Bloomberg News

North Carolina Sued Over Early Voting Law by Women’s Group

August 12, 2013

North Carolina was sued by the League of Women Voters over claims that changes in the state’s election laws restrict early voting, and eliminate same-day voter registration and some provisional ballots.

The organization joined other non-profit groups in the suit, filed today in federal court, in arguing the recently enacted Voter Information Verification Act, signed into law today by North Carolina Governor Patrick McCrory, is “discriminatory and unduly burdensome” to their efforts to increase voter participation, according to the complaint.

The law, in violation of constitutional equal protections, “makes changes to North Carolina’s election laws that will eliminate registration and voting opportunities relied on by hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians in recent elections,” according to the complaint.

The enactment of the Voter Information Verification Act follows a June 25 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threw out the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s formula for determining which states must get federal approval before changing their election rules. The decision blocked a tool the Justice Department has used to halt thousands of state and local voting changes, including identification laws in Texas and South Carolina last year.

Multistate Effort

In response to the ruling, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has targeted Texas in what he said may become a multistate effort in asking federal courts to require Texas to obtain approval from the government or a federal court before making voting-law changes.

Today’s lawsuit, which names members of North Carolina’s state board of elections and McCrory, asks the court to block the Voter Information Verification Act.

Roy Cooper, attorney general for North Carolina, in an e-mailed statement last month said he asked McCrory to veto the bill.

McCrory’s office, which refers to the law as the “Voter Photo ID” legislation said in an e-mailed statement today that “North Carolinians overwhelmingly support a common sense law that requires voters to present photo identification in order to cast a ballot.”

Signing the law means North Carolina is “adopting this and other election reform provisions with 34 states requiring some form of  ID to vote,” McCrory said in the statement. The photo ID requirement will go into effect for the 2016 elections, he said.

McCrory spokesman Ryan Tronozitch declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The case is League of Women Voters v. The State of North Carolina, 13-cv-00660, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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