Early Voting

Photo by Taylor Moody

Election time tends to turn the nation into a violent atmosphere yet just as much an exciting one. Most Americans only focus on the Presidential Election, but the midterm elections are actually more important. Midterm elections consist of voting for your state Senators and Representatives, also known as the people who you have a direct voice towards who can benefit you when it comes to the workings of the government. Everyone gets so caught up in the theater that presidential elections have become that the importance of Congress gets buried beneath it all, making midterms “just another election.” But now is the time for action; if you want change, you need to vote. Congress has always been more important than the President when it comes to enacting change, so it is important to vote for those who share your values and who you truly believe will get shit done, especially when it comes to the five amendments proposed for North Carolina.

For those who are unaware, on North Carolina’s ballot for this midterm election, citizens will be able to vote for or against six North Carolina constitutional amendments pertaining to a variety of issues that have created great divide between North Carolina’s political parties. The amendment that most people are really focusing on is a requirement to show a photo ID when voting. This was found unconstitutional in the 2016 elections, so the fact that the NC GOP is trying to bring it back is beyond me. Not only is this discriminatory, but it creates barriers to voter participation by targeting minorities who may not have access to photo IDs. The fear that voter fraud is more likely without a photo ID is false considering the amount of voter frauds in 2016’s election was documented at four, so this proposed amendment is unnecessary and a way to further take away voter rights.

Another amendment proposed deals with income tax cap, which will lower North Carolina’s maximum possible rate from 10 to seven. The state’s current income tax rate is at 5.499 percent, and the News & Observer assures this number will not change, no matter the voting outcome. However, there is still fear for those who could be negatively affected by this income tax limitation, such as public school teachers. Those against income tax find this proposal to be a step forward, however, many people from poorer counties throughout the state fear for their schools and children’s education. By capping income tax, the likelihood that public schools — most of whom are already in poor conditions — would lose even more funding is real and scary. If our education crumbles, so will everything else.

Moving from that amendment, the third amendment proposed contains changes to North Carolina’s election board. As of currently, the board has four Democrats, four Republicans, and one unaffiliated person of whom the amendment is targeting. This amendment is for the removal of the unaffiliated member in order to leave the board equally split and free from a tiebreaker. Because of this, the governor will no longer be able to choose the members on the election board as that power will be transferred to the Legislature. This amendment not only instills a party divide in our state but also threatens for important legislation to possibly never be passed due to an indecisive vote. With only eight members, those voting against important legislation, like public school issues and rights, could potentially be blocked.

If you thought any of those three amendments were threatening, the fourth amendment proposed concerns judicial appointments and is even more frightening. In this amendment, the power to appoint judges will be taken from the governor and changed to a list of appointees presented to the governor from the state Legislature as well as, in other cases, given to the chief justice of the Supreme Court. As someone who identifies as more center when it comes to politics, I have to judge the GOP when it comes to this amendment. It’s public knowledge that the Republicans stray away from government power and focus more on state rights, but does this not directly contradict that? While the power will be shifted to North Carolina leaders in Legislature or the Supreme Court, that still takes away from North Carolina’s elected Governor to make direct decisions. Why elect a governor if you are going to give the North Carolina representatives working in D.C. the authority over major decisions? I personally would rather someone who is in North Carolina to make our decisions, despite the Legislature’s allegiance to our state, making this is a direct attack on Governor Cooper.

The final two amendments do not hold as much momentum as the previously mentioned four, but they are still important nonetheless. Marsy’s law, an amendment that would give more rights to crime victims, is the only amendment I have yet to find a major flaw in. While I see the controversial nature of this amendment, I am not educated enough on crime rights and the proceedings of the judicial. The hunting and fishing amendment proposed will actually make no changes to North Carolina law; its sole purpose is to reel in a particular voting demographic. Since all of the amendments align with the right, hunting and fishing is a tactic used by the GOP to grab the attention of many Republicans, ensuring they are at the polls voting for all six. It is up to you to decide which you will vote for, and it is up to you to make it to the polls. DO NOT SKIMP OUT. This is more important than you think, and just because America’s political climate is seemingly dangerous and threatening, fight for your beliefs and vote for who you want to enact change to your state, your HOME.

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