Recently, three federal appeals courts, in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Texas, affirmed what Republican state legislatures have barely even tried to conceal – that voter identification laws hurriedly imposed in the wake of Barack Obama’s election had one purpose: the disenfranchisement of poor and minority voters whose singular offense is to vote largely for Democrats.
Critics have long maintained that the laws were a partisan solution to a non-existent problem. The most comprehensive investigation reviewed one billion ballots and found 31 credible cases of fraud. “Election fraud happens,” wrote the study’s author – citing vote buying, coercion, fake registration forms, voting from the wrong address, ballot box stuffing by local officials – but ID laws aren’t aimed at preventing those things. They’re after something else.
“[B]ecause of race,” wrote Judge Diana Motz of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, “the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.”
But last month’s decisions have created a new problem for at least one candidate. The system is “rigged,” announced Donald Trump. “People are going to walk in, they are going to vote 10 times maybe. Who knows?”
No, they’re not going to vote 10 times, but they are now more likely to vote once – and these are folks who don’t like the Republican nominee very much. A recent poll, for example, found him getting 1% (!) of the black vote; another pegged his unfavorability rating among black voters at 94%.
So it seems the system is a little less “rigged” than it was a month ago.