Sunday, July 13, 2014
Charlotte Observer editorial calls on federal judge to enjoin enforcement of North Carolina's new election laws
In the wake of SCOTUS's decision last summer in Shelby County, the North Carolina legislature rushed to pass a series of changes to the state's election laws. In addition to the controversial voter ID provision, the changes would limit early voting and eliminate same-day voter registration and the availability of out-of-precinct provisional ballots. These changes prompted challenges by civil and voting rights groups as well as the DOJ, who claim the laws disproportionately affect African Americans, the eldely and college students.
Last week, a federal judge heard arguments on whether to enjoin the state from enforcing the changes pending litigation scheduled for July 2015.
The Charlotte Observer strongly supports such an injunction. Indeed, in yesterday's editorial, it claims "the judge should block [the changes] until the courts resolve the matter next summer." It states:
The judge should suspend implementation of these new laws. They are ill-advised and unnecessary. Some have already caused confusion and wasted taxpayer dollars.
We noted that last week that lawmakers’ decision to end preregistration of teens to vote was nonsensical. It caused so much confusion about when 17 year olds who would turn 18 could register that state elections supervisor Kim Strach decreed the state will begin offering voter registration services to all 17-year-olds regardless of when they turned 18.
Suspension of the voting changes would reinstate teen preregistration, as well as same-day voter registration, out-of-precinct provisional voting, and early voting over 17 days as opposed to the 10 days set in the 2013 law. County boards of election also would still be allowed to keep polls open an extra hour. It would also forestall the preparations elections officials are making for the implementation of a state-approved voter ID. That law doesn’t go into effect until 2016, but poll workers are already asking about IDs which has confused some voters.