RALEIGH, NC (WECT/AP) - Senator Kay Hagan wants the Justice Department to review the "Voter ID" law signed into law Monday by Governor Pat McCrory.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Hagan writes that she is "deeply concerned that H.B. 589 will restrict the ability of minorities, seniors, students, the disabled, and low and middle income citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote. This is unacceptable to me and most North Carolinians."
Hagan goes on to ask that the Justice Department "take all appropriate steps to protect federal civil rights and the fundamental right to vote."
HB 589 makes several changes to North Carolina's election law, including requiring photo identification for any person casting a ballot in person. Click here to read HB 589 in its entirety.
Lawyers challenging the law said at a news conference Tuesday they have a strong case and the totality of changes will be horrendous for black voters. Republicans who passed the bill disagree and say provisions are similar to those in other states. According to a release from the ACLU, the suit specifically targets provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. It seeks to stop North Carolina from enacting these provisions, arguing that they would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Duke University law professor Guy Charles says the plaintiffs face an uphill battle to prevail but some provisions could be hard for legislators to justify.
Click here to see a video released by McCrory's office on his reasons for signing the bill. "North Carolinians overwhelmingly support a common sense law that requires voters to present photo identification in order to cast a ballot," McCrory said in a news release. "I am proud to sign this legislation into law. Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote."
Along with the groups working together to file the lawsuit against HB 589, others have criticized McCrory for signing the bill. "Gov. McCrory pretends to be worried about the integrity of the election process, but nothing will damage the integrity of elections in North Carolina more than this bill," Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress North Carolina, said in an email comment. "By making it harder for voters to vote, Gov. McCrory is putting the integrity of all future North Carolina elections in jeopardy."
More than three dozen other bills passed by the General Assembly are pending on McCrory's desk. According to the General Assembly's website, the Governor has ten days to take action on a bill after it is presented by the General Assembly. If the Governor signs the bill or takes no action on the bill, the bill becomes law. However, after adjournment of the General Assembly, the Governor has 30 days to act on a bill.
Gov. McCrory has raised concerns about some bills passed during the session, namely the Reform Act of 2013. He could still veto those pieces of legislation. The Governor is required to reconvene the General Assembly if he vetoes a bill after the session is adjourned, unless a written request is received and signed by a majority that it is not necessary to reconvene.
Click here to see the entire list of bills pending on the Governor's desk.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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