Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL
Fox News reported on the new North Carolina voting restrictions signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory, but misrepresented how North Carolinians actually feel about the legislation while dismissing critics' charges of racial bias in the law.
On August 12, Gov. McCrory signed into law a controversial bill that "overhauls the state's election laws" by requiring government-issued photo ID's, reducing the early voting period by one week and ending same day registration.
On Happening Now, Rick Leventhal reported that the governor's signing the bill into law was a move supported by "an overwhelming majority" of North Carolina residents. Though the voter ID provision on its own enjoys majority support in the state, the law as a whole does not. According to Public Policy Polling, only 39% of voters in North Carolina support the bill, while 50% are opposed. Additionally, 59% oppose reducing the early voting period by a week, and 68% are opposed to eliminating straight-ticket voting.
Fox News also reported that the law shortens the early voting period from 17 to 10 days but failed to mention how this provision would reduce voter fraud. Critics say the shortened early voting period would reduce minority turnout and make voting more difficult in North Carolina. CBS News reported that in 2012, Democrats cast 47% of early votes, while Republicans cast 32%. Additionally, 70 percent of blacks in North Carolina voted early in 2012. Critics of the law draw similarities to voting laws in Florida, where Governor Rick Scott cut the early voting period from 14 days to eight. A study by the Orlando Sentinel found that at least 201,000 Floridians were deterred from voting because of hours-long lines at polling stations.
According to ABC News, the law contains less stringent requirements for absentee voters: as long as they are registered, absentee voters need not show a photo ID during the voting process. As reported by The Atlantic Wire, whites cast 86.4 percent of absentee ballots, while blacks cast only 8.7 percent.
Rev. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP has said the law "is trampling on the blood, sweat and tears of the martyrs - black and white - who fought for voting rights in this country."
Since 2004, only two cases of alleged voter impersonation fraud have been referred by the North Carolina State Board of Elections.