Now come the young ones

In August, the League of Women Voters sued North Carolina on that state’s new voter suppression law:

On Monday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the most suppressive voting law in decades. The League of Women Voters of North Carolina (LWVNC) went straight to action, filing a federal lawsuit to challenge the voting restrictions as racially discriminatory and request that the state be placed back into preclearance under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
North Carolina’s new voting law is likely a bellwether of anti-voter legislation to come in other states following the Supreme Court’s decision this past June striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. While much focus has been given to the law’s voter photo ID requirements, its voter restrictions unfortunately go much deeper.
In addition to requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote, the law:
• Shortens weekday early voting periods;
• Eliminates early voting on Sundays;
• Eliminates pre-registration for high school students;
• Eliminates same day registration during early voting.
LWVNC’s lawsuit, which was filed by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the ACLU on behalf of LWVNC, Common Cause and the A. Philip Randolph Institute, argues that the state’s new voting law will restrict voter registration and voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians, particularly minorities.

“North Carolina has a long and sad history of official discrimination against African Americans, including official discrimination in voting that has touched upon the right of African Americans and other people of color to register, vote, or otherwise participate in the democratic process,” LWVNC’s lawsuit argues.

Over 70 percent of African-Americans used early voting in the 2008 and 2012 general elections, compared to 52 percent of white voters. The lawsuit is just one part of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina’s vow to do everything in its power “to see that this legislation gets swept into the dustbin of history where it belongs.

This is a motion to intervene in that original League of Women Voters lawsuit, brought by young voters, yesterday (pdf). “VIVA” is the Voter Information Verification Act which is the title of the North Carolina law. Louis M. Duke is one of the young plaintiffs, which is why they are called the “Duke Plaintiffs” in the motion:

The Duke Plaintiffs, all young voters residing in and registered to vote in North Carolina, seek to intervene in this action to protect their voting rights and interests that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Like the current plaintiffs, the Duke Plaintiffs assert that the law violates their right to equal protection as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. But as young voters, the Duke Plaintiffs bring the unique perspective of a group, not currently represented by any party to the litigation, whose voting rights are significantly impacted by VIVA…

VIVA infringes upon or outright denies the rights of young North Carolinians to vote through restrictive voter identification requirements; the curtailment of early or “one stop” voting; the elimination of same day registration; the elimination of out-of-precinct voting; the removal of the discretion of boards of election to keep polling locations open for an extra hour on Election Day; and the elimination of pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds. These drastic changes in North Carolina’s voting laws disproportionality affect young voters as compared to the general population.

Accordingly, in addition to claiming a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Duke Plaintiffs allege injury under the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits states intentionally infringing or denying “the right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote on account of age”

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

28 replies
  1. 1
    Punchy says:

    Ah….the seldom used 26th.

    Wait…you can pre-register to vote at age 16? Do all states do this, cuz I dont remember this in Illy.

  2. 2
    Linda Featheringill says:

    So the Duke plaintiff suit does not actually go against the League plaintiff suit, it merely wishes to establish itself as a class action suit. Is this correct?

  3. 3
    Kay says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    No, they aren’t going against the LWV. They’re just adding “harm to young voters, 26th amendment”

    I think they should do it in the Texas case, too, because that law obviously targets college students.

  4. 4
    hoodie says:

    Could you also raise the 26th as a basis for attacking the voter id requirements? Isn’t the bulk of those affected by that elderly poor who don’t have birth certificates?

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    We’re sorry. No amendments past the 12th count.

    /reactionary dipshits

  6. 6
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Kay:

    By all means do it in Texas, too.

    Actually, there are idealistic young law students [and lawyers] in every state in the union. They might like the idea that the Constitution protects the voting rights of young adults.

  7. 7

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    We’re sorry. Only the second amendment counts.

    fyt

  8. 8
    RSA says:

    Sometimes I’ll read comments from conservatives about civil rights legislation being supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats (i.e., Dixiecrats) decades ago, along with the stupid argument that Democrats are the real racists. Today’s Republican legislative efforts to restrict voting rights pretty much shoot that argument out of the water. I don’t think the fig leaf of preventing voter fraud will fool anyone in the future; I don’t think it fools anyone now.

  9. 9
    Aji says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy: No, no, no. You’re forgetting the tenth.

  10. 10
    Aji says:

    @Kay: In every state where this is going on, not just NC and Texas. College students have long been a target, because once they get some education, they tend to liberalize. They’ve pushed this since the ’60s. The difference now is that in the past they didn’t need to push very hard, because 1) “students” in the aggregate are notoriously lax about bothering to vote anyway, and 2) they weren’t forced to see so many varying shades of brown as the “face” of activist students in such a consistent public manner. EO efforts and a 24/7 mass media/social media cycle have changed that drastically, and it’s yet another thing to make them shriek about “losing their country.”

  11. 11
    Kay says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    It’s part of a broader idea, which is that states should have to justify these laws as not harming voters (since the laws bring so little benefit) and that we have to explore protections or actions that are not based on race.
    It is anecdotally true in my personal experience that young voters are the most offended by voter suppression efforts. I can’t prove it, but I think it drives turn out and persistence.

  12. 12
    MomSense says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The right wing love the Constitution like they love the Bible — selectively.

  13. 13
    scav says:

    “Who let all these uppity people in thinking that rights apply to them? Nears? Wimminz? Younguns?! This whole shebang was set up for adult white males and their corporate people equals, sheese, some redhead gets excited in an advertising puff piece and people get all excited and fine-printy. Should have gone with the boilerplate. ‘To King, ef-off, love necessarily white male property owners.'”

  14. 14

    If racism isn’t the ultimate cause of the GOP freakout, why is it suddenly Jim Crow all over again?

  15. 15
    cmorenc says:

    Does the driver’s license address have to match the voter’s current residence address under the new N.C. law? That’s one of the most potent ways of disenfranchising (or greatly diluting) student voting, because it: a) forces them to vote absentee; b) at residences widely distributed across N.C. or whichever other state their parents home (and their original home) is in.

  16. 16
    Kay says:

    @Aji:

    they weren’t forced to see so many varying shades of brown as the “face” of activist students in such a consistent public manner

    I’ve thought about this a lot because I’ve been at it for a while so I’m familiar with what people say about voting, and there was a (negative) shift after 2008.

    Older people (generally) romanticize the “youth vote”. They find the whole idea of civically engaged young people appealing. I saw this in Ohio in 2004 when people were all but swooning at the lines of young people at the polls. They were thrilled. It was this whole narrative, how they waited in line, had to be brought pizza, were so brave. I think that’s great, but it changed after 2008, and I DO think that has to do with the color of the young faces and the fact that they WON, had some real political power.

    It’s just been amusing to watch, how young people went from admirable and civically-engaged and encouraged, to so threatening we need special laws passed in midnight sessions to stop them. Funny how that switched, almost overnight, after 2008. So I do think there’s an element there that has to do with the color of their faces and real power shifting to them.

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kay:

    the fact that they WON

    Damn kids voted for the ni*CLANG*. We need to stop that shit, stat!

  18. 18
    Aji says:

    @Kay: Absolutely. I worked on this tangentially for years as a lawyer (my focus was the judiciary specifically, but the groups we worked with, like the LWV, addressed all types of elections and offices). It was evident then, and even more evident after I moved back to NM to take care of ailing parents and got involved in their area on Democratic Party voting rights in the 2004 GE. That was at ground zero in this state for the vote suppression effort, and they targeted young people (as well as all the other usual demographics) specifically on the basis of their race. IIRC, the first plaintiff to stand up in court to the GOP thugs in the state lege was a student – and she was Hispanic (“Hispanic” being the preferred term v. “Latino” in this state). A trifecta: race; gender; student status.

  19. 19
    Mike in NC says:

    I hope Pat McCrory chokes to death on his Thanksgiving dinner. Every other day comes a new report on how he’s hurting the people in this state.

  20. 20

    @Kay:
    I believe this ties into racism, in the sense of similar attitudes in play rather than a direct focus on The Other. There is a level of racism where The Other is considered admirable and praiseworthy and an effort should be made to treat them with respect – so long as they remain sidekicks. If you have all the power, you can afford to be generous with it. If The Other stops being a sidekick and starts being in charge, that is scary and this breed of racist flips from being deliberately egalitarian to losing their shit. Rudyard Kipling lays it out clearly over a century ago, because admitting racism wasn’t taboo then. I think Clint Eastwood is the perfect example of this. He was famous for how well he treated black actors, but when a black man was elected president he started talking to chairs.

    Here we see the same attitude applied to young voters. As long as they’re reliably powerless, why, they’re so admirably involved! The moment they make a difference, they’re a threat and the admiration vanishes as if it never existed.

  21. 21
    feebog says:

    The tip-off in all of these laws is the elimination of student ID as a valid form of identification. How is it that other forms of picture ID, such as a drivers license or a passport, or even a gun permit are valid, but a student ID is not? I would love to sit in on one of these cases and have the makers of the law explain exactly why student ID was excluded from the law.

  22. 22
    Pen says:

    @feebog: Don’t you know that student ID cards can be forged in a dorm room with a cheap camera and a computer like they show in the movies? Wait, that’s driver’s licenses… never mind.

    I have yet to see a single reason ever given why my photo college ID, which is secure enough to be a freaking debit card, isn’t good enough to use for voter ID. Most often when this is brought up whoever I’m arguing with just tries to change the subject. Can’t have reality interrupting their “we’re the True Americans™ and you only won because of voter fraud” narrative, now can we?

  23. 23
    Kay says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I believe this ties into racism, in the sense of similar attitudes in play rather than a direct focus on The Other. There is a level of racism where The Other is considered admirable and praiseworthy and an effort should be made to treat them with respect – so long as they remain sidekicks. If you have all the power, you can afford to be generous with it.

    Oh, sure. I’ve seen it play out within the Ohio Democratic Party. It’s inside/outside. There’s a sort of older white male Democrat who genuinely believe that certain OTHER members are “interest groups” (they sometimes use the term). The “interest groups” can be women but they are most often African Americans (of course there’s overlap there).
    So if I take them these older white Democrats into a room in say, Cleveland, and say “show me the difference between The Interest Groups and The Democrats standing in this room” they get really uncomfortable, because of course they’re not OUTSIDE the Democratic Party, women or African Americans, they are IN the Democratic Party.
    They’re not pushing some entity called “The Democratic Party” to graciously accede to their demands to consider the issues important to women or African Americans, they are INSIDE, not OUTSIDE. I have a lot of trouble with this. It makes me mad. I get why conservatives do it, but I don’t understand why Democrats still do it. It is obviously not true, just looking at any gathering of Democrats.

  24. 24
    Augie says:

    For once I would LOVE to read an article about how blue states are EXPANDING access to the voting booth, expanding voting timelines, introducing mail-in ballots, and ENFRANCHISING voters but I never do. We are always playing defense, never offense, even when it is both moral and politically advantageous to do so. It drives me nuts.

  25. 25
    Kay says:

    @Augie:

    I have that article!

    One year later, an encouraging number of states have taken steps to provide voters more access to the ballot box. At least 234 bills were introduced in 45 states to increase access. Unfortunately, others have restricted access — 33 states introduced 90 restrictive bills — and the Supreme Court has made it easier for some of them to do so by striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. While 10 states passed 13 bills in 2013 to expand voting opportunities, eight states passed nine restrictive bills.

  26. 26
    Burnspbesq says:

    The Duke plaintiffs. In North Carolina.

    The jokes about tone-deafness write themselves.

    That aside, I like this.

  27. 27
    Splitting Image says:

    @Pen:

    Don’t you know that student ID cards can be forged in a dorm room with a cheap camera and a computer like they show in the movies? Wait, that’s driver’s licenses… never mind.

    Drivers licenses are the proof that anyone who talks about photo ID doesn’t care a whit about voter fraud. I personally know over a half a dozen people who got a fake one when they were teenagers to get into a bar or a nightclub. For some people it was almost a rite of passage.

    Heck, Jenna Bush got busted for using a fake ID back in the day. It isn’t as though people are unaware of the problem. The notion that driver’s licenses will reduce voter fraud is ridiculous.

  28. 28
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Augie:

    MN SoS Mark Ritchie just developed a website for on line registration. Of course leg. Republicans are having a screaming fit about it.

    Good, I say.

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