Greensboro, NC, United States (4E) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s new voting law requiring voters to present a government-issued photo identification at the polls and other voting limits.
The suit asks the U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina to require pre-approval by the DOJ or a court of the voting law before implementation in accordance with provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Under the Act, the DOJ can sue over voting rules or procedures that “purposefully discriminate” and allow courts to order jurisdictions to get pre-approval for voting changes.
The NC voting law also cuts the early voting period by a week from 17 days to 10 days, eliminates same-day registration during the early voting period, and disallows counting of provisional ballots of voters who vote in the wrong precinct.
Attorney General Eric Holder said in a news conference in Washington described the voter restrictions as unwarranted and racially discriminatory. He said the North Carolina legislature passed the law despite evidence that changing the voting rules would prevent many minority voters from voting.
State House Speaker Thom Tillis and state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger issued a joint statement rebutting the DOJ’s claims.
“The law was designed to improve consistency, clarity and uniformity at the polls and it brings North Carolina’s election system in line with a majority of other states. We are confident it protects the right of all voters, as required by the U.S. and North Carolina Constitutions,” they said, according to Fay Observer.
North Carolina is among 15 states exempted by a June 25 Supreme Court ruling from getting federal pre-approval of changes in state election rules. On July 25, the state’s Republican-controlled legislature adopted the voting restrictions.
The DOJ also sued Texas in July and August to stop the state’s new voter ID rules and voting maps arguing that the changes prevents black and Hispanic voters from voting.