A day after a federal trial on North Carolina’s photo ID voting requirement wrapped up, the president of North Carolina chapter of the NAACP announced a massive effort to register voters across the state. The Rev. William Barber said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday that it is imperative that he and others do everything they can to make sure every voter is able to cast a ballot in the March primaries. Early voting for the primary starts March 3. “On today, we understand that we must fight to overcome burdens as we fight to undue those burdens,” he said.
Monday marked the end of a six-day trial in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem over the requirement, which took effect this year, that voters show a photo ID at the polls.
In a statement Tuesday, state Republican legislators called the federal lawsuits against the photo ID requirement an effort by “far-left interest groups” to block “commonsense policy” supported by a majority of North Carolina residents. The statement was sent by state Sen. Bob Rucho and state Rep. David Lewis, co-chairmen of the Joint Elections Oversight Committee.
“Those who continue to file frivolous lawsuits in an attempt to erase their losses at the ballot box are directly responsible for the increased costs of defending the law — and they should be held accountable to our taxpayers,” Lewis said in the news release. State Republican legislators have said the law is needed to restore the public’s confidence in the voting system and to combat potential voter fraud.
The law either eliminated or reduced voting reforms that voting rights activists say blacks and Hispanics used disproportionately, such as early voting and same-day voter registration. The photo ID requirement, as originally passed, was one of the strictest in the country. Voters need to present one of six kinds of photo ID, such as a driver’s license, to cast a ballot.