WASHINGTON (NNPA) – In less than a week, a voting rights trial is expected to begin that will challenge North Carolina’s restrictive voting law. Whatever the verdict, experts expect to ruling to have a ripple effect in states that have passed similar laws in the wake of a recent Supreme Court decision that weakened the Voting Rights Act.
Shortly after the Supreme Court invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act in the Shelby v. Holder decision two years ago, a number of states rushed to pass voting laws that civil rights groups say discriminate against people of color and poor people.
In its decision, the Supreme Court voted to annihilate the Voting Rights Act that required jurisdictions with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to pre-clear any election law change with the U.S. Attorney General or a district federal judge in Washington, D.C.
Rev. William Barber II, the head of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP and co-founder of the Moral Mondays Movement, said that the deliberate, race-based voter suppression law passed by the North Carolina state legislature and signed by North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory is a sin.
“[House Bill 589] violates our deepest constitutional values and our deepest moral and religious values, which demand equal protection under the law and the establishment of justice,” said Barber.
The Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights group, called H.B. 589 a “monster” bill that shortens the early voting period by a full week, eliminates same-day registration, requires strict forms of voter ID, resources that disproportionately affect minority and low-income voters.
The bill also blocks out out-of-precinct voting and expands the ability to challenge voters at the polls, and ends a pre-registration program for 16- and 17-year olds, according to the advocacy group
“The number of voters silenced because of the new law likely exceeds 30,000 and could reach 50,000 or more,” according to analysis by Democracy North Carolina, a watchdog group that monitors elections.
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