DOJ Suing North Carolina Over Voter ID Law

Tara Dodrill

The Justice Department is suing the State of North Carolina over voter ID laws. Eric Holder's agency filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Tar Heel State. The voter ID lawsuit claims that North Carolina violated provisions in Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act when passing the ballot casting legislation.The North Carolina voter ID law reduces the early voting period in addition to requiring photo identification in order to cast a ballot.

Governor McCrory's comments about how similar North Carolina's voting laws are to those of others states appears to be very accurate. The state is one of 32 which currently offer early voting options for citizens. Unless Eric Holder's lawsuit is successful, the Tar Heel State will also be one of 34 that already requires or will require some type of voter ID when casting a ballot. North Carolina and 36 other states prohibits same-day voting registration. A total of 43 states do not allow underage voters to pre-register, according to the Secretary of State website.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a similar voter ID lawsuit against Texas. According to court documents, Holder is seeking to require North Carolina to garner federal "pre-clearance" before making and voting related changes in the future. After filing the lawsuit in US District Court in Nashville, Attorney General Eric Holder said, "By restricting access and ease of voter participation, this new law would shrink rather than expand access." The DOJ wants the federal judge in charge of the North Carolina voter ID lawsuit to instill four provisions into the already passed legislation. The series of lawsuits against individual states by Attorney General Eric Holder follow a Supreme Court ruling which struck down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The law mandated, among a host of other voting regulation changes, the removal of "strict federal oversight" from the election process in Southern states.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory had this to say about the North Carolina voter ID lawsuit:

"I believe if showing a voter ID is good enough and fair enough for our own president in Illinois, ten it's good enough for the people in North Carolina. I believe that North Carolina is in the mainstream on thisissue and it's the Justice Department that's working in the fringes. This new law which I signed in August brings us in line with a majority of other states."

During a late September meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus, Eric Holder stated that he will not permit the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Voting Rights Act to be used as "open season" for the suppression of voting rights by states.

The Voting Rights Act Section 2 reads:

"No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color."

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