Justice Department to Sue North Carolina Over Voting Law

By:  Raven Clabough
09/30/2013
       
Justice Department to Sue North Carolina Over Voting Law

The Justice Department announced today it is suing the state of North Carolina over its new voting rules, alleging that they are racially discriminatory.

The DOJ plans to ask a federal judge to place four provisions in North Carolina’s voting law under federal scrutiny for an indefinite period of time. The law in question shortens the period for early voting and imposes stricter voter identification requirements.

When signing the current bill last month, North Carolina's Republican Governor Pat McCrory declared that the law would help align the Tar Heel State with rules found in many other states: He declared,

North Carolinians overwhelmingly support a common-sense law that requires voters to present photo identification in order to cast a ballot. I am proud to sign this legislation into law. Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID, and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote.

But the Department of Justice asserts that the law violates the Voting Rights Act. Fox News reports,

A person briefed on the department’s plans told Fox News that the suit would claim that the North Carolina statute violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and would seek to have the state subject to federal pre-clearance before making "future voting-related changes."

In the suit against North Carolina, the DOJ is targeting the law’s elimination of the first seven days of early voting and its prohibition of same-day voter registration during the early voting period. The Justice Department is also taking issue with the provision that eliminates the counting of certain provisional ballots by voters who cast ballots in their home counties but not at the correct precincts.

Additionally, the DOJ suit also takes aim at the law's requirement that voters present government-issued identification at the polls in order to vote. The North Carolina state board of elections recently found that hundreds of thousands of registered voters — mostly the young, poor, elderly, or minorities — do not have a state-issued ID.

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