The NAACP Says This TV Ad Is Confusing North Carolina Voters

Sep 16, 2014

Sen. Phil Berger 'Protect Voter ID' advert
Credit Sen. Phil Berger

The North Carolina NAACP is calling on state Senate Leader Phil Berger to stop broadcasting an ad about a new voting law. The civil rights organization says the ad is misleading and could keep some from voting.

It's a political campaign spot airing on TV stations in the Triad. And it gives Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) credit for a 2013 law that changed many rules about voting in North Carolina.

"Now," the narrator says, "thanks to Phil Berger, voters must show a valid ID to vote."

Berger himself continues: "Voter ID prevents fraud and protects the integrity of our elections. It's common sense."

The NAACP says that is a misleading statement. Portions of this new law are in place -- such as there no longer being a possibility to register on the same day as the election and the elimination of the option to vote for one party by checking one box. But the ID portion of the bill, which will compel voters to show identification at polling stations, will not be in effect until 2016. Attorney Al McSurely said at a press conference Tuesday that Berger's ad is confusing.

'We want him to put a counter-ad that says, 'I made a mistake. My ad was obviously not clear and implied you needed a voter ID for 2014, and that was wrong.'

"We want him to put a counter-ad that says, 'I made a mistake. My ad was obviously not clear and implied you needed a voter ID for 2014, and that was wrong,'" McSurely said.

The civil rights group is challenging the law in federal and state courts. Ray Martin, a spokesman for Berger, criticized the NAACP for what he called an attempt to silence Berger's first amendment right of freedom of speech, and said the senator encourages all eligible citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote.