By Freddie Allen
NNPA Senior Washington Correspondent
Two pivotal court cases in North Carolina will determine the balance of political power in the state for years to come, and may signal the future of voting rights nationwide, according to civil rights and voting rights advocates working in the state.
North Carolina state legislators passed H.B. 589, which shortened early voting by a week, eliminated same day registration during the early voting period, prohibited voters from casting out-of-precinct provisional ballots, expanded the ability to challenge voters at the polls, removed the pre-registration program for 16 and 17 years-olds and implemented a strict photo ID requirement.
Denise Lieberman, a senior attorney with the Advancement Project, a multiracial civil rights group, called the N.C. voting law “the most onerous voting law in the country” and said that it combines nearly every conceivable voter suppression tactic to attack voting at every step of the process.
Rev. William Barber II, president of N.C. State Conference of the NAACP and the convener of Moral Monday Movement, called H.B. 589 “the worst and the most cynical voter suppression law in the country” and said that the attempts to roll back opportunities put in place to overcome past and ongoing discrimination are reminiscent of the days of Jim Crow.
“We have never seen since the days of Jim Crow the attempt to roll back opportunities and provision put in our voting policies to overcome past barriers to overcome past discrimination and continuing barriers and continuing discrimination. We know that whole premise of this law was fraudulent, because it was the claim of fraud,” said Barber, adding that there has been no evidence of voting fraud in the state.