This morning, residents of North Carolina are taking the state to court, arguing that GOP legislators in the state have intentionally designed a new voter ID law to marginalize the growing presence of minority turnout, which increasingly threatens the Republican majority in Raleigh.
The state is claiming that the law was passed to prevent voter fraud, though there is no evidence of widespread fraud at the ballot box. Attorney Denise Lieberman with the Advancement Project, which is representing the North Carolina NAACP in this case, told ThinkProgress that the state lawmakers who debated and passed the ID law knew it would place a disproportionate burden on African American and Latino voters.
“This is illuminated by the fact that there’s no legitimate basis for having this law,” she said. “We have expert witnesses who will testify that the state’s rationale for the law is unsupported, that there is absolutely no evidence of in-person voter impersonation that would justify this law. Furthermore, these laws don’t advance or expand people’s confidence in the voting process, as the state is arguing. They actually reduce it. So the conclusion we must draw is that lawmakers knew what they were doing.”
Lieberman and her colleagues plan to argue that this 2013 law was in part a backlash against the“increased political power” of voters of color in the state. Over the past few decades, both the number of residents of color and the percentage of them who showed up to vote have increased exponentially, thanks in large part to a series of laws making it easier to vote.