With less than two months to go before the November elections, North Carolina’s controversial voting law is being fast-tracked to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Charlotte on Thursday. The ACLU and Southern Coalition for Social Justice are challenging provisions in the law that they say place a burden on citizens as they exercise their right to vote.
Jeremy Collins with the SCSJ says they consider it a good sign the court wants to take up the law before November, “We’re clearly optimistic. We are enthusiastically preparing for the oral argument, and we’re excited to place our arguments back before the Fourth Circuit.”
Provisions in the law that eliminate one week of early voting, end same-day registration, and restrict out-of-precinct voting are being challenged on constitutional grounds. Both parties are asking the court to place the law on hold until next summer, until further legal analysis can be done. Collins says if the Fourth Circuit agrees, voting laws would be restored to what they were in the 2012 election.
Supporters of North Carolina’s new voting law argue that it’s needed to combat voter fraud, but Collins and the other plaintiffs aren’t buying it, “It seems as though it’s a deliberate attempt to confuse folks and to disenfranchise a considerable population of North Carolinians.”
Collins says requirements in the new law are believed to have a disproportionate impact on minorities, low-income voters and college students. A recent analysis by Democracy North Carolina found that 400 provisional ballots cast in the May primary were not counted, but would have been counted under the 2012 laws.