Know your constitution: Voter Rights edition

Since state legislators continue to pass bills in violation of their oaths to the state and federal constitutions, it is again time to rearm citizens with the basics of our shared government -- the constitution.

The NC Constitution speaks directly to voting rights and suffrage. In fact, Article VI, Section 1. of the NC Constitution is literally titled "Who may vote." It doesn't get any more plain than that.

The plain text of the NC Constitution:

ARTICLE VI
SUFFRAGE AND ELIGIBILITY TO OFFICE

Section 1. Who may vote.

Every person born in the United States and every person who has been naturalized, 18 years of age, and possessing the qualifications set out in this Article, shall be entitled to vote at any election by the people of the State, except as herein otherwise provided.

The rest of Article VI talks about voter residence requirements and registration. There is nothing in Article VI allowing the General Assembly or anyone else to set up impediments to vote once one is registered.

Again:
Article VI
Section 1. Who may vote.
Every person born in the United States and every person who has been naturalized, 18 years of age, and possessing the qualifications set out in this Article, shall be entitled to vote at any election by the people of the State, except as herein otherwise provided.

At the polls, no law or person can require you to recite the pledge of allegiance, give your mother's maiden name, tell them who is President, tell them your true hair color, sing Yankee Doodle Dandy or any other bullshit excuse to impede or otherwise put up a barrier to you from going into a polling place and exercising your constitutional right to vote.

As if Article VI wasn't enough, earlier in the NC Constitution we have these two sections:

ARTICLE I
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

Sec. 10. Free elections.
All elections shall be free.

Sec. 11. Property qualifications.
As political rights and privileges are not dependent upon or modified by property, no property qualification shall affect the right to vote or hold office.

For more context, take a look at this column written by NC lawyer Press Millen back in April 2013. He does a much better job than I do covering the subject even though his article just focused on voter ID where the bill the General Assembly passed contains much, much more.

From his column (emphasis mine):

The structure of the Constitution defines all the qualifications to vote and, therefore, puts additional qualifications outside the ambit of the General Assembly. Underscoring this interpretation is the fact that the Constitution explicitly allows the General Assembly to “enact general laws governing the registration of voters,” and there are pages of such laws in the North Carolina General Statutes. Voter qualifications, though, are off limits and, until voter ID recently popped up as an issue, the General Assembly had not sought to intrude into that arena.

So take a look at the first five pages of House Bill 589 and note how they are blatantly unconstitutional simply under these provisions of the NC Constitution (let's not even get to the US Constitution yet).

Now, ask -- and make sure the MSM asks -- these GOP legislators why they violated their oath and voted for a plainly unconstitutional bill.

Comments

Previously in the Know your constitution series...

A post about the idiocy of nullification in North Carolina -- a state constitution that pledges fealty to the US Constitution many times over.

http://www.bluenc.com/know-your-constitution-nullification-edition

 

Exemplary Hypocrisy

These clowns who either have not read or can not understand the NC and US Constitutions are the ones who run around screaming about strict adherence to the Constitution and about how they're all "strict constitutionalists" (as opposed to "them liberals"). Of course, they cherry pick their few favorite clauses from our state's and nation's bylaws and scream about those while frothing at the mouth, meanwhile ignoring what those documents say our government must be.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis