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View Diary: DOJ to sue North Carolina over Voter Suppression law (28 comments)

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  •  Here's more from the WaPo and Reuters... (28+ / 0-)

    Reuters notes in this breaking story, which was embargoed until midnight EDT (three hours ago)…

    Justice Department to sue North Carolina over voting law
    By Holly Yeager
    Washington Post
    Updated: Monday, September 30, 12:01 AM

    The Justice Department will sue North Carolina on Monday over the state’s new voting law, according to a person briefed on the department’s plans, the latest move by the Obama administration to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that officials have said threatens the voting rights of minorities.

    The suit, to be announced at a Washington news conference, follows the department’s decision last month to sue Texas over that state’s new voter-identification measure. And it comes after a recent warning from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that the administration “will not hesitate to take appropriately aggressive action against any jurisdiction that attempts to hinder access to the franchise.”

    Under the new law, North Carolina residents are required to show a photo ID at polling places. The law was signed by the state’s Republican governor last month, and civil right groups moved quickly to challenge it. They said that the law’s requirements will make it harder to vote and that racial minorities will be disproportionately affected because they are less likely to have the forms of photo ID required by the law. In their suit, the Advancement Project and the North Carolina NAACP also argued that voter fraud is not a significant problem in the state…

    The WaPo story references the highly-publicized SCOTUS Shelby County v. Holder decision from June which “…invalidated a key section of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act that had required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to receive approval from the Justice Department or a federal court before they could make such changes to their voting laws. But the Justice Department is expected to rely on another section of the act to bring its suit against North Carolina, just as it did in the Texas case.”

    Here’s a snippet from Reuters, which picks up where the WaPo excerpt ends…

    Obama administration to sue U.S. state on voting rules: source
    By David Ingram
    WASHINGTON | Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:03am EDT

    …The suit would ask a federal court to block four provisions of the state law, the source said: the elimination of seven days of early voting prior to Election Day; the elimination of same-day voter registration during early voting; the prohibition on counting certain provisional ballots, which a voter fills out when there are questions about his or her registration; and the adoption of an ID requirement that is more strict than the Justice Department allows.


    Democrats and Republicans fight vigorously over such requirements because they affect voter turnout and may swing close elections. For civil rights advocates, they also echo the earlier, century-long fight to win voting rights for black Americans in the South.

    Requirements for voters to show identification have been the biggest flashpoint. The Justice Department has approved of them in some states, such as Virginia, that take steps to ensure IDs are available at little to no cost, but not in states where it said the mandate would be a burden on the poor and minorities. Holder has compared them to poll taxes.

    The challenge to North Carolina would fall under the Voting Rights Act's Section 2, which prohibits state voting practices or procedures that discriminate by race…

    Both the WaPo and the Reuters articles note that the DoJ (per Reuters) “…plans to ask a federal court to place North Carolina under a preclearance requirement, in which any voting change would require federal approval before taking effect, the source said. Much of North Carolina had a preclearance requirement before the Supreme Court's ruling in June.”

    The WaPo continued to quote Holder’s speech, earlier this month to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, noting that the Shelby County v. Holder SCOTUS ruling is “a deeply flawed decision that effectively invalidated a cornerstone of American civil rights law.”

    At the time, the Attorney General also stated that “…the decision has had ‘a significant impact on the Justice Department’s enforcement abilities’ but said the administration would not allow it ‘to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.’”

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    Here’s A LINK providing an updated overview and graphics on the status of voter identification requirements in all 50 states.

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    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 11:51:42 PM PDT

    •  Is putting NC under a preclearance policy... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... what's been called "bailing in?"

      Kind of sad, but necessary for sure. Even in Jim Crow times only some counties had to clear voting regs with DOJ... Now we will need to put the whole state in that category.

    •  The voter-ID laws don't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, FarWestGirl, smokey545

      actually do anything that would prevent what amounts to "voter fraud, and do place an unreasonable burden on minorities and students (student photo-IDs are no longer adequate under this law either). They also disenfranchise others. Like me.

      The name I've used legally for the 21 years I've lived in NC (and 9 years in Florida before that) is no longer recognized as "legal" under the PATRIOT Act because it doesn't match the name on my SS card exactly. I got my familiar name on my SS card when I originally got it in 1967 using school records. That name is not on my birth documentation, but it is the only name I answered to all my life. Have filed taxes under that and my legal name over the years, the IRS never cared because the number is what counts and SS cards have never been 'official' forms of ID.

      Recently filed for my Social Security because - also due to this quirk in the PATRIOT act since 2004 - I can no longer work outside the home even if someone were willing to hire someone in their 60s. They at first denied my claim due to the name issue, I appealed by pointing out that school records were legal as ID when I got the account, so ought to be just as legal now to prove my identity. They relented.

      So now I have to try and convince the state to allow me the same name and not the legal name I've been using - my 'given' first, my maiden, and my married name - for the past 30 years. Because unless it all matches the SS card exactly, I can't fly, drive, otherwise travel by public conveyance, get a job, get a bank account or anydamned other thing. It's already cost me hundreds, may end up costing hundreds more that I don't have to spend.

      When I check in to vote, they look up my name, ask me if my address is still current, and have me sign the book. Once that's done and I vote, no one else can vote under my name because I'm already logged as having voted. So only one vote gets cast whether or not I have to show 'approved' ID. Obviously, this is pure voter suppression, and it's not designed to prevent "voter fraud."

      •  Oh, but you might be a terrorist (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, FarWestGirl

        or a member of a sleeper cell. Or maybe you like cats. All valid reasons you shouldn't be voting...

        Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

        by bear83 on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 09:52:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Heh. The 'pukes know (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bear83, FarWestGirl

          that actual voter fraud is scarce to non-existent. I consider the check-in on the roll thing to be pretty darned foolproof. Someone might vote early and then forget (or intend to do fraud) and show up on election day. Either they are turned away because the roll says they already voted, or the election day ballot will be provisional. If there are two records of you voting, one of 'em will get tossed. And you might be in trouble.

          If the voter suppression laws hold through next year's primaries and election, I will be voting absentee. As I did before early voting was instituted. They still register the fact that I've voted, and I am still not able to vote again. Unless you show up to vote in the name/registration of somebody who's dead, no ballot-stuffing is going on.

          They just don't want likely Democrats to be able to vote, and that's plenty good reason for DoJ to intervene.

          •  Bottom Line - This is their intent (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FarWestGirl, Joieau
            They just don't want likely Democrats to be able to vote, and that's plenty good reason for DoJ to intervene.
            Nothing in the law is going to stop "voter fraud", because there's not any to stop. This is about making it as inconvenient as possible for Democratic-leaning voters to vote.

            Voting absentee is a good way around all this - right up until they start Florida-style voter purges of "non-citizens" and "duplicate voters".

            Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

            by bear83 on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 10:17:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Same for me. I had to eventually get my (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Social Security name revised to match my birth certificate otherwise Texas refused to give me a driver's license that allows me to drive and vote. Texas outright refused, that's right. Had to be a 100% match. No initials, etc.

        Sad but that's what the GOP wants to suppress the vote.

        Fighting Liberal at
        “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” --Gandhi:

        by smokey545 on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 11:36:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, Lordy! (0+ / 0-)

          I'm hoping I can get the state to let me use the nickname because SS let me do it, rather than to try and get SS to change my name. Feds are SO much worse than state, in my experience. I had to fight 'em for the name they'd already let me use. Changing it now will throw everything into haywire all over again. ARGH!!!

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