Court ruling doesn't end fight over voter ID law

Posted April 26, 2016

— The NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday that they will appeal a federal judge's ruling upholding changes to North Carolina's election laws, including a requirement that voter show photo identification at the polls.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled late Monday that the two groups, along with the League of Women Voters, Common Cause North Carolina and others who challenged the Voter Information Verification Act, failed to show that the changes included in the 2013 law violated the Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act.

In addition to voter ID, the law reduced the early voting period by a week, eliminated same-day registration during early voting and ended out-of-precinct voting, among other changes.

"We all know that these measures made it harder for all North Carolinians to vote and in particular African-Americans and low-income North Carolinians," said Chris Brook, legal director for the ACLU of North Carolina. "What we’ve seen in each election is literally tens of thousands of North Carolinians have been negatively impacted by these changes."

The State Board of Elections will begin examining voter data from the March primary next week to determine actual effects of the voter ID law.

"Passing (the law) right after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in June of 2013 ... indicates this law was intentionally discriminatory," state NAACP President Rev. William Barber said in a statement. "We cannot embrace a belief that, if someone goes through Herculean measures to miraculously overcome mammoth discrimination, then the discriminatory obstacles are OK. This is a faulty and dangerous rationalization."

Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, one of the authors of the 2013 law, said he doubts an appeal will be successful, noting that voter turnout has been going up in recent elections.

"I think we’ll be able to show, just as was shown in Georgia and Indiana, that the implementation of voter ID actually educates and informs people more to get involved and actually increases voter turnout," Lewis said.

David McLennan, a political science professor at Meredith College in Raleigh, said the appeal likely wouldn't make it through the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before the November election.

"I think we’re going to have to take an election cycle to really study it to know if it really does discriminate against older people or minorities or whether people adapt to it," McLennan said.

Schroeder ruled that the prohibition on out-of-precinct voting – when a voter comes to the wrong polling place on Election Day – should take effect after the June 7 congressional primary.


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  • Kim Blatchford Tutoring Apr 28, 2016
    user avatar

    Why can't my 20 year old child who is a college student vote on campus? It is not right that college students cannot vote where they go to school. Do they expect college students to go home, which is multiple hours away, to go vote on a Tuesday and miss their classes? Also, why is a college ID not considered valid ID? Legislators who are discouraging people from voting should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Fanny Chmelar Apr 27, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Going on vacation: not a right
    ID to cash MY check: not a right
    Get a prescription: not a right
    UPS to pick up a missed package: not a right
    Heading to the airport: not a right
    Needed to rent a car: not a right "By the way on the NC's DMV web site it states a photo ID for voting is FREE" *

    (*excluding time off of work, transportation and costs incurred obtaining the proper paperwork from the State for the ID)

    I do support IDs for voting. The other parts... not so much. Nor folks who think this is actually about an ID. It's myopic at best.

  • Shandy Scott Apr 27, 2016
    user avatar

    I am against voter suppression. I am sick of suppression. All of this suppression happened to be in less than 24 hours. Going on vacation I had to go to the bank to cash a check and you will never believe what happen, bank suppression they asked for an ID to cash MY check. I left there to go to the pharmacy to get a prescription and guess again, you got it Pharmacy suppression. From there I went to UPS to pick up a missed package I needed for my trip and OMG it happened again parcel pickup suppression. They had the audacity to ask for my ID. Heading to the airport feeling abused you will never have guessed what came next, TSA suppression. Did it stop there oh no. Getting to my destination, I needed to rent a car and yep Avis suppression. Eight hours, five suppression’s. By the way on the NC's DMV web site it states a photo ID for voting is FREE.

  • Craig Elliott Apr 26, 2016
    user avatar

    It's curious that this story receives only a cursory mention when the coverage of the original bill was non-stop.

    I've always tried to give WRAL the benefit of the doubt, believing that their primary motivation was to generate ratings and/or hits, but it's becoming impossible to ignore their far-left agenda.

    WRAL beware: the N&O is dead (...well, coughing up blood, at least) largely because it's extreme-left political stance alienated it's customer base.