RALEIGH: Judge to examine NC voter law - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Judge to examine NC voter law

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

 A North Carolina law passed last year that requires voters to present photo identification and eliminates same-day voter registration has been called one of the farthest reaching overhauls to election rules in the country. Now a judge will decide whether it will stay that way.

Lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice, the North Carolina NAACP, the League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union will argue the case against state lawyers over the law in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem on Monday. U.S. attorneys and civil rights groups are asking a judge for a preliminary injunction to temporarily delay implementation of parts of the law. The hearing is a prelude to a trial scheduled for July 2015 where a judge will determine whether to uphold or strike down the law.

Civil rights advocates argue North Carolina has a long history of implementing measures - like poll taxes and tests - to hinder African-Americans, the poor and the elderly from voting. Opponents of the law say it will negatively affect hundreds of thousands of people who want to vote.

"This is a full assault on the franchise of voting," said state NAACP President Rev. William Barber.

The judge in the preliminary injunction case Monday will not rule on whether to uphold or strike down the whole law with the voter ID mandate. Instead, he will decide what, if any, specific parts should be delayed until a final decision on the law is made in 2015.

The group wants a judge to temporarily reinstate same-day voter registration, the longer early voting period that was trimmed from 17 days to 10 days, and allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. They also want polling officials barred from asking voters whether they have valid identification when they vote. The law otherwise directs poll-workers to ask voters if they have an ID and if they don't, provide them with information on how to get one before the 2016 election.

The case is a cornerstone in the "Moral Monday" movement led by Barber. The group will have a rally Monday night following the hearing and has created a statewide network of organizers to a focus on voter education, registration and pushing people to the polls come November.

Many of the Republicans who run the General Assembly were elected with less than 25 percent of the electorate voting in midterm elections, Barber said. Voters didn't expect Republicans to be as extreme as they are, Barber said, and he thinks they can be removed from office - if traditionally disenfranchised voters can get to the polls.

"A key component of the movement is the ability of racial minorities to vote," said attorney Irving Joyner, who is representing the NAACP in the lawsuit. "That creates a power base from which you can challenge the entrenched power that is in place now."

The law's authors and defenders maintain that there is nothing in it specifically barring anyone from voting, making it wholly different from taxes or tests of the past.

Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, a chief proponent of the measure in the Senate, said the overhaul keeps elections honest and was particularly fair in its delayed rollout over several election cycles for requiring voter ID. Parts of the law were in effect in the 2014 primaries, such as a ban on same-day voter registration, and supporters say the numbers show that it did not stop people from voting.

"There was no voter suppression. Actually we had some good turnouts for a primary election," Rucho said.

But the NAACP says those numbers don't speak to the law's impact in a larger general election.

"Our focus is on the turnout of African Americans," said Joyner. "Even in those instances there may have been a higher turnout in Republican campaigns ... that doesn't have anything to do with the turnout of the African-American community."

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 other states have passed bills requiring an ID to vote. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania's version were struck down by judges earlier this year.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Judge's ruling on school vouchers being appealed

    Judge's ruling on school vouchers being appealed

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:29:21 GMT
    A ruling by a Wake County superior court judge that a state program to pay for private school vouchers is unconstitutional is being appealed.
    A ruling by a Wake County superior court judge that a state program to pay for private school vouchers is unconstitutional is being appealed.
  • SBI changes could affect 2016 NC gubernatorial election

    SBI changes could affect 2016 NC gubernatorial election

    Friday, August 22 2014 12:11 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:11:39 GMT
    McCrory quickly named an acting director for SBI Aug. 7, hours after signing legislation that shifted the agency to one of his Cabinet-level agencies, picking another one of his law enforcement leaders to fill the job.McCrory quickly named an acting director for SBI Aug. 7, hours after signing legislation that shifted the agency to one of his Cabinet-level agencies, picking another one of his law enforcement leaders to fill the job.
    A change in who the director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation reports to could have an affect on the 2016 gubernatorial election.
    A change in who the director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation reports to could have an affect on the 2016 gubernatorial election.
  • NC legislators approve regulating toxic coal ash

    NC legislators approve regulating toxic coal ash

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 8:36 PM EDT2014-08-21 00:36:33 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    North Carolina lawmakers have approved legislation they say makes the state the nation's first to address decades of toxic water pollution from residue left behind by coal-burning electricity plants.
    North Carolina lawmakers have approved legislation they say makes the state the nation's first to address decades of toxic water pollution from residue left behind by coal-burning electricity plants.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:30:28 GMT
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
  • Woman Gives Birth To Baby Weighing Over 19 Pounds

    Woman Gives Birth To Baby Weighing Over 19 Pounds

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:39 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:39:10 GMT
    Photo of Akbar Risuddin, a 19.2 pound baby who was born in Indonesia. (Credit: Associated Press)Photo of Akbar Risuddin, a 19.2 pound baby who was born in Indonesia. (Credit: Associated Press)
    A woman in Indonesia's has given birth to the country's heaviest-ever newborn.
    A woman in Indonesia's has given birth to the country's heaviest-ever newborn.
  • Savannah Man Wanted in Connection to Teen's Murder

    Savannah Man Wanted in Connection to Teen's Murder

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:16:14 GMT
    18-year-old Jo'Andre Robbins18-year-old Jo'Andre Robbins
    Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police are requesting the public's help in locating a Savannah man charged in the shooting death of a 17-year-old teen in the Carver Village last area Saturday night.
    Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police are requesting the public's help in locating a Savannah man charged in the shooting death of a 17-year-old teen in the Carver Village last area Saturday night.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.