Statement from Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director
Washington, D.C., April 26, 2016 – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) is disappointed by today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, which upheld the North Carolina’s monster voter suppression law (H.B. 589). The law unnecessarily requires voters to show prescribed forms of photo identification at the polls, decreases the number of early voting days, and also eliminates pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds, same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting.
“This law drastically impedes access to the ballot box for all North Carolinians, particularly for African-American voters,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The Lawyers’ Committee has seen the impact through our Election Protection program, as eligible voters have reported being turned away at the polls for not having the requisite photo identification. North Carolina once stood as a model for reform, but now stands as a poster child when it comes to states that are making it harder for voters to participate in our democracy. As the ruling concerning these restrictive measures is appealed, we will continue our work to make North Carolina a place where voters are able to freely exercise the right to vote.”
The preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act, which was suspended following the 2013 Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, had worked to block and deter discriminatory voting changes like H.B. 589. The state’s implementation of this law following the Supreme Court’s ruling underscores the urgent need for Congress to take action to restore this core provision of the Voting Rights Act. The Lawyers’ Committee applauds the effort to appeal the court’s ruling and stands with its coalition allies in opposing H.B. 589.