Why Hillary Clinton Called out Racist Voting Laws

September 8th 2016

Lucy Tiven

During a Thursday North Carolina campaign stop, Hillary Clinton blasted the state's voter ID laws — which were recently overturned in a damning federal court ruling.


Clinton deemed these laws remnants of America's shameful history of racial segregation.

“These laws are a blast from the Jim Crow past and have no place in 21st century America,” she said. “We should be doing everything we can to make it easier to vote, not harder."


In addition to requiring that people vote in person with photo IDs, North Carolina's voter ID laws barred same-day voter registration, truncated opportunities for early voting, and prohibited voters from casting "out-of-precinct provisional ballots in their home counties," NBC News explains.

According to a report on Think Progress, Clinton cited the July federal court decision, which said the laws “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The court claimed that Black, Hispanic, elderly, and low income voters were disproportionately affected by the laws.

voter id laws

In a strongly worded decision, the court described how they arrived at this conclusion and termed the findings a "smoking gun" that proved Republicans benefited from the law.

Before the law was passed under the support of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, the state legislature "requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices," the decision explains.

The state legislature reviewed this data and then amended the bill to prohibit particular photo IDs common among black North Carolina voters.

Between 2000 and 2012, a 51.1 percent surge in black voters — who historically voted Democrat — turned North Carolina into a swing state, the court asserted.

Clinton's address also brings up Donald Trump's recent accusations that the election will be "rigged."

Challenging the veracity of the American electoral process, Trump's claims about election rigging have ignited backlash from both sides of the aisle.

In August, the Republican candidate added a page to his website soliciting "election observers" to detect potential fraud.

As his concerns over election fraud are not based in evidence, this effort has been interpreted as suggesting that Trump supporters intimidate other voters, particularly those who are not white.

Despite the federal ruling, certain North Carolina counties have found ways to continue to suppress votes.

From Think Progress:

"On Thursday, just a few counties away from where Clinton was speaking, the Republican-controlled state Board of Elections gave its blessing to several counties that crafted plans to cut early voting hours. These plans were approved, many along a party-line vote, despite the presentation of evidence that massive numbers of North Carolinians — especially African-American voters — depended on early voting in recent elections.

Many of the county plans specifically targeted Sunday voting for elimination, over the outcry of civil rights groups, who pointed out the importance of the day for black churches who want to mobilize their congregations with 'Souls to the Polls' events."

Clinton pledged that as President, she would expand early voting and institute universal voter registration — which automatically registers everyone to vote upon their 18th birthday — and is in place in  Oregon, California, West Virginia, Vermont, and Connecticut , according to the Think Progress.

“Well, what’s the best way to repudiate this kind of underhanded, mean spirited effort to deprive people of their votes?” she asked the audience. “Get out and vote and make it clear we’re not putting up with that!”