Washington, D.C. — The release of CREW’s Worst Governors in America report in July has increased scrutiny on our nation’s misbehaving governors, but Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) soldiered on with even more reprehensible conduct. Earlier this month, he signed into law one of the most restrictive voter ID bills in the nation. Purportedly designed to crack down on non-existent voter fraud in the Tar Heel State, in reality the bill is little more than an effort to suppress the vote, leading CREW’s voters to award Gov. McCrory the title of August’s Scoundrel of the Month.
This June, the Supreme Court invalidated a section of the Voting Rights Act requiring certain states to gain pre-clearance for voting law changes from the Department of Justice. Weeks later, North Carolina state Senate Republicans introduced a strict voter ID bill including provisions to eliminate same-day registration, limit early voting, and further restrict the acceptable forms of identification required to vote — all measures critics say target minority and Democratic voters.
The bill also eliminated a program allowing high school students to pre-register to vote before turning 18. When asked about how such a measure would combat fraud, the governor replied, “I don’t know enough, I’m sorry, I haven’t seen that part of the bill.”
“It doesn’t take a legal scholar to realize North Carolina’s new voter ID law has one purpose and one purpose only: to disenfranchise voters,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “One would think his inability to mount a defense of the bill’s provisions might have given Gov. McCrory pause before signing it. Hopefully it won’t be long before the Justice Department challenges this ridiculous law.”
Since Gov. McCrory’s election last November, he’s made a name for himself with controversial decisions, including appointing one of his top campaign donors as his budget director — the most powerful appointed position in state government. He followed up in February by filling 10 positions on the state’s Department of Transportation board with donors and fundraisers, after repeatedly stating during his unsuccessful 2008 gubernatorial campaign that fundraisers should not be appointed to the board. These actions, along with his earlier support of voter ID legislation, solidified his place in CREW’s Worst Governors report.
Stay tuned for information about September’s Scoundrel of the Month.