Heard on the Hill

House GOP Hopeful Compares N.C. Voter ID Law to Excrement

Jason Thigpen, a political newcomer looking to unseat Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., has parted company with his fellow Tar Heel State Republicans over a voter ID change he insists just plain stinks.

"You can paint a turd and sell it as art, but it's still a turd,” Thigpen asserted in a Facebook post denouncing the election tweaks that state lawmakers approved in late July.

North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed the new restrictions — which mandate voters to show a government-issued ID, trims the early voting window by a week and abolishes same-day registration — into law on Aug. 12.

“This is 2013 and any legislator that puts forth such a discriminatory bill should be laughed out of office. This is America, not Russia,” Thigpen argued.

His opposition, however, appears to be more technical than purely ideological.

“I have no problem with requiring a voter to have an ID, but they passed a law without stating which IDs will and will not be accepted,” Thigpen explained to his social media followers in a related thread.

When HOH followed up with Thigpen, he sounded pretty resolute that you can require an ID, but not in a way that's discriminatory. "I do support requiring voters to provide a photo ID in order to vote, as long as there isn't any undo burden or expense placed on the voter in order to do so. Otherwise, it's considered a poll-tax, and although I understand many voters may have an issue with this but the law is simple regarding what a poll-tax is. I honestly believe that any legislation which may invariably reduce voter turnout is a bad thing and cannot imagine what argument, not discriminatory in some fashion, could be made to purport differently," he wrote to HOH.

That uncertainty and the nature of the new rules — “After the Supreme Court (with only one African American Justice) ruling in June, that crippled the Voting Rights Act, North Carolina appeared to be in a virtual race to see which state could ‘roll-back’ the most sweeping reforms against its voters,” Thigpen posited in his Facebook posts — gave the candidate pause.

It also made him angry enough to compare local pols to the Taliban (“Next thing you know, they'll be proposing bills where women can only speak when spoken to and walk 10-paces behind their husband in public.”) and incompetent surgeons (“The passing of this horrendous legislation is like a person going to the doctor with a broken ankle and the doctor amputating their leg to fix it.").

And he doesn’t want to be party to any of that.

“If you believe in your message you inspire people to get out and vote rather than telling them they cannot vote,” Thigpen stated.

He expounded on that in his follow-up with HOH, while also saying the GOP's claims of addressing voter fraud are unfounded. "Let's broaden the base of voters by engaging them and educating them on the importance and need to become involved by voting rather than inhibiting or disenfranchising them from the process. Considering there is no empirical evidence of voter fraud to suggest such a change, that shouldn't be used as a position to frame an argument. And again, what does voter ID have to do with reducing the number of days for early voting from 17 days to 10 days?"

Your move, N.C. GOP.