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Jedediah Purdy @JedediahSPurdy
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Thread: Remember the North Carolina legislature? Their voting law was invalidated in major parts by the 4th Circuit for being a racially targeted vote-suppression effort. Their gerrymandering of their own districts was ruled so racially skewed that ...
2) ... the court-mandated redrawing affected the districts of about 70% of both houses. (Fewer districts were invalid, but you can't redraw one without redrawing others.) So, with an election ahead with new districts, how have they used their fading majority?
3) They put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to require voter ID in all NC elections. It doesn't specify which ID or how much. Maybe future legislatures will do whatever they want. Maybe it will vary county by county, or precinct by precinct.
4) A 3/5 majority of the legislature is necessary to put such an amendment on the ballot. Then it can pass by simple majority. So this was possible only b/c of the previous gerrymandering, which has given the GOP veto-proof majorities despite hovering right around 50% statewide.
5) So an unconstitutionally founded super-majority, on its way out, is using its power to try to install a vote-suppressing policy, versions of which were already declared unconstitutional, to maintain whatever permanent racial-partisan edge it can...
6) There are other details that are standard around here by now. They did this hastily and by nearly party-line vote. They bypassed a statutory provision that proposed amendments are to be accompanied by brief explanations. (The comm'n that writes those is 2-1 Democrats now.)
7) The main thing is the eleventh-hour, roundabout power grab, trying to leverage the remnant of one unconstitutional, racially partisan advantage to secure another equally sketchy advantage (in a form that will be vaguer & much harder to challenge).
8) I'm normally for plebiscitary constitutional amendments, as a matter of being for democracy. But I'm also for strong voting rights and honoring existing constitutional requirements, and the rigging and opportunism here are grotesque.
9) A legislature that's been told it constitutionally lacks democratic credentials--and for good reason--is using those to try to lock in its most anti-democratic policy as a constitutional requirement.
10) A suit is trying to block the amendments. If they do move forward, make sure people know what they are.
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