Federal government Lawsuit against the North Carolinas Voter ID Law and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act
As we have already discussed in several posts, North Carolina ratified the North Carolina Voter ID Law, which was finally signed from Governor Pat McCrory in August, following HB 589.
The new law was criticized severely for different reasons, e.g. the elimination of seven days early voting. Massively attacked was also the new mandatory requirement for each voter to prove his/her identity with a photo ID. This will discriminate especially the African American population and thus change their situation to a even worse one, after cutting down some of their (voting) rights through the U.S. Supreme Court decision from June 27, 2013 concerning the Voting Rights Acts (see our post of June 27, 2013: Urteil des Supreme Court: Rückschritt für die Rechte der schwarzen Bevölkerung?).
The relevant section 5 of the Voting Rights Act provided a mandatory provision for mostly southern states (North Carolina – as a whole – not being one of the states of the preclearance list) to get approval from the Justice Department before changes concerning the voting laws could be conducted. The Supreme Court hold in its Decision, that Section 5 was not unconstitutional, but the preclearance itself was. One reason for the latter was, that the list had been too old.
Besides, the two suits that were filed only hours after the signature of the Governor, the U.S. Department of Justice now also filled a lawsuit on Monday October 01, 2013, through Attorney General Eric Holder, trying to defeat the new law since it is “willingfully discriminatory”. Additionally the lawsuit will request a motion to bring North Carolina on a (new) preclearance list.
It remains open how the court will decide, but hopefully the judge/s will decide in the same manner as a state judge in Pennsylvania recently did, who had to rule on the Voting ID law and who delayed the implementation.
und viele Grüße aus Charlotte
Reinhard von Hennigs