In 2011, Republican legislators in North Carolina redrew the state’s electoral map in such a way that 28 of its 170 districts were later found by a federal court to be “predetermined,” “race-based,” and unconstitutional. The districts were deemed to be so racially biased that the court is also requiring the state to hold entirely new elections in 2018.
Two years later, state Republicans enacted a set of voting restrictions that a federal court recently overturned on the grounds that they were adopted with “discriminatory intent” and targeted African American voters “with almost surgical precision.”
And in the final months of 2016, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory contested the gubernatorial election with “serious concerns about potential voter fraud.” After he lost the election, Republican lawmakers acted swiftly and unilaterally in a special session to dramatically scale back the incoming Democratic governor’s powers and limit his party’s authority to regulate elections. McCrory, to no one’s surprised, signed the new measure into law.
For these and other examples of gleefully anti-democratic bullshittery concocted by state Republicans, North Carolina “can no longer be classified as a full democracy,” according to Andrew Reynolds, a professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who helped develop the metrics for Harvard University’s Electoral Integrity Project.
Here is Reynolds on the findings from the newly released report (emphasis mine):
In the just released EIP report, North Carolina’s overall electoral integrity score of 58/100 for the 2016 election places us alongside authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies like Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table—a deeply flawed, partly free democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world.
Indeed, North Carolina does so poorly on the measures of legal framework and voter registration, that on those indicators we rank alongside Iran and Venezuela. When it comes to the integrity of the voting district boundaries no country has ever received as low a score as the 7/100 North Carolina received. North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.
“The extent to which North Carolina now breaches these principles means our state government can no longer be classified as a full democracy,” Reynolds concluded.
Meanwhile in the state, protestors are being arrested by the dozen for demonstrating against the legislative coup. They recognize the stakes.
“This Legislature now has been told twice, by the highest courts, you are racist. You have engaged in racist voter suppression and racist gerrymandering.’ They know they cannot win without this,” Rev. William Barber, the head of the state NAACP and leader of the Moral Monday protests, said in a recent interview with Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now.”
“They did that to isolate, stack and pack the black vote, not just to disallow or keep black people from being elected, but to keep black and white people from forming fusion coalitions to elect progressive candidates,” he continued. “That’s what the game was. And all of that is falling apart now, every bit of it.”