North Carolina Omnibus Elections Bill Signed Into Law, Threatens to Disenfranchise Hundreds of Thousands; African Americans and other Minorities Could Face Disproportionate Impact
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 13, 2013
- Statement by Lawyers' Committee President and Executive Director Barbara R. Arnwine -
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 13, 2013-The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers' Committee) issued the following statement by President and Executive Director Barbara R. Arnwine in response to yesterday's enactment of the North Carolina "Voter ID" law:
"By signing HB 589 into law, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has enacted our nation's most damaging voter suppression law in recent years. Indeed, this bill is a hit list of voter suppression tactics, not just a photo ID bill. It threatens to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters and will likely have a particularly devastating impact on African Americans, Hispanics and other minority communities in the state," Ms. Arnwine said. "Rather than encouraging citizens to participate in the democratic process by addressing problems currently plaguing the electoral system, North Carolina is adding new, unnecessary and burdensome restrictions that will disproportionately hurt voters already facing the biggest hurdles: African Americans, Hispanics, students, low-income voters and persons with disabilities. The Lawyers' Committee is truly dismayed that this draconian measure is now law in North Carolina."
"Low-Lights" of the Bill
- Mandates strict and limited photo identification to cast a ballot, despite the fact that 318,000 registered voters lack a state-issued photo ID card, according to state data. In 2012, African Americans constituted 36 percent of those without state-issued ID;
- Cuts early voting almost in half, despite the fact that more than 2.5 million North Carolinians - 56 percent of voters - voted early in 2012. In 2012, at least 70.49% of African-American voters cast their ballot during early voting;
- Eliminates same-day voter registration during the early voting period, even though more than 97,000 people used it during the general election in 2012 and states that have adopted early voting have had the highest voter turnout in the country. In 2012, 34% of same-day registrants were African-American, despite constituting only 23% of overall turnout.
About the Lawyers' Committee
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law ("LCCRUL"), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2013 as we continue our quest of "Moving America Toward Justice." The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending; community development; employment; voting; education and environmental justice. For more information about the LCCRUL, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.