GOP Voter Suppression Is Underway in North Carolina

Jim Crow is already on the march in North Carolina:

Within hours of Gov. Pat McCrory signing a Republican-backed bill this week making sweeping changes to the state’s voting laws, local elections boards in two college towns made moves that could make it harder for students to vote.

The Watauga County Board of Elections voted Monday to eliminate an early voting site and election-day polling precinct on the campus of Appalachian State University.

The Pasquotank County Board of Elections on Tuesday barred an Elizabeth City State University senior from running for city council, ruling his on-campus address couldn’t be used to establish local residency. Following the decision, the head of the county’s Republican Party said he plans to challenge the voter registrations of more students at the historically black university ahead of upcoming elections.

Voting rights advocates worry the decisions could signal a statewide effort by GOP-controlled elections boards to discourage turnout among young voters considered more likely to support Democrats.

The law McCrory signed Monday requires voters to have specific forms of government-issued photo identification to cast a ballot, a measure he and other Republicans said is needed to prevent voter fraud. But the law also contains more than 40 other provisions, including ending same-day voter registration, trimming the period for early voting from 17 days to 10 and eliminating a program that encourages high school students to register to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays.

Democratic lawmakers repeatedly tried to amend the bill to allow student IDs from state-supported universities and community colleges to be used at the polls, but that was blocked by the Republican majority.

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