Residents in North Carolina are attempting to take the state to court over a new voter ID law. They argue that the new law was designed to specifically counteract the minority vote which threatens the GOP majority in the state.
There has been a growing minority turnout at voting time in the state. In 2014 more African Americans turned out to vote than the 2010 elections.
In 2013 state house speaker Thom Tillis passed a law that curtailed early voting and eliminated same-day registration. The state was then sued by the Justice Department, which claimed the law was discriminatory.
North Carolina legislators, the majority of which are Republican, claim that the voting law is to prevent voter fraud. But according to the NAACP and their Attorney, Denise Lieberman, there is no evidence of voter fraud:
“We have expert witnesses who will testify that the state’s rationale for the law is unsupported, that there is absolutely no evidence of in-person voter impersonation that would justify this law. Furthermore, these laws don’t advance or expand people’s confidence in the voting process, as the state is arguing. They actually reduce it. So the conclusion we must draw is that lawmakers knew what they were doing.”
According to Lieberman, voting pre-registration and same-day registration are extremely important to both Black and Latino voters, the majority of whom vote for Democrats.
Legislators attempted to modify the 2013 voter ID law when it became known that civil rights groups were going forward with a lawsuit. The changes allowed for voters without an ID to vote – but only after jumping through hoops and still not having a guarantee that their vote would be counted. Lieberman said this could still “intimidate or humiliate voters, especially those who have limited reading skills or English skills, and deter them from trying to vote.” Fortunately the case will move forward regardless of these changes.
The 2016 election will be the first with the new law in affect, as courts have refused to delay its implementation until after the election.