North Carolina legislators introduced a strict photo ID bill yesterday, their fourth restrictive voting bill in the last week. The measures add to a flurry of restrictions proposed nationwide in 2013, which the Brennan Center for Justice chronicled in a new voting analysis released this week. At least 75 restrictive voting bills have been introduced in 30 states so far in 2013.
Leading voting rights experts from the Brennan Center, including Democracy Program Senior Counsel Keesha Gaskins, are available for your coverage of voting restrictions in North Carolina and across the country.
“North Carolina is one of the few states to increase voter turnout over national rates in recent years,” said Gaskins, who testified before the state Assembly on voter ID laws last month. “These laws would reverse that progress and move the state backward. It is wrong for politicians to manipulate voting rules for their own benefit. Our elections need to remain free, fair, and accessible for all eligible Americans.”
Yesterday’s bill would require voters to show a photo ID to access the polls, when more than 600,000 registered voters lack a state photo ID. Other new bills would cut down the early voting period and eliminate same-day registration — both of which African-American voters used disproportionately in recent elections. Another would hurt student voters by instituting a tax penalty for parents if their children register to vote on campus.
Gaskins and other Brennan Center voting experts are available to comment on how efforts in North Carolina fit into the larger picture of state efforts to roll back voting rights. The Center has released numerous reports on voting rights, including published widely-cited research on problems with voter ID laws as well as voter challengers. It has also released reports on fixing long lines and modernizing voter registration.
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