N.C. NAACP concerned with voter ID reversal

N.C. NAACP concerned with voter ID reversal
March 02
06:00 2017



It’s not as if it wasn’t expected once conservative former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions took over as U.S. attorney general, but still, there has been an abundance of concern since Monday when the U.S. Justice Department announced  that it was reversing its “longstanding position,” according to the Washington Post, “… that Texas intended to discriminate when it passed a strict voter ID law.”

Under the Obama Administration, the U.S. Justice Department has always been on the side of those challenging voting rights violations, including here in North Carolina.

Even though the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that North Carolina’s 2013 voter ID law was unconstitutional because it suppressed the black vote “with surgical precision,” there is concern because state Republican legislative leaders want the U.S. Supreme Court, which will soon have a conservative majority again once President Donald Trump’s nominee is confirmed, to review lower court rulings striking down voter ID and redistricting, in hopes of a reversal.

To N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber II and N.C. NAACP Legal Redress Committee Chair Attorney Irv Joyner, two people who have been on the front lines of battling North Carolina’s voter suppression, the latest news from the Trump administration does not bode well for North Carolina’s voting rights.

“It’s bad,” Rev. Barber said Tuesday. “For the United States Department of Justice to become adversarial to voting rights and the power of the office to be used in the defense of voter suppression is dangerous to our democracy. This is systemic racism, and if US Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions seeks to go backward in a time of the worst attacks on voting rights since Jim Crow, then he is the racist we knew he was.“

Rev. Barber continued, “Jeff Sessions has done nothing to restore the VRA (Voting Rights Act) which is just one reason he should have never been confirmed. We can still win cases in the courts because of the Constitution, but to have the Dept of Justice as a adversary in our fight against voter suppression, is un-American and immoral.”

Attorney Joyner has led many of the key court cases to overturn North Carolina’s voter ID law. Many times, the Obama Justice Dept. was a willing partner.

But now….

“It is not a surprise that the U.S. Justice Department, which is now under the control of an ultra-conservative Trump administration, has changed its position in the Texas Case which is also pending before the Supreme Court,” Joyner says.

“We expect the Justice Department will do the same as it relates to their support of our cases here in North Carolina. Our cases, however, are not dependent upon the support or agreement of the U.S. Justice Department, but are based upon established United States constitutional precedents and laws.”

“We realize that the Trump Administration and the Berger (state Senate Leader) and Miller (state House Leader) are doing everything in their powers to stack the deck against the commands of the law,” Joyner continued. “Despite this, we are eagerly moving forward in our fight to save the voting rights of African-Americans and other people of color. This is a fight that we must have and is the fight that we must win for the people.”

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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