The U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s controversial voter ID law is the Obama administration’s latest forceful response to a Supreme Court decision that critics say gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act. By claiming North Carolina legislators “intentionally” discriminated against minorities, the administration has taken up another fight with a Southern state over its voting laws. “We cannot, we must not, and we will not simply stand by as the voices of those disproportionately affected by some of the proposals we’ve seen – including the North Carolina minority communities impacted by the provisions we challenge today – are shut out of the process of self-governance,” Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday.
The North Carolina ID law was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory in August, two months after the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act that required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination, many of them in the South, to seek federal approval before changing voter laws.
Holder called the Supreme Court decision flawed and said the lawsuit will ask that a court impose that “preclearance” requirement on North Carolina.
The Justice Department is challenging a number of the law’s provisions: a requirement that voters show a valid, government-issued ID before casting a vote; elimination of a week of early voting and same-day registration during early voting; and restrictions on counting provisional ballots mistakenly cast in the right county but in the wrong precinct.