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Democracy NC Responds To Voter Restriction Referendum

REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo

RALEIGH, N.C. (6/29/2018) — The N.C. General Assembly approved a constitutional amendment today that they would require voter identification to cast a ballot in North Carolina. The proposal, which was passed by the Senate today in a party-line vote, will now be placed on the 2018 general election ballot.

In response, Tomas Lopez, Executive Director of voting rights group, Democracy North Carolina, called the vague amendment an “extreme outlier” that puts the power to restrict voting access back in lawmakers’ hands.

“The General Assembly says its proposal is mainstream, but only Mississippi and Missouri have voter ID requirements in their constitutions, and neither goes as far as this,” says Lopez. “This amendment would compromise access to the vote and make North Carolina an extreme outlier. And while lawmakers promise to fill in the details later about what “photo ID” means under this proposal, we should remember that their last ID law was thrown out in court.”

Lopez added, “This is a blank check to people who can’t be trusted with one, and voters should refuse to sign it.”

“This is a blank check to people who can’t be trusted with one, and voters should refuse to sign it.” –Tomas Lopez, Democracy NC

In August 2013, N.C. lawmakers enacted House Bill 589, deemed the worst voter suppression law in the country. Dubbed the “Monster Voting Law,” H589 was a strict voter ID law requiring certain identification to vote shown to be less frequently held by voters of color, and excluding identification disproportionately held by African-Americans. The law also shortened the state’s popular early voting period by a full week, eliminated same-day registration, prevented out-of-precinct ballots from being counted, and ended a successful pre-registration program for 16- and 17-year olds. All provisions were shown to disproportionately impact voters of color, students, low-income voters, the elderly, people with disabilities, and rural residents.

In July 2016, U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the Monster Law violating Constitutional and statutory bans on intentional discrimination, and specifically noted that it “targeted African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” In May 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to revisit the case. Despite findings that H589 harmed voters, since 2017 legislative leaders had threatened to revive voter ID and other voting restrictions.

Democracy North Carolina is already asking North Carolina voters to fight back against this extreme amendment at

Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to increase civic participation, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and remove systemic barriers to voting and serving in elected office.