Ongoing legal battles over voting rights are threatening to complicate elections in some close races with national implications this November. North Carolina and Arkansas are both home to contests that will help decide which party controls the Senate next year. They also have impending legal challenges to changes in voter laws. The same goes for Wisconsin, which is home to one of the country’s most closely watched governor’s races, and Texas. Civil rights groups argue that new Republican-supported voter ID laws passed in some states are meant to keep minorities, who largely support Democrats, from the polls. And voter advocacy groups say the litany of lawsuits that have resulted from the regulations will lead to confusion for both poll workers and voters.
But Republican legislators argue voter identification is necessary to avoid fraud at the ballot box, and limiting early voting keeps costs down for taxpayers.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld a request by Ohio Republicans to reduce the number of days voters can cast their ballots ahead of Election Day, a decision Attorney General Eric Holder called “a major step backwards.” The Court may also weigh in on the Wisconsin and North Carolina laws before Election Day.