The state NAACP and other civil rights groups want a federal judge to block what they call the worst voter suppression bill since the days of Jim Crow. “The reality is that this monster voter suppression law was passed a few weeks after Shelby,” said the Rev. William Barber, the president of the state NAACP, in a conference call Tuesday. Barber was referring to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act that required states and other communities to seek federal approval for changes in voting laws. Forty counties in North Carolina had been under the Section 5 requirement. The law, officially known as the Voter Information Verification Act, includes a number of provisions. The most well-known is a requirement that voters present a photo ID, beginning in 2016, but it also reduces the number of days for early voting from 17 to 10, eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting and prohibits county elections officials from counting ballots cast by voters in the right county but wrong precinct.
On Monday, attorneys representing a number of plaintiffs, including the state NAACP, will argue for a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking place during the Nov. 4 general election. They argue that the new laws are racially discriminatory and disproportionately have an impact on black and Hispanic voters.
Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, said in the conference call that the preliminary injunction is needed because a trial on three lawsuits against the law won’t take place until 2015.
“This is a chance to block this (law) for November,” she said. “We want to ensure these voter stories are heard now.”
In motions for a preliminary injunction, opponents argue that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 14th and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.