NPR News Reports: Justice Department Planning to Sue North Carolina Over State's Voter ID Law
NPR News has learned that the Justice Department is preparing to sue North Carolina over the state's restrictive new voting law, taking aim at provisions that limit early voting periods and require government photo ID as an illegal form of discrimination against minorities at the ballot box. North Carolina was the first state to enact new requirements after the Supreme Court in June invalidated a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
NPR News broke this story at midnight. The full report is available at NPR.org.
NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson reports that the lawsuit will challenge North Carolina's cutbacks on early voting and same day registration. The suit will also argue that the strict voter ID law hurts poor and black voters who lack an ID and access to transportation.
According to a person briefed on the DOJ plans, federal authorities are expected to challenge four parts of the state law. Those provisions include: the state's decision to cut back on early voting by a week; the elimination of same day registration during that early voting period; the prohibition on counting certain provisional ballots that are not prepared in a voter's specific precinct; and the adoption of a strict photo identification requirement "without adequate protection" for voters who lack that required ID.
NPR reports that, to win the suit, the Department of Justice must prove intentional discrimination, which experts say could be a high bar. North Carolina's governor, Pat McCrory, has said that the law is a common sense step. McCrory points out the law will not take effect until 2016, giving people lots of time to get state approved ID.
NPR Media Relations: Anna Bross
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