More excellent work from Talking Points Memo's Tierney Sneed:
NC GOP Brags About Low Black Turnout–After Lobbying To Limit Early Voting
A state GOP press release on the state's early voting numbers highlighted that African American early voting turnout was down by 8.5 percent from 2012.
Back in August, the News and Observer reported on an email sent by North Carolina GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse to local elections officials urging them to limit early voting opportunities, including Sundays, which are used disproportionately by African Americans, and particularly those participating in black churches' "soul to poll" voter drives.
“Our Republican Board members should feel empowered to make legal changes to early voting plans, that are supported by Republicans,” Woodhouse wrote. “Republicans can and should make party line changes to early voting.”
Since then, more emails from GOP operatives making similar arguments to elections officials emerged. The county elections boards -- which are made up two-to-one of GOP appointees -- were debating their early voting plans for the extra week of voting effectively restored by an appeals court decision over the summer. More than a few of those officials took the state party's advice and proposed plans that would have severely limited early voting opportunities, particularly for black and student voters. Civil rights groups challenged many of those plans, and the state elections board ameliorated some, but not all, of the cutbacks to early voting.
While other Southern states have seen a uptick in black early turnout this cycle, North Carolina's is down, with University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald, noting that "it seems like something went awry in North Carolina.”
Something went very wrong for African-Americans' voting in North Carolina pic.twitter.com/ZpwjyEavmd
— Michael McDonald (@ElectProject) November 6, 2016