NEW YORK –If you listen to WCHL in the afternoon, you’re likely to hear national radio talk show host Ed Schultz, and if you listened on Tuesday, Schultz once again took time to focus on North Carolina—this time, the state’s new voter I.D. law.
Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law on Monday which, among other things, requires voters to show a government-issued photo I.D. before voting. Schultz points out that this is the first bill dealing with voting signed into law since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act.
“North Carolina has been the first state to step forward and do something which I consider to be very radical, on new voting restrictions,” Schultz says.
Schultz was joined by Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist and a senior fellow at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Schrum says that North Carolina’s voting reform was passed to limit the voting of individuals who are less likely to support Republicans in elections.
“They are losing the battle for the future demographics of America. They’re losing young people, they’re losing minorities,” Shrum says. “They’re going to try to hold this off for a while, hold off the demographic wave, by keeping people from voting.”
Schultz and Shrum both particularly focused on a part of North Carolina’s new voting law that prevents 17-year-olds who would be 18 by Election Day from preregistering, which Shrum says is unconstitutional.
“They don’t want young people to vote because the Republican Party has lost young people. It’s lost young people because of its position on social issues. It’s lost young people because of its position on student loans and economic fairness,” Shrum says. “You just go down the list.”
Before the Supreme Court’s decision in June, North Carolina would have needed federal approval before it implemented changes to voting such as these.
The Justice Department still has the authority to sue states if it believes those states are passing discriminatory voting policies, and on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to sue to prevent North Carolina’s voting law from taking effect.