The ink was barely dry on Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s signature before North Carolina’s new voting law was hit with federal challenges, arguing that some of its provisions–such as requiring photo ID at the polls–violate the constitutional rights of the state’s minority population.
“This North Carolina law is not just voter ID,” said Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, one of the groups that filed suit, on NewsNation Tuesday. “It is an omnibus bill that undermines democracy and equality in this country.”
In addition to requiring that voters present a valid photo ID at the polls, the measure quietly signed into law on Monday eliminates same-day registration, as well as a program designed to help high school students register ahead of their 18th birthdays. Additionally, it significantly reduces the state’s early-voting period, which advocacy groups argue overwhelmingly benefited African-Americans.
As Dianis noted, 70% of African-Americans who voted in 2012 did so through early voting. “We know that this law is about making it harder to vote for those who turned out in record numbers in 2008 and 2012–namely African-Americans, Latinos, and young voters,” she said.
Shortly after McCrory signed the legislation, he released a video hitting back at criticism from those he described as members of the “extreme left.” Sirius XM radio host Michael Smerconish called the governor’s response a “gross miscalculation,” one that could severely damage the Republican Party’s brand.
“I’m not sure what the ‘extreme left’ is, but I know I’m not a part of it,” said Smerconish on NewsNation Tuesday. “I’m just offended by this because it represents, I think, a changing, a warping of the rules. And I’ve long believed that in the 2012 campaign, where it was Romney against Obama, that this came back to haunt the GOP.”