For Immediate Release
Groups Charge North Carolina is Trying to Prevent Voters from Participating in 2014 Elections
ACLU and Southern Coalition for Social Justice Seek Judicial Review of Voter Suppression Law in Time for Next Year's Midterm Elections
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice today asked a federal court to hear their legal challenge to North Carolina's sweeping voter suppression law in time for voters to participate in the crucial 2014 midterm elections. In contrast, North Carolina asked the court to delay the trial date well into 2015. The law takes effect next month.
"What is Governor McCrory so afraid of?" said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "If he truly believes in the integrity of elections, he'd want this case resolved as soon as possible. Instead, he wants these suppressive measures in place during the 2014 elections, making it harder for North Carolinians to vote."
Immediately after Gov. Pat McCrory signed the voter suppression bill into law in August, the ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed their legal challenge. The suit targets provisions that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. The groups charge that enacting these provisions would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
"These measures need to be reviewed for their legality and their constitutionality before the next election," said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina. "No person's right to vote in North Carolina should be jeopardized without that judicial review."
The case, League of Women Voters of North Carolina et al. v. North Carolina, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. It was brought on behalf of several North Carolinians who will face substantial hardship under the law, and on behalf of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, North Carolina Common Cause, and Unifour Onestop Collaborative, whose efforts to promote voter participation in future elections will be severely hampered.
"Moving swiftly to resolve these claims is consistent with how other voting rights cases across the country have been tried – more importantly, it’s what the voters in North Carolina deserve," said Southern Coalition for Social Justice attorney Allison Riggs, who presented today's request to the court.
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.