NC GOP director: Democrats to blame for voting mess

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
North CarolinaGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse speaks about the leaked Democratic National Committee e-mails during a press conference on July 26.

RALEIGH — The back-and-forth of North Carolina’s voting laws has left North Carolina’s county election boards scrambling to adapt, the state’s Republican Party head said Wednesday.By reverting to the voting rules in place before the voter ID bill was signed in to law, N.C. GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse said county board of elections officials are trying to hold an election under regulations with which they’re unfamiliar. Woodhouse puts the blame squarely on local Democrats who fought to overturn the voter ID law.”I think the attitude is the Democrats believe that people ought to be able to vote whenever and however the hell they want,” Woodhouse said. “And there is no Constitutional provision to vote whenever and however the hell you want.”On July 29, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s 2013 law that required voters to show photo ID when voting, ended same-day registration and cut early voting days from 17 to 10, calling the rules set in place by the GOP-led General Assembly “discriminatory.” Conservatives called the law “common sense” and said it helped prevent voter fraud.Gov. Pat McCrory asked U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Aug. 15 to stay the ruling, which would keep the 2013 law in place while the state planned to appeal the 4th Circuit’s decision.An email by Woodhouse to county elections board members asked them to “make party line changes” based on the rules in place under the old law. Reimplementation of the old law takes early voting from 10 days to 17, but also means counties can provide fewer hours and sites than four years ago, depending on decisions of individual county boards. Republicans hold a 2-1 edge in board of elections seats in each county due to their hold on the governor’s seat, but traditionally county boards decide unanimously on early voting procedures.”The Democrats are absolutely going to have to take responsibility for their actions,” Woodhouse said. “And their actions were to block a law that the net result was expanding early voting opportunity. Because all sites had to be open the same amount of time. [The voter ID law Republicans passed] compressed the early voting days from 17 to 10, but you had to have the same amount of hours.”North Carolina Democratic Party communications director Dave Miranda was reached by phone Wednesday, but delayed commenting until Thursday. He had not returned an email Thursday again asking for an interview prior to the publication of the story.Woodhouse also exchanged tweets Thursday with his brother Brad, a Democrat, after the latter called Woodhouse’s actions “blatantly racist.”Woodhouse made clear that the North Carolina Republican Party is a “partisan political organization” whose aim is to advance Republican principles.”The idea that when the Democrats were in charge that there was no partisan consideration taken into account where they selected sites is a joke,” Woodhouse said Wednesday. “It’s a joke. At least I admit it. … We are not going to universally disarm and let [Democrats] lobby for what they want and us not.”In the end, the decision on early voting hours is decided by the counties. For now all involved must prepare under the old law and wait and see if Justice Roberts reimplements the 2013 voter ID law. Woodhouse still holds out hope that will happen.”We don’t think requiring identification, especially when you had several years to do it, is an unbelievable burden,” Woodhouse said.