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article imageUS DOJ will sue North Carolina over new voting restrictions

By Kelly Fetty     Sep 30, 2013 in Politics
Nashville - The U.S. Department of Justice will file a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina on Monday to stop new voting restrictions signed into law by Republican Governor Pat McCrory in August, according to an anonymous source briefed on the lawsuit.
Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce the suit during a news conference at noon on Monday, according to a report in the Charlotte News and Observer.
North Carolina's Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA) was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory on August 12, 2013. Critics have called VIVA the most sweeping law of its kind.
The lawsuit challenges at least four provisions of the new law, reports WRAL.com: requiring poll workers to discard provisional ballots cast when voters use the wrong polling place; eliminating 7 days of early voting; ending same-day registration during early voting; and requiring voters to show a government-approved ID in order to vote.
Republicans claim these and other VIVA provisions are needed to stop voter fraud. Democrats say the law is intended to disenfranchise elderly, African-American and student voters.
Pre-Clearance and the Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 required several U.S. states and counties to submit proposed changes in voting law to the Justice Department for pre-approval. This process is called "pre-clearance."
On June 25 the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the government's formula for determining which locations fell under the pre-clearance rule was outdated and unconstitutional.
Until Congress updates the formula, no states or counties require pre-clearance to change their voting laws. The Justice Department may still monitor voting laws and file suit when new laws appear discriminatory, however.
Immediately after the Supreme Court ruling, North Carolina and five other southern states previously restricted by the pre-clearance rule rushed new voting restrictions into place.
North Carolina will be the second state sued by the Justice Department over new voting restrictions. On August 22 the Department announced it was suing the state of Texas to stop its newly-adopted voter ID law.
The lawsuit naming North Carolina will be filed in U.S. District Court in Nashville, Tennessee, said the anonymous source.
More about NC elections law, Voting Rights Act, Attorney general eric holder
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