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Lawsuits challenge sweeping elections law

Posted August 12, 2013
Updated August 13, 2013

— Lawyers for a 92-year-old African-American woman, along with multiple civil rights groups, filed one of two lawsuits Monday that challenge the state's sweeping elections changes just hours after Gov. Pat McCrory signed them into law.

That suit, filed by the state chapter of the NAACP and the Advancement Project, alleges that Rosanell Eaton's constitutional right to vote is threatened by the new law, which requires voters to show photo identification when they go to the polls, starting in 2016.

"North Carolina is the first state since the Supreme Court Voting Rights Act decision to pass a discriminatory voting law," Advancement Project Director Penda Hair said in a statement Monday.

Hair said Eaton was one of the first African Americans to vote in North Carolina and has continued casting ballots for 70 years, but the new law's photo ID requirement would disqualify her from future elections because the name on her birth certificate doesn't match the name on her driver's license.

"With the stroke of his pen, Gov. McCrory has transformed North Carolina from a state with one of the nation’s most progressive voting systems, where we saw some of the highest voter turnout rates of the last two presidential elections, into a state with the most draconian policies we've seen in decades, policies that harken back to the days of Jim Crow," Hair said.

The other lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, tackles provisions of the law that cut a full week from the early voting period, eliminate same-day voter registration and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. 

The omnibus law, which passed the General Assembly last month and was signed by McCrory Monday, also makes dozens of other changes to how the state conducts elections, which will start taking effect this fall and continue through 2014 and beyond. Those include banning straight-ticket voting and pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds.

In a YouTube video statement, McCrory said the new law will safeguard the election process. 

"Protecting the integrity of every vote cast is among the most important duties I have as governor," he said. "It's why I signed these common-sense commonplace protections into law."

Opponents, however, have called it a radical voter suppression law.

"What does cutting back the opportunity to vote early in this state have to do with increasing integrity?" said Bob Phillips with Common Cause, a good government group. "I don't understand it, and I think a lot of people don't, and I think it's fair to ask those questions."

Phillips said he is concerned about the law allowing corporations to make unlimited donations to parties, raising the amount of money a donor can give to a politician and making it harder to know who paid for a political ad.

"Other things that have nothing to do with voter ID, nothing to do with voting, have again been repealed," Phillips said. "I think it's harmful to our democracy." 

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  • junkmail5 Aug 14, 4:47 p.m.

    junkman, tell me that you never heard of the Fact that people were caught Making up Voters Forms and had Peoples name who were Dead.- Bmac813

    I've heard of it from you- but as always you've offered no actual proof to support the claim.

    Maybe you are confusing REGISTRATION forms with ACTUAL VOTES?

    They are very different things.

    How about in Minnesota back in 2000 and there were 3500 ballets found in the Trunk of a car and Franken ends up Wining.- Bmac813

    ... what?

    Al Franken wasn't running for office in 2000.

    Last Year in Florida Col. west winning by 2100 Votes and than someone found 3500 Ballets and after they were counted he lost by 1900 Votes. - Bmac813

    Nope...can't seem to find anything on actual in person fraud in that election either.... got any source or evidence?

    I mean, if folks get caught 'every year' (despite there not being elections every year) you'd have SOME evidence, right?

    Where is it?

  • bmac813 Aug 14, 3:11 p.m.

    junkman, tell me that you never heard of the Fact that people were caught Making up Voters Forms and had Peoples name who were Dead.
    If you never did, Than get your head out of your behind. Every Year it is caught. How about in Minnesota back in 2000 and there were 3500 ballets found in the Trunk of a car and Franken ends up Wining.
    Last Year in Florida Col. west winning by 2100 Votes and than someone found 3500 Ballets and after they were counted he lost by 1900 Votes. Give me a Break.
    Democrats get caught every year.

  • Plenty Coups Aug 14, 2:36 p.m.

    foolmeonce-"Plenty Coups--you know this law would not disenfranchise anyone."

    I do? Actually, there are documented cases of voters being disenfranchised by new voter ID laws. And this law goes a lot further with its assortment of new restrictions.

    " Anyone who needs an ID can get one at no charge."

    You mean the taxpayers pay for it. Republicans estimated it would cost the state millions of dollars to implement this. A waste of money for a state that claims "its broke" when it comes to funding education, mental health etc.

    " And anyone who wants to vote can vote with that valid ID."

    Yes, just make sure you have a ride to the DMV, can wait in line for hours, and can pay for a birth certificate. Then make sure you register well in advance and can wait in longer lines at the polls etc.

    " There is no good argument against Voter ID."

    I haven't seen any good ones for it actually. Zero evidence that it would do anything.

  • foolmeonce Aug 14, 12:23 p.m.

    Plenty Coups--you know this law would not disenfranchise anyone. Anyone who needs an ID can get one at no charge. And anyone who wants to vote can vote with that valid ID. There is no good argument against Voter ID.

  • Plenty Coups Aug 14, 12:12 p.m.

    "My civil rights WOULD be violated if someone's illegal vote cancelled my vote or any other legally registered vote."

    Then one would have to prove that people were casting fraudulent votes that would be stopped by issuing voter IDs and that that requirement, which has no evidence to support it's need, wouldn't disenfranchise the civil rights of more voters. IT makes zero sense to stop 10 people from voting who have the right to vote in order to stop one fraudulent vote. (if even that)

  • Plenty Coups Aug 14, 11:45 a.m.

    offshore-"yeah, you're right... OH WAIT: http://www.bizpacreview.com/2013/05/30/poll-worker-who-voted-for-obama-multiple-times-convicted-of-voting-fraud-73217"

    Great example of absentee voting fraud, exactly the kind of fraud this bill will do nothing to address.

  • junkmail5 Aug 14, 11:36 a.m.

    I am a legally registered voter, vote in my precinct, and have a valid id. My civil rights WOULD be violated if someone's illegal vote cancelled my vote or any other legally registered vote.
    foolmeonce

    Except that's not how voting actually works at all.

    If you show up to vote and it says you 'already' voted you STILL get to vote.

    It's called a provisional ballot.

    Then you prove you are you, and YOUR ballot is counted.

    Nobody can ever "steal" your vote in the way you suggest.

    yeah, you're right... OH WAIT: http://www.bizpacreview.com/2013/05/30/poll-worker-who-voted-for-obama-multiple-times-convicted-of-voting-fraud-73217
    Offshore

    Maybe you should read your own story next time?

    The fraud was ABSENTEE voting.

    Where Photo ID isn't used at all.

    You know- the one place there IS proof of fraud, but the GOP won't do anything about it, because most absentee votes are for republicans.

  • foolmeonce Aug 14, 11:23 a.m.

    I am a legally registered voter, vote in my precinct, and have a valid id. My civil rights WOULD be violated if someone's illegal vote cancelled my vote or any other legally registered vote.

  • Offshore Aug 14, 11:21 a.m.

    You can tell by the complete lack of any evidence you have to support your claim. Which is always the case with your claims.
    junkmail5

    yeah, you're right... OH WAIT:
    http://www.bizpacreview.com/2013/05/30/poll-worker-who-voted-for-obama-multiple-times-convicted-of-voting-fraud-73217

  • Plenty Coups Aug 14, 11:01 a.m.

    "I have a civil right for my vote to count, and if someone casts an illegal ballot, my vote is gone."

    No, that's not how it works.

    " Anyone who thinks that voter fraud isn't common practice in this state is lying to themselves."

    Then there would be actual proof, right?

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