Non-partisan panel should craft election laws

This newspaper has tried twice to no avail to find that person or an army of them who is determined to vote but in the three years that they were given to do so could not find a qualifying photo ID — and if you know someone, give us a call, we would love to speak with him or her.

And we will share what they will see as the good news that they will not need a photo ID to vote in November after the Supreme Court last week rejected North Carolina’s appeal that 2013 legislation requiring an ID and calling for a shortened early voting period remain intact at least for the Nov. 8 General Election.

There are those who believe that North Carolina, which is a swing state, is being picked upon by liberal justices because it could swing the presidential election this way or that way, but we won’t make that claim.

It is, however, curious that more than 30 states require a photo ID, and about a dozen don’t allow for any early voting period at all, but North Carolina has been assigned the black hat when it comes to election laws and accusations that it wants to erect hurdles for voters who are likely to cast a ballot for Democrats — blacks primarily, but the poor, elderly and young people as well. As an example, New York doesn’t allow early voting, but everyone knows it will go hard for Hillary Clinton, so it is not on any court’s radar — at least for now.

This state’s Republican legislators are to blame because, simply put, they were arrogant when crafting the laws, making no real attempt — the evidence betrays them — to cloak their desire to make it more difficult for blacks to vote, not only with the ID requirement, but by shortening the early voting period, which is disproportionately used by blacks. Then they left alone absentee voting, which is favored by whites.

It was clumsily done, not cleverly like in other states, which is why North Carolina found itself in court. But courts interpret law, and one has declared North Carolina’s elections laws unconstitutional, so the laws must be rewritten.

But can they be done so to prevent voter fraud, often denied, but something we know exists in this county, though there is room to debate on the scope of the problem? Can North Carolina legislators, perhaps Republicans and Democrats sitting at the same table, come up with election laws that don’t depress the vote of historically denied people, blacks and Indians locally, that at the same time have sufficient incisors to take a bite out of fraud?

Republicans and Democrats have shown themselves incapable of working together for the common good, with their unwillingness to draw fair voting districts instead of gerrymandered ink blots being another election exhibit.

What is needed, as with district maps, is a non-partisan panel to work together to come up with fair election laws. But politicians will never surrender that control because rigging the vote to ensure re-election is what matters most.

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