Restrictive North Carolina Voting Law Challenged in Court

A federal appeals court is hearing oral arguments in a case challenging North Carolina’s new restrictive voting law that cuts early voting, ends same-day registration and prohibits out-of-precinct voting.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice are arguing that the law be placed on hold until after the November elections.

“We are asking the court to protect the integrity of our elections and safeguard the vote for thousands of North Carolinians by not allowing these harmful provisions to go into effect,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

The groups say the law discriminates against African-American and elderly voters, violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act. During the 2008 and 2012 elections, more than 70 percent of African-American voters in North Carolina utilized the early voting period.

North Carolina’s Republican-majority state legislature passed the restrictive law in August 2013, just two months after a conservative majority on the Supreme Court voted to gut key portions of the Voting Rights Act. One of the law’s most fervent supporters, North Carolina House Speaker Tom Tillis (R), is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) in her re-election bid this November.