Though Republican voter suppression attempts in 2012 failed to provide a Republican president, the red state of North Carolina clearly had its way. And now right-wing NC lawmakers have a new trick up their sleeve. Along with trying to suppress the black, Latino, low income, and elderly vote, they are now going for the student youth vote. And they aim to hit hard – and deep – into the cash pockets of the student’s parents.
Why students? Because students represent much of the 18-29 age voting bracket. In 2012, 60% of the youth voted for Obama and 36% for Romney. Many students are turned off by the negative Republican views on same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception.
North Carolina Republicans, who now have veto-proof majority in both chambers, might be able to get away with this one.
This new bill is crafty, and spearheaded by Senator Bill Crook, I mean, Cook (who won his 2012 seat by a mere 21 votes). His bill ties the student’s voter registration, to the taxes and finances of the student’s parents.
Basically, if the student registers to vote at their college address rather than their parent’s out-of-state address, the parents would lose the right to claim the student as a dependent. That child’s tax deduction is what helps many parents pay for their child’s college education. So, essentially, this bill would seek to encourage the parents of out-of-state students (who are already paying much higher tuition fees) to discourage their child from voting in the state of their campus. The student would either have to opt out of voting, vote by absentee ballot from the parent’s state, or go ahead and vote in the campus state, causing the parent’s a large tax increase. This is what voter suppression looks like.
A North Carolina Tea Party paper, Beaufort Observer, reports a very smug statement by The Voter Integrity Project:
“We’ve gotten a bill into the Senate that Progressives are going to hate almost more than they hate Voter ID”
Below that statement, a commenter wrote, and I have to quote because I couldn’t have said it better:
“By removing a student from their parents (sic) tax deduction because they chose to vote at their college, you are, essentially charging a fee to vote. By the same token, our soldiers in Iraq should have to pay if they choose to vote from there. This is a tax increase. When did the Republican Party become in favor of tax increases? Why not just sell tickets at the voting booth? Money raised could help reduce the deficit. The arrogance of these actions is unbelievable.~Lyle Leuck
Senator Crook, I mean Cook, also proposes:
- Cutting early voting in half (thus creating longer lines)
- Eliminating voting on Sundays (the day that most lower/middle income folks have off)
- Eliminate same day register and voting
- Require a new state-issued ID, never required before and that thousands of people do not have – (This bill was shot down in 2011, but get ready for a second round. The News & Observer reports that 53 percent of the registered voters who lack a state-issued form of photo identification are Democrats and 25 percent are over the age of 65. While African-Americans represent about 22 percent of registered voters in North Carolina, they make up 30 percent of registered voters who lack photo identification.)
Having won his seat by only 21 votes, one can see why Senator Crook, I mean Cook, would be worried about losing more votes.