Justice Department sues North Carolina over voter ID law


The law requires voters to show photo ID at the polls, eliminates same-day registration and pre-registration for students as young as 16, and cuts the early-voting period from 17 to 10 days. Lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice, NAACP, and League of Women Voters will argue for a preliminary injunction against portions of the law in a U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem on Monday. A trial will be held in the case in 2015, according to the Associated Press…The law, 49 pages long, includes a number of other changes to the state’s elections and campaigns, including increasing  the amount of money donors can give to candidates by $5,000, eliminating a one-box straight-ticketing voting option on ballots, and repealing the requirement that candidates appear in their own campaign ads and say they “approve this message.”


Lawyers for the Justice Department and an array of civic groups said the Republican-backed measures were designed to suppress turnout among minorities, the elderly and college students — blocs that generally vote Democratic. Supporters of the measure said they ensured fair elections, prevented voter fraud and no group was disenfranchised during recent party primaries.

Representing the state, North Carolina’s Senior Deputy Attorney General Alexander Peters pointed to the party primaries held in May and said there was no evidence that anyone was disenfranchised. Voter turnout among minorities was up when compared to 2010, he said.

The voter ID requirement included in the new law doesn’t kick in until the next presidential election in 2016, and college-issued IDs won’t be accepted. Peters said delaying implementation of the law’s other provisions would only confuse voters going into November.

“It is clearly not in the public interest to switch the rules in the middle of an election,” Peters said.

The November election will determine which party controls the state legislature and perhaps control of the U.S. Senate as Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan faces Thom Tillis in a crucial race. Tillis is the Republican speaker of the state House who helped push through the voting changes.




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