lawyer Thomas Farr said. “The state of New York has no same-day registration. The state of New York has no out-of-precinct voting. The state of New York has no preregistration.”
It was a cynical defense of North Carolina’s law—North Carolinians don’t deserve to suffer because a state 500 miles away has different laws—but it was still unnerving to hear a Southern state invoke a progressive Northern state to rationalize making it harder to vote.
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