Nobody voted for this

We suppose, if we’re being intellectually honest, there is some merit to the proposal that voters should show ID before being able to cast their ballots.

Not because of voter fraud — the NC Board of Elections found just 310 cases of voter fraud in 2008, out of more than 4 million votes cast. Elections aren’t stolen by convincing miscreants to vote more than once — it barely moves the needle, though each instance is a felony. Even NC House Speaker Thom Tillis said in March (on MSNBC!) that voter fraud was “not the primary reason” for the Republicans’ proposed voter ID bill in our state.

And everyone knows that elections are stolen by abusing the absentee ballot system… right?

Everyone knows that elections are stolen by abusing the absentee ballot system… right?

You can also steal elections by preventing the other side from’  voting, which is exactly what the bill, which passed the House last week and now heads to the Senate, is all about: keeping low-income people from casting votes against those who will not ad- vocate for them, and may even advocate against them, in the halls of government.

Tillis told the wags at MSNBC that the primary reason for the bill was “restoring confidence in government,” which everybody with half a brain knows is a load of crap.

But…. It’s true that we require ID for lots of things: renting a car or buying a plane ticket, cashing a check, picking up tickets at will call, having power and water turned on in your house, renting an apartment. True, none of these things are rights as outlined by the Constitution, but for the sake of consistency, it is not completely unreasonable to want people to show that they are who they say they are before casting votes.

Which is what makes the other high-profile bill sponsored by the Republican regime so confusing.

HB 937 concerns firearms, but it doesn’t place purchasing a gun — another of those inalienable gimmes as outlined by the Bill of Rights — on the same plane as voting, that is to say, the bill doesn’t do much to tighten existing gun laws other than stiffen some of the penalties for gun crimes, restrict access to firearms for some mentally ill people and, in a nifty bit of lip service, penalize parents who give guns to their children… with a generous loophole that makes the whole provision meaningless.

How’s this for doublespeak: “It shall be unlawful for any parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis, to knowingly permit a child under the age of 12 years to have access to… any gun, pistol or other dangerous firearm… except when such child is under the supervision of the parent, guardian or person standing in loco parentis.”

It does allow us to bring guns to restaurants and bars, college campuses, parks and other public spaces — no matter how each city or town, or, for that matter, each restaurant and bar, feels about it.

The point of this bill, Paul Valone of Grass Roots North Carolina, told WRAL, is “deterrence. We are looking at deterring violent sociopaths from crimes on campuses.”

Polling reveals that most Americans — 58 percent, according to Gallup — feel that we need more strict gun laws as opposed to 6 percent that feel the current laws are too restrictive, which makes one wonder just how much the NC General Assembly cares about what the people think anyway.

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