Different Definitions of “Stealing” Elections

There’s been a little buzz going around about the recent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down a 2013 voter ID law passed in NC to restrict voting access. This law was passed the same year as the US Supreme Court effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act on the grounds that “the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions.”

Judge Diana Motz wrote (emphasis mine):

Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices. Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.

Now, the NC Senate Leader (Phil Berger) and House Speaker (Tim Moore) are claiming that:

we can only wonder if the intent is to reopen the door for voter fraud, potentially allowing fellow Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper to steal the election.

I think we’re working off of different definitions of the word “steal,” here. First off, the boogeyman of voter fraud has, time and again, been shown to be virtually absent. In North Carolina, specifically, the numbers used to justify this legislation were way overblown and the actual incidence may even, as in South Carolina, be nonexistent. Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School and expert on voter fraud, wrote this article at the Washington Post which details 31 verifiable voter fraud incidents, from 2000 to 2014, out of 1 billion votes cast. 31/1,000,000,000.

On the other hand, these (white) legislators are putting roadblocks in place to specifically prevent African Americans from voting. That, to me, seems like actual theft; stealing the constitutional right of US citizens to vote in their own elections.

It’s also a prime example of why the Voting Rights Act is just as necessary in 2016 as it was in 1965.