Common Cause Applauds U.S. Challenge to North Carolina’s New Voting Law

Common Cause Applauds U.S. Challenge to North Carolina's New Voting Law

As much of the federal government prepared to shut down, the Department of Justice announced today that it is suing North Carolina to halt the state’s breathtakingly restrictive new voting law.

Common Cause applauds Attorney General Holder’s announcement.

(Common Cause North Carolina previously announced its own lawsuit. You can read more about that here).

North Carolina’s new law, passed during the summer, reduces early voting opportunities, eliminates same-day voter registration, imposes a narrow and overly restrictive voter identification requirement, and will penalize voters who cast ballots in the correct county but the wrong precinct. In short, it makes it harder for citizens to stand up and be heard at the ballot box — and we know it will affect voters of color, young people and senior citizens disproportionally.

In making his announcement, Holder said that “the Justice Department will present evidence of racially discriminatory effects resulting from these changes — based on the state’s own data. The evidence will also show that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted this legislation despite having evidence before it that these changes would make it harder for many minority voters to participate in the electoral process.”

The Department of Justice is suing under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) which still stands after the Supreme Court struck down a more robust provision in June. The Department of Justice must prove that the voting changes in North Carolina will result in denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or language minority status.

In the meantime, Common Cause will continue to push Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act in its entirety, so that states that pass these burdensome laws will have to show that their laws are not discriminatory in effect or purpose.