Voting in North Carolina just got a lot more difficult.
On Monday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill that imposes broad reforms on voting practices in the state. Among the changes to the state’s voting laws are a new requirement that all voters must present government-issued identification in order to cast a ballot, a truncation of the early voting period from 17 days to 10 days and the end of same-day voter registration.
The changes would go into effect in time for the 2016 presidential elections.
The Governor justified the decision saying, "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." Acceptable forms of identification would include a state driver’s license, state issued identification card, U.S. passport, or military identification card.
The requiring of voter ID has been a hot button issue in the past few elections, with many liberals fighting against the requirement on the grounds that it leads to voter suppression, particularly of disadvantaged groups. They also make the case that voter fraud hasn’t proven itself to be a problem. In fact, only two cases of alleged voter impersonation are reported by North Carolina’s Board of Elections since 2004.
North Carolina is one of 13 states to pass voter ID laws since the 2010 election. All but one of them are helmed by a Republican governor, fueling the fire between Republicans and Democrats.
Lawsuits that label the new requirements unjust are already underway. Several groups — including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union — are already on the attack, arguing that the requirements will disproportionately impact poor and minority groups and result in voter disenfranchisement.
NAACP President William Barber called moves for stricter voter identification laws a "regressive, unconstitutional acts to rig and manipulate elections through voter suppression," at a press conference Tuesday morning. "These tactics have a disproportionate and discriminatory impact on African-Americans and other minorities. It is about race, an outright attempt to manipulate elections by suppressing voting," he said.