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                                 Voting Rights in NC, What Voting Rights?
September 25, 2013                                      
    Today is National Voter Registration Day, which is a great time to register to vote and a time to keep in mind there are a few leaders willing to stand-up for the people with the political courage to do the right thing. A few weeks ago Jason R. Thigpen, a Republican Congressional Candidate in North Carolina running for the U.S. House, publicly voiced his opposition and concerns for the broad-stroke legislation passed in North Carolina designed to disenfranchise voters.
Thigpen states, “Upon considerable review of and research on the issue of voting rights, to include its history in North Carolina, it’s more than apparent NC legislators passed bill HB 589 in order to suppress and oppress voters from voting. Such acts against the Constitutional rights of the people, is why North Carolina had previously remained a left-leaning State…that is until the gerrymandering of 2010, whereby district lines are redrawn for the benefit of whichever Party is in control. The popular vote no longer counts in these instances. Our legislators need to remember the pendulum swings both ways, and with discriminatory legislation like this North Carolina will quickly fade into the dismal abyss of what happens when Representatives who are supposed to be serving the people are actually working for the special interests of a few.”
     “Just look at how ridiculous the title of this NC bill is”, HB 589 – AN ACT TO RESTORE CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT BY ESTABLISHING THE VOTER INFORMATION VERIFICATION ACT TO PROMOTE THE ELECTORAL PROCESS THROUGH EDUCATION AND INCREASED REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AND BY REQUIRING VOTERS TO PROVIDE PHOTO IDENTIFICATION BEFORE VOTING TO PROTECT THE RIGHT OF EACH REGISTERED VOTER TO CAST A SECURE VOTE WITH REASONABLE SECURITY MEASURES THAT CONFIRM VOTER IDENTITY AS ACCURATELY AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT RESTRICTION, AND TO FURTHER REFORM THE ELECTION LAWS.
     Thigpen adds, “If you want to know who your Representatives are really working for, just look into their campaign finances. If they’re receiving a large percentage of donations from large companies outside of their State, they’re not working for the people of their District…they’re working for whoevers names are at the top of the checks they’re receiving as campaign contributions.”
What are the issues?
     • If voter fraud is the basis for this legislation, where’s the evidence that voter fraud has occurred? In 2012 the State Board of Elections, in North Carolina, counted 6,947,317 ballots cast for two primaries and one general election. How many cases of alleged voter fraud were made? TWELVE…that’s one for every 575,000 votes cast. Yeah, that sounds like an epidemic alright. Statistically, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning – twice.
     • Considering 59% of voters in NC cast their ballots during the early voting period, is anyone expected to believe that North Carolinians wanted the early voting time cut in half?
     • North Carolina has gone from having one of the worst voter turnouts in the nation to one of the best, due to the ease of voting for those whom are employed. Apparently NC legislators just don’t like who’s coming out to vote, so they’re making it harder for voters to vote.
     • Are we supposed to believe the way to restore confidence in government is by passing legislation cutting the education program for high school classes that encourage registration, cutting same-day voter registration, reducing the number of polling places near college campuses, and cutting the number of days for early voting by nearly 50%?
     • How do you try to restore confidence in a government by restricting their rights while trying to convince them it’s to help protect them from themselves?
     • In order to register to vote in North Carolina one must prove who they are already, so why is it needed again considering there is no history of voter fraud in North Carolina?
     Like Colin Powell said to an audience in North Carolina last month, “You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud. How can it be widespread – and undetected?”
     Even the founders of conservatism would have a fundamental problem with the time and expense NC’s legislators (and other states included) are wasting, by erecting what they hope are insurmountable barriers for people they don’t want to vote like the middle-class, the working poor, and minorities.
     Thigpen was very candid when saying, “Look, I’m running for Congress but I don’t believe cheating is the way to do it. And that’s what legislation like this is – an attempt to cheat the people. If I have to cheat to win, it’s just not worth it. Being able to look my wife, my family, and my friends in the eye without looking away is more important than the benefits of winning as a cheater.”
     Thigpen closes very well with this, “The answer to all of the political issues we’re hearing about today is simple, really it is. Just put People before Party and Politics. You cannot go wrong when you just stop talking and listen to the people. That’s why voting is so important. No matter how rich or poor you are, your race, your religion, your social status, or your sexual preference – every vote counts the same. The right to vote may be the single greatest privilege we have as Americans.”
     What can you do? Join the movement of “America Matters” by registering to vote, which can be done in-person at your local board of elections or through various organizations online. Regardless of your political affiliation, just vote.
By Christopher Dean
Candidate US House NC3
www.thigpenforcongress.com
America Matters

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