WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department will sue North Carolina for alleged racial discrimination in a new state law that scales back the period for early voting and imposes stringent voter ID requirements.
The lawsuit is the latest effort by the Obama administration to fight back in the face of a Supreme Court decision that struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, a ruling that has emboldened states with Republican-controlled legislatures to tighten voting rules. On Aug. 22, the Justice Department sued Texas over the state's voter ID law and is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit over Texas redistricting laws that minority groups complain are discriminatory.
Attorney General Eric Holder recently said the Justice Department will not allow the Supreme Court's action to be interpreted as "open season" for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.
Republican lawmakers in southern states state the new measures are need to prevent voter fraud. Democrats and civil rights groups argue the tough new laws are intended to make voting more difficult for minorities and students because they are less likely to have a photo ID.
"This bill is against democracy and our most sacred constitutional value," NAACP President Dr. William Barber said.
North Carolina NAACP activists said Governor Pat McCrory, who signed the law into effect last month, is on the wrong side of history.
"This anti voting right bill tramples on the blood of the modest, desecrates the graves of freedom fighters," Barber said.
"If showing a voter ID is good enough and fair enough for our own president in Illinois then it's good enough for the people of North Carolina," McCrory said.
McCrory said the law he signed in August, puts North Carolina in line with other states in the U.S.
"I believe North Carolina is in the mainstream on this issue and it's the Justice Department that's working in the fringes," Governor McCrory said.