N.C. Sued Over New Voter ID, Reform Laws

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on August 14, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

North Carolina's new voter ID law, along with other voting reforms, are already facing lawsuits from civil rights groups.

The Tar Heel State's sweeping voing reform law will require voters to present one of three particular types of photo identification in order to cast a ballot beginning in 2016. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill into law on Monday.

Almost immediately afterwards, civil rights groups including the ACLU and NAACP filed lawsuits in federal court to challenge the law.

NAACP and ACLU Lawsuits

The NAACP and the Advancement Project spearheaded a lawsuit against the new law, seeking relief under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, reports CBS News. That section prohibits racial discrimination in voting procedures.

The ACLU, along with a number of other groups (including the League of Women Voters), also sued Governor McCrory and state officials.

Both lawsuits take aim at the new law's photo ID requirements, a reduction in the early voting period (from 17 days to 10), and the elimination of same-day voter registration. The groups claim these changes have a disproportionate adverse impact on minority voters.

The ACLU's complaint also targets a provision that would void provisional ballots cast by voters in the incorrect precinct.

Voting Rights Act

Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, states with a history of discrimination -- including North Carolina -- had to prove that new voting laws do not impose a burden on the voting power of racial or ethnic minorities.

However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling greatly diminished the force of the Act and limited the Justice Department's power to block voting law changes in states that had a history of discrimination.

North Carolina isn't alone in taking action after the Supreme Court's decision. South Carolina has also announced its controversial voter ID law would take effect immediately. And new voter laws in Texas have drawn harsh criticism from Attorney General Eric Holder.

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