Justice Department sues North Carolina for ‘discriminatory’ voting law



Published time: September 30, 2013 22:14

AFP Photo / Whitney Curtis

The US Department of Justice will challenge a new law in North Carolina that will require voters to show identification at polling places, along with other new measures. The attorney general says the law will have a “racially discriminatory effect.”

US Attorney General Eric Holder said the state’s law posed
“unwarranted voter restrictions” and “defies common
sense.”



“I stand here to announce this lawsuit more in sorrow than in
anger,”
Holder said at a news conference, describing the law
as a threat to the democratic process. “It pains me to see the
voting rights of my fellow citizens negatively impacted by
actions predicated on a rationale that is tenuous at best — and
on concerns that we all know are not, in fact, real.”

North Carolina officials have rejected criticism of the law,
claiming it will strengthen the vote. The law would require state
residents to show an official photo ID at polling places starting
in 2016. In addition to the ID policy, the Justice Department
(DOJ) is challenging measures that cancel the first seven days of
early voting, eliminate same-day voter registration during the
early-voting period, and bar counting provisional ballots cast by
voters inside their home county but outside of their home voting
precinct.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory called the lawsuit an “overreach and
without merit”
in a response Monday, saying the state will
hire an outside law firm to assist its state attorney general in
the case.

“I firmly believe we’ve done the right thing. I believe this
is good law. And I strongly disagree with the action that the
attorney general has taken,
” McCrory said.

McCrory injected state’s rights into his reaction, saying he
would “defend our right to have common sense laws right here
in North Carolina.”

He cited a video that showed President Barack Obama presenting an
ID at a polling place in his home precinct in Chicago as proof
the DOJ’s lawsuit is political.

“I believe if showing a voter ID is good enough and fair
enough for our own president in Illinois, it’s good enough for
the people in North Carolina,”
he said. “I think it is
obviously influenced by national politics since the Justice
Department ignores similar laws in other blue states.”

Illinois requires a government-issued ID at polls during the
early-voting period, not on Election Day. Obama voted early in
2012, thus he needed to show ID.

The decision to sue follows a US Supreme Court decision earlier this year invalidating part of the
1965 Voting Rights Act that demanded jurisdictions with histories
of voter discrimination receive approval from the DOJ or a
federal court before changing voting laws.

The DOJ is expected to use another section of the landmark law to
bring its suit against North Carolina, and a similar suit against
Texas. It will seek to again require North Carolina
to get prior clearance from the DOJ or courts before any further
changes to its voting laws.

Holder said the DOJ will present pertinent evidence that shows
the North Carolina law will discriminate against minorities in
the state.

“This is an intentional attempt to break a system that was
working,”
Holder said.

Copyright: RT