North Carolina governor Pat McCrory blasted the Justice Department’s lawsuit against North Carolina’s voter-ID law as “an overreach and without merit.”
In a press conference Monday afternoon, McCrory, who signed the new regulations into law in August, said he thought the lawsuit was “obviously influenced by national politics” because the Justice Department ignored similar laws in blue states.
“I recently saw a video of President Obama voting in Chicago and one of the first things he did was show a photo ID,” McCrory said. “And I believe if showing a voter ID is good enough and fair enough for our own president in Illinois, then it’s good enough for the people of North Carolina.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, challenges four provisions of North Carolina’s new voter-ID law: the requirement that voters present photo identification to vote in person, the reduction in the number of days early voting is available, the discounting of provisional ballots cast outside the voter’s home precinct, and the elimination of same-day voter registration.
The Justice Department’s lawsuit maintains that each of these provisions will have a discriminatory effect on blacks and that the law was passed “with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of African Americans to vote on account of their race or color.” As such, it cites Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to request that the court prevent enforcement of the law, authorize the appointment of federal-election observers, and require North Carolina to “preclear” election law changes with the court.
This is the second lawsuit—the first was against Texas—that the Justice Department has filed against a state over a voter-ID law after the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the VRA in June. The ruling held that the formula the law used to determine which states, counties, and municipalities had to “preclear” any changes in their election laws with the Justice Department or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was based on outdated information and therefore unconstitutional.