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Today (Monday), Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce a lawsuit against the State of North Carolina over the voter suppression bill passed by House Speaker Thom Tillis and the North Carolina General Assembly:

In the North Carolina lawsuit... the government will challenge requirements in state law that eliminate the first seven days of early voting opportunities and eliminate same-day voter registration during the early voting period...

The Justice Department challenge also is aimed at a provision eliminating the counting of certain types of provisional ballots by voters who cast ballots in their home counties but do not vote in the correct precincts.

The Young Democrats of North Carolina already has a petition online in support of the lawsuit. YDNC was part of the coalition that fought for same-day registration over six years ago, and down in North Carolina we've spent the past 3 years fighting Republican efforts to keep young voters away from the ballot box.

I think we've got a really good chance when it comes to the provisional ballots. Earlier this year Taylor Callicutt penned a piece about everything that's wrong with the voter suppression bill, and one paragraph that sticks out is this one:

This Spring, Lt. Governor Dan Forest railed against provisional ballots, equating them with fraud. Forest also supports the repeal of same-day registration. Forest is wrong – there’s no malice in someone trying to participate in our democracy. Both measures Forest opposes help citizens vote and involve more scrutiny than standard registration and voting. 23,364 North Carolina voters were able to cast a legal, official vote last November thanks to provisional ballots; HB 589 eliminates provisional voting if the voter is at the incorrect precinct.
The press conference announcing the suit is scheduled for 12:00 PM.

Originally posted to Sam Spencer on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 11:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by Good News, North Carolina BLUE, and DKos Asheville.

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Comment Preferences

  •  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
    Reuters
    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.

    FIGHT ALONG PARTY LINES

    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.’”


    #            #            #

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


    #            #            #

    "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:
      bear83

      ... 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:
        Joieau

        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!!!

  •  every once in a while holder throws us a bone (4+ / 0-)

    gj holder, props where props are due.

  •  About time Mr. Holder stepped up to confront the (5+ / 0-)

    forces of repression in North Carolina.  Great news!!

  •  I know the VRA is (was) primarily about race, (9+ / 0-)

    But isn't 'age' a protected class in the eyes of the law?  And isn't the disenfranchisement of students pretty blatantly discriminatory against youth?  Or does it not work that way?

    I guess there's always the Texas argument: "we're not discriminating against minorities 'cause they're brown, we're discriminating against them 'cause they're democrats."

  •  Funny thing about the law. Under the original (14+ / 0-)

    Constitution property rights trumped human rights because, if they didn't some people couldn't have been legally owned by other people. So, the owned had to be more important than oneself and depriving people of property was a more serious infraction than depriving them of their human rights.
    However, when rights (civil and human) are then given (the female and youth vote), they become property and taking them back is an unwarranted deprivation. The law cannot just reverse reality on a whim.
    That's why, although same-gender marriages went unrecognized almost forever, once they were recognized and granted benefits accordingly, the recognition cannot be taken back.
    The same is going to be true when it comes to voting rights. There is a basic difference between non-recognition (of 18 year olds as adults) and deprivation. Deprivation of rights is only legally appropriate as a punishment for crime. Which is why there's this persistent effort to "prove" fraud on the part of voters to justify restricting them from the ballot box. Recently enfranchised populations tend not to vote right. That how they vote is a core concern is evident in the Republican assertion that Hispanic immigrants should be welcome because they are going to vote right. After all, the Cubans did. That the Cuban immigrants were the ruling elites who feared losing their wealth under Castro tends to be ignored by people who perceive "these" immigrants to be just like them. Which they are. The elder Cruz is an opportunist who came to the land flowing with milk and honey and oil to get rich. So, he ended up a Baptist minister, which is the next best thing.
    Our friend up in Wiscons, Scott Walker, is also a preacher's kid. Same gift of gab. Religion or politics -- each rake in the money for doing, essentially, nothing. Hellfire or communists. Take your pick.

  •  Good Stuff (5+ / 0-)

    But I wonder why we aren't seeing state lawsuits too?   The NC Constitution - unlike most - has a provision explicitly barring  the legislature from adding qualifications to vote.   That would seem to be a perfect ban on voter ID.

    Only thing I can figure is that everyone assumes the Republicans on the state Supreme Court would just ignore the constitution and rubber stamp  the law...

    •  I'm not sure they added qualifications to vote; (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster, Joieau, FarWestGirl

      I think it's more like you have to prove you're qualified when you show up to do it (needing an ID, and having to vote in the correct precinct).

      Most of the other new laws "only" have to do with making voting as inconvenient as possible (limiting early voting, limiting hours for polls to stay open, restrictions on what constitutes a valid ID and on what kinds of addresses can be considered "residences" for the purpose of voting, allowing challengers to roam like Old West self-styled Regulators).

      •  But if North Carolina charges for this ID or (5+ / 0-)

        requires documents to obtain the ID that are NOT required to establish the right to vote (per the NC Constitution) then this would seem to be an "additional qualification".

        The article is dated April, 2013 - but I presume a local challenge to the law in NC courts would have to wait until the law was signed.

        •  While the ID may be 'free' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FarWestGirl

          the documents required to get it - birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport, etc., are not. For some elderly voters, birth & marriage certificates may not be available at all. Some were born at home. Some were married far outside NC. And sometimes the courthouses storing those documents burn down or flood.

          Local challenges are underway, but with the makeup of the NC Supreme Court, it's an uphill battle.

          Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

          by bear83 on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 10:02:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The "correct precinct" requirement (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        UnionMade, FarWestGirl

        is made null and void if a voter votes early or absentee. Because the counties may have only one or two early voting sites if their population is small (like mine). The voter rolls used to note that a voter has voted - thus can't vote again in the same election - are the same either way. This is not a problem in reality (because voters can't vote twice), it's just a problem for Republicans who want to keep some people from voting at all. Hence the drastic cut-back for early voting in addition to ID crap.

        I have voted early for the past decade and a half because they moved my precinct polling place to the basement of the First Baptist Church. Where there is a giant mural of Noah and his animals on the wall, and I like to keep my politics and my religion quite separate. Early voting is held at the county courthouse, we usually do it on a Saturday and make a family outing of it (daughter and grandsons live with us, all are registered voters). We never miss a chance to vote, except in the 2008 Dem primary when we were out of state because Mother-in-Law died suddenly.

      •  Sure They Added A Qualification (0+ / 0-)

        It's not enough to "prove who you are" (which could be done in several ways not requiring an id) you have to actually meet the qualification of presenting a specific document for inspection.

  •  good news. (8+ / 0-)

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 05:00:06 AM PDT

  •  As a North Carolina resident, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, highacidity, Joieau, bear83, FarWestGirl

    I am concerned about all of the new regulations; but to me one of the worst provisions is the poll challenges.  If I'm reading this correctly, anyone can challenge any voter and if that means the challenged voter is then forced to vote a provisional ballot, then will those provisional ballots be counted?  There don't seem to be any limits on who can challenge and what the ground rules for challenges will be.  I'm thinking that this opens the door to a lot of Tea Party members who will challenge any voter that they don't think will vote correctly (i.e. Repub).  My Congress-idiot is Mark Meadows so I'm really concerned about his "constituents".  

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