How Big Money Wins in North Carolina's Restrictive Voting Bill

North Carolina's restrictive voting bill not only makes it harder for seniors, minorities, and youth to vote, it ensures big money's influence in elections. Here's a look at six measures that are sure to drown out more voters' voices with special interest cash.

July 30, 2013

You might have heard about the nation’s most restrictive voting bill North Carolina lawmakers passed last week. The one Gov. Pat McCrory (R) plans to sign despite admitting he doesn’t “know enough” about it and hasn’t seen parts of the bill. The media has been quick to point out that it institutes a voter ID requirement, cuts the early voting period from 17 days to 10, ends same-day registration, and eliminates rules encouraging young people to sign up, among other curbs.

But it gets worse. Not only do these measures make it harder for seniors, minorities, and youth to vote, it ensures big money’s influence in elections.

According to Democracy North Carolina, the bill:

Ends the state’s pioneering “Stand By Your Ad” law, which requires the candidate or CEO to appear on television or radio and say “I am (candidate or CEO) and I approve this message.” The Federal Stand by Your Ad law was based off of North Carolina’s law.

Repeals a disclosure measure designed to give the public knowledge about who paid for certain kinds of campaign ads by requiring the top 5 donors to a corporate entity from the last 6 months to be disclosed in print media. Repealing the provision keeps dark money even more secret from the public.

Two provisions that will mean outside groups can spend unlimited amounts of money, from virtually any source, throughout the summer against a candidate without disclosing the source or amounts to the public. From the May primary to September 15 of even-numbered years, the public will get no information about who is financing the spending.”

Increases the corporate money that can go to political party headquarters to pay for up to things like personnel, rent, and utilities.

Raises contribution limits from $4,000 to $5,000 per election and indexes the limit to increase every two years to keep up with inflation. It also raises contribution limits for all judicial candidates from $1,000 to $5,000.

The bill also repeals the state’s judicial public financing program, which has helped keep special interests out of North Carolina’s courts.

By blocking certain voters from the polls and drowning out their voices with special interest cash, North Carolina is taking a giant step backward against our nation’s history of bringing more people into the political process. Perhaps in addition to reading this bill, McCrory should read a history book or two.

(Photo credit: Flickr/Bill Selak; 401(K) 2012)