North Carolina is a swing state, where both the Republican and Democratic parties have similar levels of support among voters. This essentially means while each and every vote matters in the election, it matters even more in swing states.
Any kind of tampering with the voting process can make a huge difference — and that’s exactly what’s happening in North Carolina.
The New York Times reports:
"In the 58 counties that have been plagued by neither flooding nor locked polling place doors (Unimpaired Counties) African Americans are voting at 91% of their 2012 rate – not great, but a definite improvement over the statewide rate of just 82%. By contrast, among the 32 counties for which federal disaster declarations are in effect, that rate drops substantially to just 79%."
Something went very wrong for African-Americans' voting in North Carolina pic.twitter.com/ZpwjyEavmd— Michael McDonald (@ElectProject) November 6, 2016
"Something went very wrong for African-Americans' voting in North Carolina," tweeted Michael McDonald, voting turnout specialist and a political science professor at the University of Florida.
While the low black voter turnout is concerning, so is the reason behind it.
As it turns out, Republicans in North Carolina deliberately worked to make sure to keep members of the African-American community from voting.
Just two weeks ago, a 100-year-old black woman claimed her voter registration status was being challenged because of Shane Hubers, a Republican.
Grace Bell Hardison, from Beaufort County, recently found out that she needed to appear at “a county board of election meeting” or face removal from the voting rolls, according to WCNT.
And Hardison was just one of 106 other Beaufort County residents, a majority who are black voters, who had been challenged just a few weeks before elections.
Voter suppression is more or less an open secret, though, since Republican political consultant Carter Wrenn acknowledged in September:
“Look, if African Americans voted overwhelmingly Republican, they would have kept early voting right where it was. It wasn’t about discriminating against African Americans. They just ended up in the middle of it because they vote Democrat.”
And if this statement wasn’t evidence enough of the GOP’s aspirations pertaining to suppressing black vote, have a look at the North Carolina GOP’s press release titled “NCGOP Sees Encouraging Early Voting, Obama/Clinton Coalition Tired, Fail to Resonate in North Carolina.”
The state Republicans basically just bragged about the success of their black voter suppression. Not really subtle, is it?
Officials in some counties North Carolina have done everything in their power to keep black people from voting. This should alarm you.— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) November 4, 2016
North Carolina GOP eliminated Sunday voting because "counties with Sunday voting were disproportionately black and Democratic" pic.twitter.com/G55KWY9EKD— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) November 6, 2016