The NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice now have a lawsuit to overturn the state’s new voting laws passed by GOP lawmakers in Raleigh two years ago. The lawsuit claims that voter ID requirement affects everyone from every race, unless they are white. In what they called “Moral Monday,” Rev. William Barber was the first to take the stand. He testified that the new voting rules are not only discriminatory, but, were devised to suppress black and Latino voting.
“This is our Selma,” Barber said in a press release. “North Carolina was the first state to pass a restrictive voting law after the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act in 2013, and it is the worst voter suppression law the country has seen since 1965.
The people of North Carolina are standing up — in the courts and the streets — because we refuse to accept the revival of Jim Crow tactics used to block access to the ballot for African-American and Latino voters.”
The voter ID laws affect everyone equally because they are not limited to a certain class or race, yet for some reason democrats and the NAACP seem to think only white people have the ability to get an ID. According to ABC news over 1,000 protesters marched on downtown Winston-Salem. They rallied blocks away from the courthouse after day one of the trial.
“Thank God for people that still believe in freedom,” Barber exclaimed in an interview Monday afternoon.
“David goes up against a giant. We are going up against a giant,” said Rev. Todd Fulton with the North Carolina Minister’s Council. He likened the NAACP’s lawsuit against the state to the Biblical battle of David and Goliath.
Jamie Cole, public policy and legal coordinator of the N.C. NAACP, outlined her organization’s arguments against the law as local activists and politicians flanked her.
“The law is a calculated effort to manipulate voting rights by targeting the measures that African- American and Latino voters use at significantly higher rates than white voters,” she said. “The measure has a disparate impact on voters of color and abridges the right to vote for people across the state. This is exactly what the Voting Rights Act was intended to prevent.”
The Chronicle reported that the case challenges several aspects of the omnibus voting law, including the reduction of early voting from 17 to 10 days, banning out-of-precinct voting, ending same-day registration and stopping 16- to 17-year-olds from pre-registering so they would automatically be registered to vote when they turn 18. The case also challenges the voter ID requirement that will go into effect in 2016, but those arguments will be heard at a later time because the state made changes to the law last month. Under the changes, voters who don’t have a valid form of government-issued photo ID and have a “reasonable impediment” to acquiring one, can use their voter registration card or the last four digits of their social security number and date of birth date instead. The NAACP case’s main plaintiff is Rosanell Eaton, a 92 year-old black woman who has lived in Louisburg, N.C., her whole life. The lawsuit says that her ability to vote and to help others to vote would be hindered by longer lines and shorter early voting periods. Also the name on her birth certificate and voter registration card doesn’t match her driver’s license, a problem it says would be a burden on her to fix and would’ve prevented her from voting before the law was changed last month. The case has been given to U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder.