Apparently unwilling to face up to the North Carolina voters who are taking them to task each week for the extremist tea party/corporate agenda they are enacting, North Carolina legislators yesterday moved their normal Monday evening sessions back several hours to avoid the 12th Moral Monday protest at the state Capitol in Raleigh.
But once again, nearly 2,000 civil rights, union, student and other working family activists rallied yesterday evening to spotlight the legislature’s and Gov. Pat McCrory’s radical actions, with a special emphasis on the continuing rollback of voting rights in North Carolina.
The Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, said:
You can run, but you can't hide. When we come here and they are here, they want to drag us out. Then when they knew the national TV was on them, they tucked their tails and ran.
Seventy-three demonstrators were arrested when, in an act of civil disobedience, they refused to leave the Capitol rotunda. In the 12 rallies, 925 people have been arrested.
Earlier this year, the legislature passed measures that curtailed early voting, ended same day registration and banned Sunday voting—a common and popular get-out-the-vote tactic in African American churches. One proposal even calls for eliminating a $2,500 tax credit for parents of college students if the student does not vote at home while in college.
Republican lawmakers also are proposing the most restrictive voter ID law in the nation, with just a handful of acceptable forms of identification. Student ID cards from state colleges and universities, along with local government and private employer ID cards would not be valid forms of identification.
Barber says the bill is “a new poll tax disguised as voter ID,” because while the bill says the state will provide free IDs to those who need them, many will have to pay to obtain the documents necessary to obtain it in the first place.
These election law changes, MSNBC’ s Morgan Whitaker points out, would have been subject to pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act, but the Supreme Court’s recent decision removed North Carolina, along with other southern states, from federal review until a new formula is created by Congress.
Evelyn Paul, who has attended seven Moral Monday rallies and has been arrested once, told WTVD-11:
We hear that the United States has a poor voting turnout, people just don't care enough to vote, if that is the case, then why on Earth would be put laws in place that for people who are infrequent voters to make them even less likely to come out and vote?
Probably because many of those voters are minority, young, student or other voters not likely to back a tea party agenda. A study by Democracy North Carolina estimates the Voter ID law would disenfranchise more than 300,000 voters.
Earlier Moral Monday actions have focused on Republican cutting health care for the poor, eliminating unemployment benefits for 70,000 jobless workers, slashing funds for public education, raising taxes on low-income families while cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations.