The US Department of Justice plans to sue North Carolina over the state’s controversial new voter ID laws. The lawsuit will be filed on Monday with a news conference to follow. North Carolina the latest state called to court by the DOJ in recent months over new voter ID laws.
North Carolina’s controversial new voter ID laws now require voters to show a government-issued photo ID. The problem? Not everyone has a photo ID, especially minorities and low-income citizens. In a suit filed by the NAACP, the new laws have been accused of targeting these groups to prevent them from voting.
Critics of the new laws also say that voter ID fraud, not to be confused with election fraud, is not a serious problem in North Carolina. Despite this, Governor Pat McCrory says the voter ID requirements will protect the integrity of the democratic process, reports Politico.
Last month Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Texas would be the first state targeted in federal court. As Washington Post reports, Holder says that the US Justice Department “will not hesitate” to go after states that put new laws in place that threatens minority voting access.
An US Supreme Court decision earlier this year struck down a crucial provision of the Voting Rights Act, Section 4. The Voting Rights Act, in general, aims to promote equal access to the democratic process for all US citizens by placing states known to discriminate against minority voters under federal scrutiny. Section 4 is essentially a list of states identified with a history of discrimination. With this section of the Voting Rights Act gone, the federal government is left unable to provide oversight in these cases.
Despite this, the US Justice Department intends to bring lawsuits against states previously listed in Section 4 if they try to change their voting laws. Plans to sue North Carolina will seek to not only block the state from putting the new voter ID laws into place but to also put the state back under federal oversight.
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