Politics

U.S. to Sue North Carolina over Voting Law

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce a lawsuit today challenging voting restrictions adopted by North Carolina after the Supreme Court struck down a core provision of the U.S. Voting Rights Act, said a person briefed on the plans.
September 30, 2013
 

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce a lawsuit today challenging voting restrictions adopted by North Carolina after the Supreme Court struck down a core provision of the U.S. Voting Rights Act, said a person briefed on the plans.

The lawsuit, which the person said Holder will announce at a Justice Department news conference, follows a similar government action against voting laws and election districts in Texas -- a move criticized by state officials.

The suit to be filed in North Carolina will challenge provisions including the state’s voter-identification requirement and limits on early voting, the person said. It also will ask the court to require pre-approval by the Justice Department or a court for voting changes in the state, said the person, who sought anonymity because the plans hadn’t been publicly announced.

The Supreme Court on June 25 threw out a major part of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act that opened the polls to millions of Southern black Americans. The 5-4 ruling said Congress couldn’t use a decades-old formula for requiring all or part of 15 states with histories of discrimination, including North Carolina, to get federal approval before changing their election rules.

The ruling was a “deeply flawed decision that effectively invalidated a cornerstone of American civil rights law,” Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, told the Congressional Black Caucus on Sept. 20. “We will not allow the court’s action to be interpreted as ‘open season’ for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.”

The day of the Supreme Court ruling, Holder said the Justice Department would use “every legal tool that remains available to us” to fight state laws it viewed as discriminatory.

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