The proposed Voter ID bill HB 589 will impose more restrictions on the right to vote and do great damage to the democratic process in North Carolina, the chair of the N.C. Libertarian Party said in a statement today.
“Just when it didn’t seem possible that North Carolina’s election laws could get more restrictive, the Republican majority has come up with a massive bill that would make it even harder for people to vote,” said J.J. Summerell.
He said that Republicans were using the excuse combating combat voter fraud, but were actually perpetrating a greater fraud on North Carolina voters under the guise of restoring “confidence in government.”
“Republicans claim to be the party of limited government,” he said. “Now we see what that term really means: when Republicans say limited government, they apparently mean government limited to them and their supporters.”
Summerell said that the voter ID proposal alone was a bad idea to begin with.
“Cramming in further restrictions on the right to vote – including eliminating preregistration for 16- and 17- year olds, ending same-day registration, even with a valid ID, restricting early voting, and banning paid voter registration drives – doesn’t just make a bad bill worse, it perverts the bill into a nightmare for free elections,” he said.
While there may be some issues covered in HB 589 that are real, needed reform, Summerell said that these issues should be debated separately. He said that the overall tenor, and the inevitable result of this bill, and the manner in which it is being rushed to passage, will do great damage to the democratic process in North Carolina.
“The right to vote is the most basic, fundamental right we have, and it must be jealously guarded in order to preserve our democratic system,” Summerell said. “It is the right ‘by which all other rights are protected,’ as Thomas Paine observed.”
“In a republic, the law should encourage, not discourage, voting,” he said. “It should make it easier to vote, not more difficult.”
“Any rule, restriction or condition that inhibits, restricts, discourages or imposes any unreasonable and unnecessary encumbrance on the right to vote is a danger to our republic.”
The Libertarian Party has a long history of battling N.C. election laws, among the most restrictive in the nation. The party has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on dozens of petition drives just to gain ballot access.
The LPNC platform calls for ballot access to be open to all constitutionally qualified candidates, and all candidates should be held to the same requirements, regardless of party affiliation, or non-affiliation. Libertarians also call for the people to have easy access to state their will to the government through as many democratic methods as possible, including initiative, referendum, recall, and write-in votes.
The Libertarian Party, formed in 1971, is the third largest political party in the U.S. and North Carolina, as well as the only ballot-recognized alternative party in the state.
Libertarians believe their philosophy is a logically consistent approach to politics based on the moral principle of self-ownership. They believe that each individual has the right to control their own body, action, speech, and property.
For Libertarians, the only role of government is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud, and to protect life, liberty and property.