CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Mayor and lawyer, Mark Kleinschmidt, says bringing the Justice Department into the fight against your state’s voting ID law strengthens the cause in which he believes.
“I believe we could do a good job on our, but we can’t underestimate the impact of having the Justice Department play a role and bring to the litigation the full array of their resources,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “I think it’s going to potentially be very fruitful.”
North Carolina’s voter ID law is part of a movement, including many southern states, of voting laws enacted after the Supreme Court’s decision this summer on the Voting Rights Act (VRA). In late June, the Supreme Court struck down a major part of the VRA allowing laws like North Carolina’s. Texas also enacted a voter ID law and said it would no longer look to the federal government for approval of redistricting.
Currently North Carolina has 40 counties that require pre-clearance before passing any voting laws, but Mayor Kleinschmidt says that is not enough.
“What the Justice Department is looking to do is to bring the entire state now under the Voting Rights Act and require pre-clearance for changes in voting laws,” Mayor Kleinschmidt states. “When we have our state legislature, not just local counties and municipalities enacting discriminatory legislation, I think that it’s wise now to consider the entire state to be subject to pre-clearance.”
The North Carolina voter ID law reduces the early voting period by seven days, eliminates same-day registration, and requires a state-issued photo ID, not including student or out-of-state IDs. And, if you vote in the wrong precinct, your vote will not be counted, whereas before you were given a provisional ballot.
Mayor Kleinschmidt says that this lawsuit will at least slow the process to a point in which more discussion can be had and more information can be presented.
“Well hopefully it’ll mean that in the short term we can (hold) the enforcement and the enactment of this law, until these important questions can be answered and the full depth of the discriminatory effects can be presented,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.
In asking for pre-clearance, the Justice Department will put the four provisions of the North Carolina voter ID law under scrutiny by a federal judge. North Carolina is not the only state to be sued by the Justice Department over new voting laws. On August 22 the Justice Department sued Texas over restricting laws that minorities found discriminatory.