Federal judge denies motion to dismiss case filed by N.C. NAACP

Federal judge denies motion to dismiss case filed by N.C. NAACP
October 29
00:00 2015

Above: The Dr. Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the N.C. NAACP, speaks to the crowd in Winston-Salem this summer as the N.C. NAACP vs. McCrory trial was going on. (Chronicle File Photo)

N.C. photo ID federal lawsuit will go on

By Tevin Stinson
The Chronicle

A federal judge has denied a motion by the State of North Carolina to dismiss parts of the lawsuit filed by the N.C. NAACP and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice that challenges North Carolina’s voter-identification requirement.

A new tentative hearing has been set for January 2016.

The N.C. General Assembly passed the law known as the Voter Information Verification Act in 2013. The law requires voters to have a photo ID when voting and would go into affect in 2016, during the March 15 primary.

According to the Dr. Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the N.C. NAACP, the day after the law went into the books he began to prepare to file the lawsuit.

Since filing the lawsuit, Barber has been trying to educate the community on what the law means and how it will have a direct effect on minority voters.

Ahead of the trial, Republican legislators passed an amendment that eased the photo ID requirement. The State argued that the amendment made the claim moot.
The amendment allows voters who have a “reasonable impediment” to getting an approved photo ID to use other means of identification and fill out a form that includes personal information in order for the person’s vote to count.

Although they did make modifications to the law, the state failed to make changes to other aspects of the law that affect minority voters.
The 2013 law cuts the number of early voting days, bans out-of-precinct voting and same day registration. It would also put an end to pre-registration for teens who are not old enough to vote.

On Friday, Oct. 23, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder in Winston-Salem told both sides to prepare for a trial early next year, likely in January.

“We are pleased with Judge Schroeder’s decision to deny the state’s motion to dismiss the photo ID provision of the law,” said plaintiffs’ Attorney Irving Joyner. “We remain concerned about the abbreviated timetable to prepare for trial, a timetable that exists solely because of the gamesmanship of the North Carolina General Assembly who waited until the dawn of trial to slightly amend its discriminatory photo ID requirement.”

“North Carolina’s voter ID requirement remains an undue and unlawful burden on voters of color,” Barber said. “Yet Gov. McCrory and the legislature continue striving to suppress the vote. Their desperate attempt to mask the discrimination embedded in this law by altering – yet not removing – the photo identification requirement on the eve of our trial shows that they knew it would not withstand the weight of constitutional review. They wanted the photo ID provision of the law dismissed because they don’t want the court to focus on their discriminatory intent to deny and abridge African American & Latino voters’ right to vote.”

During his State of the N.C. NAACP address during the 72nd annual NAACP State convention earlier this month, Barber said the legislature has chosen to ignore the need of the poor and the common people.

Barber also encouraged convention gatherers to mobilize the Moral Monday Movement across the state, especially in districts of conservative state legislators who oppose the progressive agenda.

“We’re going to put together the most massive get-out-to-vote effort ever seen since the ’60s,” said Barber. “The N.C. NAACP and Forward Together Movement will continue to build coalitions for progress.”

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