GOP Voter Suppression, Tar Heel Style

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina on Monday signed into law "the single worst voter
suppression law in the country."

Ari Berman of The Nation reported the new state law imposes voter-ID restrictions never needed before in
North Carolina, narrows the early-voting window, places new restrictions
on voter-registration drives, makes it harder for students to vote,
ends same-day voter registration during the early voting period, and makes it
easier for vigilante poll-watchers [i.e., the Tea Party's True The Vote] to challenge eligible voters. North Carolina Republicans Push Extreme Voter Suppression Measures.

The new law was immediately met with legal challenges in federal court questioning its constitutionality. Lawsuits filed after Gov. Pat McCrory signs voter ID bill:

Just hours after McCrory signed the bill, two separate lawsuits
challenging the law were filed in federal court in Greensboro. A third
lawsuit is expected to be filed in state court Tuesday. Congressman G.K.
Butterfield also asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to “take swift
and decisive action by using any legal mechanisms” to protect North
Carolina’s voting rights.

“With one stroke of the pen, McCrory has
effectively reversed 30 years of progress and reinstated practices
similar to the discriminatory ‘Southern Strategy’ adopted by the
Republican Party in the ’60s and ’70s,” said Butterfield, a former N.C.
Supreme Court justice. “Without question, today is a shameful day for
Republicans in North Carolina.”

McCrory’s decision to sign the bill was no surprise. He voiced strong
support for voter ID during his campaign for governor last year.

The
measure turned into a politically explosive issue when thousands
descended on the legislature as part of the “Moral Monday” protests and
many black lawmakers began comparing the bill to efforts to bring back
the old Jim Crow race laws.

Emotions were made even more raw after
the legislature dumped a bill passed by the House after extensive
public hearings, for the more hard-line measure pushed through by Senate
conservatives in the final days of the session with little public
airing.

* * *

A new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm in
Raleigh, found that only 33 percent of voters support reducing early
voting by a week, while 59 percent opposed it. Only 21 percent of voters
support eliminating straight-party voting, while 68 percent oppose it.

* * *

Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Graham of Charlotte, had a different take.

“It’s
another step backwards for the state of North Carolina and a blow for
those who are interested in fair and open elections,” Graham said. “What
this does is set forth artificial barriers for those who have
constitutional rights to vote. There is no voter fraud in North
Carolina. The only fraud is what the GOP is presenting to the citizens.”

In
Greensboro on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of
North Carolina Foundation and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice
filed a suit targeting the elimination of the week of early voting, the
end of same-day registration, and the prohibition of out-of precinct
voting. It seeks to stop North Carolina from enacting those provisions,
arguing it would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate
against African-American voters in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s
equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“This
law is a disaster,’ said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Union’s Voting
Rights Project. “Eliminating a huge part of early voting will cut off
voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of citizens. It will turn
Election Day into a mess, shoving more voters into even longer lines.”

* * *

During the 2012 election, 2.5 million ballots were cast during the
early-voting period, or more than half of North Carolina’s total
electorate. More than 70 percent of African-Americans used early voting
during the 2008 and 2012 general elections, compared to 52 percent of
white voters.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the League of
Women Voters of North Carolina, the Philip Randolph Institute, N.C.
Common Cause, and Unifour Onestop Collaborative.

The same group is expected to file a suit in state court on Tuesday
challenging the voter ID provision, alleging that under Article 6,
Section 1 of the N.C. Constitution, the legislature doesn’t have power
to set new voter qualifications.

Also on Monday, the N.C. NAACP
and the Advancement Project filed their own suit, alleging that the law
violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bans voting
procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership
in one of the language minority groups.

The groups also allege
that it violates the 14th and 15th amendments because it “imposes
unjustified and discriminatory electoral burdens on large segments of
the state’s population and will cause the denial, dilution, and
abridgment of African-American voters fundamental right to vote.”

“Each
of the law’s changes, on their own, would be harmful to the voting
rights of North Carolinians,” said Penda Hair, co-director of the
Advancement Project. “Taken together, this is the worst voter
suppression law in the country. It viciously targets nearly every aspect
of the voting process.”

Barbara Arnwine, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said
during the legislative fight, "This is the single worst bill we have
seen introduced since voter suppression bills began sweeping the
country."

Attorney General Eric Holder's hands are full with the lunatics in Texas, but he did say In a speech last month that his office was going to challenge a Texas voter identification law and made it clear his office would not stop with Texas. Sen. Kay Hagan Calls On Holder To Review North Carolina Voting Law.

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