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Here is the Most Extreme Voter Suppression Bill in the Country

Here is the Most Extreme Voter Suppression Bill in the Country

This week, North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory signed what is being touted as the most restrictive voter suppression bill to date. Less than 24 hours later, lawsuits were filed, a senator contacted the DOJ and two local elections boards rushed to make changes to disenfranchise students.

It’s that bad.

The three lawsuits filed, two within hours of the bill being signed, are challenging multiple provisions of the law, focusing on constitutional issues and violations of the Voting Rights Act. The  suits have been filed by a coalition of organizations: North Carolina NAACP and the Advancement Project; the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) and the ACLU on behalf of the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Two allege violations of the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment, claiming “irrational and unnecessary discrimination against entire groups of people” — in this case African-Americans, elderly and students. The NAACP suit also alleges violations of the Fifteenth Amendment for the disenfranchisement of blacks. The SCSJ filed a third lawsuit claiming violation of the North Carolina constitution, alleging that the legislature doesn’t have the power to set new voter qualifications.

The specific provisions of the law that are being challenged are the voter ID requirements, the reduction of early voting, the elimination of same day voter registration, the refusal to count out of precinct provisional ballots and the increase in the number of poll watchers.

Many of these provisions would have required pre-clearance under Section 5 of the VRA prior to the recent SCOTUS decision finding Section 4 unconstitutional. Forty of North Carolina’s counties were covered under Section 4. The provisions are now being challenged under Section 2, which prohibits any “voting standard, practice, or procedure that results in the denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.”

The day after the bill was signed into law, North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to review the new law, expressing concern that it “will restrict the ability of minorities, seniors, students, the disabled, and low and middle incomes citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”

The attorney general has been shifting resources within the DOJ, indicating that he will be using the remaining parts of the VRA (Voting Rights Act). He is currently challenging Texas’ new voting laws under Section 3, commonly referred to as the “bail-in” provision. Under this section, the federal government can ask a federal judge to declare a jurisdiction in violation of the VRA and require pre-clearance for changes in voting conditions under Section 5. Since 1975, nine jurisdictions have been bailed-in.

While these challenges wend their way through the court, districts are already implementing provisions in the law. In Watauga County, the elections board cut the early voting locations from three locations to one, as well as combined three precincts into one.

This means voters will have less time to vote early with more people at fewer locations to do so.

In Pasquotank County, the elections board barred a student from Elizabeth City State University from running for the city council, saying that his campus address was not his permanent residence. Furthermore, the head of the county’s Republican Party stated he was going to challenge the voter registrations of the students at the university and those across the state, now that student IDs are no longer an acceptable form of identification and they need a government issued one with their permanent address.

It should be noted that Elizabeth City State University is a historically black college.

The DOJ has yet to respond to Senator’s Hagan’s request for federal review. It is possible that if they were to get involved, they would explore their Section 3 options. The SCSJ/ACLU lawsuit is already seeking a bail-in under Section 3. The judge will need to decide if the specific provisions of the law intentionally discriminate against minority voters.

Of course, North Carolina republicans maintain this is simply about the integrity of the vote. It’s completely coincidental that the more than 300,000 North Carolinians that are most disenfranchised by the new requirements are  students, the elderly, the poor and minorities.

That’s 5 percent of registered voters. President Obama lost North Carolina by 2 percent.

Every vote counts…which is exactly what North Carolina is trying to prevent.

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127 comments

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5:13PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Well, lets see, some of you are complaining about voter fraud, and illegals voting. I believe the total number of voter fraud cases in the last ten or so years come to like, 10, across the nation, so i guess you could say we have a rampant voting fraud problem in this country. In Pennsylvania, I think the total was 0, yes, that is zero. Obama did NOT win a precinct by 100%, though that would not be impossible. And now for why is requiring a State Issued Photo ID a hard ship for the elderly, poor, students, etc.? Well, you have to have the transportation to get there, the mobility to move and get there, ID to get the ID., and then of coarse, you need the MONEY to pay for the ID. They won't issue it for free. Then there is my own personal case. The last several election cycles, I have been out of town, in some other location, from my registered voting place. So I HAD to place a Provisional Ballet. According to you, if I am traveling due to business, or what ever, I should not be allowed to vote? Is that not the purpose of a provisional ballet, to give them a chance to check my eligibility to vote before counting? Yet they want to deny me my right to vote! Something I fought for and spilled blood for. So you tell me, is it truly right to deny any citizen the right, and responsibility to vote, just for fear for 6 to 10 possible voting irregularities? Seems to me that the fear of voter fraud is a little over blowen, and those most efected are the ones who might be most

2:21PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Republicans are disgusting and everyone of them should be kicked (on their ass) out of office.

10:55AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Thank you for the news, Crystal!

10:53AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Our right to vote is under attack, and we must stand up and demand for the Republicans to stop undermining our democracy and denying us our right to vote. We must vote them out of office before it's too late.

6:21AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Too dam many "coalitions", lawyers, "alleged" violations, challenges ... all under the guise of common good, while in reality opposite views fighting to set precedents and further clogging the court system, causing delay and inability to reach concrete conclusions.

Way to go, seems to be the only thing we've learned to be really good at.

6:11AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Dennis W. Can you come up with something better then that and it's a fact the majority of american citizen's are to damn lazy to get out and vote .

4:37AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

John- good points- I believe all US state ID/licenses DO have pictures. As for using dorm room addys, yes, they could be from out of state. The point is not where they vote, but that they only vote once. So if they're from TX & vote in CA b/c they are in school in CA, who cares? But I'm sure this is why dorm rooms do NOT count & I can understand that. In that case, they probably have their parent's addresses listed as permanent addys. Most people I knew in college did. But IF they were from out of state & their license showed that, they'd have to go back to their home state to vote- an inconvenience at most. I don't see it as THAT big of a deal, but, everyone IS entitled to vote, by law, so long as they are not an illegal. I'm sure we could find ways to satisfy everyone except for those who want voter fraud (illegals & people voting extra times, etc) to continue. Many seem to feel that there should be no ID required whatsoever & since we have some 20M illegals in our country, I guess that means they can vote too...

3:06AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

I wouldn't think students could use the school address as they could be from out of state. I do wonder why they don't require all driving licenses and state ID's to have pictures, that basically would resolve the issue. In the UK you have both the paper and the picture ID that does with the driving license, with a fine if the picture is not updated every 10 years (even though the license is good until you are 70).

2:40AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Bill E - "They do not consider a University dorm as a legitimate residence (even though a Supreme Court decision said otherwise"

Now this part, I agree with. A dorm room, IF that is the address someone is using on a valid driver's license, should be acceptable! However, as we all know, college ID's are often easier to fake than Driver's licenses. Usually to get kids into bars. Anyway, if one has a driver's license registered to a dorm room, then why not? Although most would just have their home address as their permanent address anyway, so I'm not sure how many this would really affect.

Again, everyone has some form of ID for something. And if they don't & can't afford it, then make it easier to get & cheaper for them. Then, everyone wins. But to expect someone to not even have to show a license to vote, tells me someone is trying to get away w/something b/c we show our ID's for damn near everything now days...

2:27AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Robert H- BS! A simple driver's license is required for everything. We've seen video proof of illegals voting & people voting multiple times. Not to mention Obama winning so many precincts by 100% margin- that's impossible, so don't say it's just for republicans to cheat b/c BOTH sides do. Why do you need an ID to buy beer or get a bank account or get a car loan, home loan, etc, but you don't need one to vote? Are you kidding? That's discriminatory? REALLY? HOW? If we were asking people to jump through hoops, it'd be one thing, but to require a simple driver's license (even if NOT to drive, but just ID proof) why is that so tough? If you have a prob w/that then it sounds like you have an ulterior motive. Now, if someone is making it difficult to get such simple ID (which costs next to nothing & last for YEARS) then clue me in & I'll stand behind you, but otherwise, people should have to prove they are a citizen of this country before voting. Plain & simple. Otherwise, why can't I go vote in other countries elections?

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