North Carolina Voter ID Law Upheld
A federal judge in North Carolina has upheld a state voter ID law that critics say could serve to hinder minorities from casting votes in the presidential election.
Under the 2013 law, voters had been required to use one of six specified identifications in order to cast ballots unless they could show a reason they could not get one. The NAACP had sued to block the law, arguing that it affected minority and women voters.
The law reduces voting hours, cuts down on the number of available days for early voting, prohibits registering and voting on the same day, bans ballots cast in the wrong districts from being counted, as well as requires photo identification.
“African Americans are 22% of all active voters, but they are 31% of the registered voters who do not have a government-issued photo ID. Seniors are 18% of active voters, but 26% of those without a photo ID. Women are 54% of active voters, but 66% of those without a photo ID,” the NAACP said when the law was passed.
But in his opinion, U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder wrote:
“North Carolina has provided legitimate State interests for its voter-ID requirement and electoral system that provides registration all year long up to twenty-five days before an election, absentee voting for up to sixty days before an election, ten days of early voting at extended hours convenient for workers that includes one Sunday and two Saturdays.”
His opinion essentially shuts down assertions that minority voters are being prevented from going to the polls and even says African American and young voters are actually benefiting from the law.
Opponents of the law strongly disagree.
“The sweeping barriers imposed by this law undermine voter participation and have an overwhelmingly discriminatory impact on African-Americans,” Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “This ruling does not change that reality. We are already examining an appeal.”