The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

August 16, 2013

Court to decide fate of election changes

Thursday, August 15, 2013 — Changes may soon be coming to the statewide voting process after Gov. Pat McCrory signed the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA) into law Monday. The act, however, is now being contested in U.S. District Court.

McCrory signed House Bill 589, commonly referred to as Voter Photo ID, Aug. 12, claiming that the new law will “ensure integrity” and “greater equality” during elections.

“I am proud to sign this legislation into law. Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID, and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote,” McCrory said in a statement.

Several civil rights groups have filed lawsuits contesting VIVA, including the NAACP and the Advancement Project, who filed on behalf of African American voters.

The lawsuit seeks relief under Section 2 of the Voting Right Act, which bans voting procedures that discriminate based on race.

“Governor McCrory has transformed North Carolina from a state with one of the nation’s most progressive voting systems, where we saw some of the highest voter turnout rates of the last two presidential elections, into a state with the most draconian policies we’ve seen in decades, policies that harken to the days of Jim Crow,” Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the League of Women Voters, A. Philip Randolph Institute, Common Cause North Carolina and the Unifour Onestop Collaborative filed an additional lawsuit contesting several sections of the law.

VIVA will require all voters to present one of six forms of identification before being allowed to vote, including a driver’s license, a special identification card, a passport, a military ID, a veterans ID or a tribal enrollment card.

A special provision in the law gives voters over the age of 70 to use any form of photo identification that was not expired by their 70th birthday. The identification changes will not take effect, though, until Jan. 1, 2016.

Rep. Justin Burr, R-67, who voted in favor of the legislation, said he believes the identification requirement for voting is a win for North Carolina.

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