Voter ID

Attorneys on both sides of four lawsuits challenging voting rules signed into law by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory this year are scheduled to meet in U.S. District Court on Thursday morning to argue over an opening date for the trial.

The two sides disagree on whether a trial should be heard before the 2014 mid-term elections. The plaintiffs, which include the North Carolina NAACP and the League of Women Voters, are asking the court to schedule for trial in August 2014. The attorneys representing the state are asking for a begin date no earlier than January 2015.

Image of NC General Assembly where lawmakers are considering two controversial bills.
Credit NC General Assembly

The election this week was the last in North Carolina before some provisions of a voter ID law go into effect.

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state over its new law, asserting that it may have a chilling effect. Proponents of the law say it is necessary for an even playing field.

Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said the problem with the law isn't just the provision requiring an ID to vote,

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory has again defended North Carolina's new voting law during a talk at a leading conservative think tank. 

McCrory spoke at an event Monday hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington.  He stood behind the state's new voting rules, which require a photo ID at the polls, pointing out that 32 other states have similar laws.  He also criticized attorney general Roy Cooper for speaking out against the law.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

North Carolina governor Pat McCrory has criticized the federal Justice Department's lawsuit alleging racial discrimination over new voting rules as a government overreach.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the law signed by McCrory in August, saying changes such as restrictions on certain types of ID and fewer early-voting hours would reduce participation rather than expand it. 

NAACP William Barber
Leoneda Inge

The state NAACP has started airing radio ads across North Carolina to educate voters on the new law.  The radio ad features the booming voice of Reverend William Barber – state NAACP president.

“Election day is one time we are all equal, whether you are young or old, rich or poor.  When we vote we all have the same say, that is unless you live in North Carolina," said Barber in this ad.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

As the legislative wheels turn, the Voter Identification Verification Act was introduced, debated, and passed at light speed. It was late July - the last week of the General Assembly’s session - when Republican leaders introduced the sweeping voting changes.

Local County Board of Elections meetings are usually quiet, lightly attended affairs. But in Watauga and Pasquotank Counties, recent meetings have been acrimonious and highly partisan.

Last month, the Watauga County Board of Elections moved a polling site off of the Appalachian State University campus. Across the state, the Pasquotank County Board of Elections denied a college student a chance to run for local office. Both decisions were decried by Democrats as efforts to suppress the votes of young people. Since this spring, all local Boards of Elections are Republican-majority.

Kay Hagan is urging the US Attorney General to review NC's Voter ID law.
Third Way Think Tank via Flickr, Creative Commons

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan says she's asked the nation's Attorney General to look into the state's new Voter ID law.  The North Carolina Democrat says she wanted Eric Holder to examine the legislation signed this month by Republican Governor Pat McCrory.  Hagan says the law enacts restrictions that could suppress voter turnout among minorities, as well as younger and older voters.  Supporters say it's intended to prevent fraud at the polls.  Hagan told WUNC's Frank Stasio those instances barely exist.

This week, North Carolina's governor signed a new law requiring a state-approved photo ID to cast a vote in a polling place and shortening the period for early voting. The move comes just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which had required large parts of the state to get federal approval before changing voting laws.

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NC NAACP leader Reverend William Barber speaks to Moral Monday protesters.
Matthew Lenard

Several advocacy organizations have filed suit against the state of North Carolina after Governor Pat McCrory signed broad-based voting reform.  Earlier today, leaders with the NAACP spoke out against the law. Reverend William Barber said it unfairly targets African-American voters.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it’s going to take legal action to stop the country’s newest — and one of its most restrictive — voter ID laws, signed into law yesterday by Republican Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina.

The new law requires voters to show government-issued photo ID cards, and outlaws college ID cards or out-of-state driver’s licenses as valid forms of identification.

The law also eliminates same-day voter registration, and allows any registered voter to challenge another’s eligibility.

McCrory spoke about his decision to sign HB 589 in a video.
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill today that requires voters to present a photo ID at the polls, despite opposition from Attorney General Roy Cooper. In addition to requiring a form of photo ID for voters, the bill also shortens early voting by one week. Hours after he signed the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a lawsuit challenging the bill.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper
N.C. Democratic Party

North Carolina's Attorney General, Roy Cooper, is taking a very public stance to urge Governor Pat McCrory to veto a recently passed elections law bill.

Among other things, the bill would shorten early voting by one week and require residents to show approved photo identification at the polls.

Cooper's campaign has sent out a mass email to ask people to sign an online petition requesting the governor veto House Bill 589. He says if passed, the legislation would cause expensive litigation and potential confusion.

The North Carolina Flag
xrmap flag collection / commons.wikimedia.org

The North Carolina Senate took an already controversial Voter ID bill and added a host of other restrictions to it this week.

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