By Jesse Wood
Sept. 30, 2013. The U.S. Department of Justice plans to file a lawsuit on Monday to block North Carolina’s new sweeping voter ID law using Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
In a release on Monday morning, the U.S. Department Justice noted that Attorney General Eric Holder “will announce a new action to protect voting rights” at 12 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30. Participating in the press conference along with Holder are acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels and U.S. Attorneys Thomas G. Walker, Ripley Rand and Anne Tompkins.
The bill was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in August and will go into effect for the 2016 elections. The law requires voters to show a governmental ID at the polls; eliminates a full week of early voting; eliminates same-day, early voting registration; and prohibits against counting provisional ballots cast a wrong polling place. It also bans 16- and 17-year-olds from pre-registering to vote; prevents counties from extending poll hours to accommodate long lines; and allows voters to be challenged by any registered voter in the same county, rather than precinct.
The Advancement Project, one organization critical of the law that also filed litigation on behalf of the N.C. NAACP, contends that the bill is “the most extreme voter suppression law in the nation.”
“The DOJ lawsuit is a powerful indictment of North Carolina’s voting law, charging state lawmakers with intentionally discriminating against the state’s voters of color,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “This extreme law stands to disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters, and our lawsuits show that politicians should not get away with it just because Section 5 no longer applies.”
When McCrory signed the bill into law, he called it a “common-sense law” to require voters to present an ID at the ballot box.
“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,” McCrory said at the time.