It has been three months since the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the ruling which essentially swung open the door to state-level voter suppression. And while the ball may be in Congress’ court to rewrite Section 4, the Justice Department is stepping in for the meantime.
On Monday afternoon, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department would sue the state of North Carolina over the state’s new voting laws, which, among other things requires voters to show government-issued photo ID, cuts early voting in half, and eliminates same-day voter registration.
“We stand here more in sorry than in anger,” Holder said. ”In challenging this law,” he continued, “the Justice Department will present evidence of the racially discriminatory effect” of the restrictions.
According to data out of North Carolina, the voter ID requirement would have a disproportionate effect on black voter turnout. State estimates put the number of registered voters without government ID at 300,000–34 percent of whom are black voters.
But it’s not just that North Carolina’s law would disproportionately affect minority voters; it’s also a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Voter ID laws are aimed at fixing the problem of voter fraud, but since 2000, there have been only 10 cases of in-person voter impersonation, according to one estimate–that’s one in every 15 million prospective voters.
At his press conference today,Holder called concerns over voter fraud “made up.”