Late Monday, a federal district judge upheld one of the most regressive and restrictive voting laws in the country — a 2013 North Carolina law that eliminated same-day voter registration and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds; cut back on early voting by a week; barred counting votes cast outside voters’ home precincts; and required voters to show identification at the polls. State lawmakers said these changes were necessary to reduce fraud and inefficiency in elections — though there is no evidence of voter fraud to combat or inefficiency to cure. The Justice Department, the American Civil Liberties Union, the N.A.A.C.P. and the Advancement Project, among others, sued on the grounds that the law illegally discriminates against minority voters.
Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, accepted the state’s baseless rationales for the law, even as he dismissed or ignored the obvious political realities behind its passage. The law was a Republican-led rollback of several measures passed during the previous 15 years to make voting easier, and it was drafted with the purpose of driving down the vote among minorities, the poor, students and other groups that tend to vote Democratic.
It was pushed forward by the Legislature one day after the disgraceful Supreme Court ruling that struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act, freeing North Carolina and other states with histories of voting discrimination from federal oversight. Had that provision been left in place, the North Carolina law would very likely have been blocked.
Full Article: Voting Rights Lose in North Carolina – The New York Times.