Lawyers from the Justice Department and a variety of civic groups appeared at an Asheville, North Carolina, federal courthouse this week, seeking an injunction that would delay portions of a state voting law from going into effect before the midterm elections this November. At issue are a reduction in days for early voting, the elimination of same-day voter registration and a prohibition on counting provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct. (The most controversial provision, a photo ID requirement, does not go into effect until 2016.) Now a judge will decide if those elements should be delayed or implemented at all.
Last year North Carolina’s Republican Gov. Pat McCrory joined the Republican-controlled state legislature to enact some of the country’s strictest voter laws.
The new laws require voters in North Carolina to have a state-issued photo identification when they head to the ballot box, shortened the early voting period and ended same-day voter registration.
Opponents say the laws’ goal is disenfranchisement along racial and socioeconomic lines. Supporters say it ensures fair elections and prevents voter fraud.