A parade of witnesses came to testify against North Carolina’s new voting reforms – but a look at their backgrounds shows they all have ties to the radical liberal network of groups known as Blueprint NC and/or have strong ties to the Democratic Party.
U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder heard testimony for a preliminary injunction brought by the liberal groups suing the state over the recently passed election reform bill known as HB 589 or VIVA – the Voter Identification Verification Act. Schroeder denied the motion seeking to hold the November vote under old election rules, saying the groups failed to show they would suffer “irreparable harm.”
“In the absence of the clear showing for preliminary relief required by the law, it is inappropriate for a federal court to enjoin a state law passed by duly-elected representatives,” he wrote.
Along with the written declarations, Schroeder had listened to hours of witness testimony — all called by the plaintiffs. The plaintiff’s choice of witnesses was significant. The majority of non-expert witnesses proved to be hyper-political partisans who either had a long history of involvement in partisan politics with the Democratic Party and/or deep association with any number of liberal activist groups all tied to Blueprint NC. While the plaintiffs, with the help of the witness testimony, tried to show that the defendants had violated Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) by passing HB 589, their lineup did little to help their case.
Section 2 of the VRA “prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in one of the groups identified in Section 4(f)(2).” The witnesses did little more than expose the true motives of the progressive Democrats who are suing the state: defending a set of laws that protected and assisted the Democratic Party in every election.
The plaintiffs (the NC NAACP*, the League of Women Voters of NC* and Eric Holder’s U.S. Justice Department) were seeking to enjoin three provisions of the legislation for the 2014 General Election this November. They want to block the shortened early voting period, the elimination of same-day registration (SDR) and the elimination of out-of-precinct voting on Election Day.
The overriding theme from the witnesses, both in their testimony during the hearing and their written declarations was that the provisions that the plaintiffs were seeking enjoinment would hurt their organizations’ efforts in voter registration and enabling turnout, known as Get-Out-the-Vote, or GOTV.
It would seem that Butch Bowers, counsel representing Gov. Pat McCrory, made the state’s case in his opening statement when he said;
“The key point here is that the changes brought about by HB 589 are not discriminatory as evidenced by not conjecture, not speculation, not expert analyses, but by real-life actual data that occurred just two months ago. When you compare the African-American turnout from the 2014 primary to the 2010 primary, which was the last off-year election, you see an increase of – you see an increase in both the turnout of African American voters and also the total share of the electorate. By any measure, there is no discriminatory effect brought about by HB589.”
The plaintiffs did not offer even one witness who would be disenfranchised due to provisions in HB 589. The witnesses who did testify talked about hypothetical voters who may be disenfranchised or had been disenfranchised in the past – 60, 80 or more years ago. What the witnesses did say over and over was that they (personally and professionally) would be inconvenienced. The provisions they were seeking to enjoin would make it harder to execute the highly partisan voter registration and GOTV efforts that their groups coordinated in order to elect progressive Democrats across the state.
Click here for a list of the plaintiff’s fact witnesses (and their political associations) who either testified at the preliminary injunction hearing or provided written declarations submitted to the court.
*The left-wing Blueprint North Carolina “eviscerate network” distributed a memo in February 2013 outlining a “collective statewide strategy” to attack Republicans and conservatives in North Carolina. The memo called for “[c]rippling their leaders (McCrory, Tillis, Berger etc.).” and using tactics to “eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.” The network is made up of more than 60 groups, including the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and A. Phillip Randolph Institute. Click here for a list of groups in the Blueprint NC network.This post was updated on Aug. 12 in the wake of Judge Schroeder’s ruling.