On Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that modifies H.B. 589, the state’s sweeping voter suppression law – specifically, the new law amends the provision that requires strict forms of photo ID to vote. In response to the changes to North Carolina’s voter ID requirement, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, released the following statement:
“We know that power concedes nothing without a demand. Last week’s bill to change the photo ID provision of H.B. 589 was a first concession of what we expect will be many as North Carolina’s Forward Together Moral Movement continues to demand full voting rights at the legislature, in the streets, and in the courts.
“Since the start of this fight, we have maintained that the photo ID requirement is discriminatory and should not be implemented in 2016. We have amassed overwhelming evidence that the photo ID requirement, along with other harmful parts of this sweeping voter suppression measure, is illegal. The General Assembly’s maneuver to slightly modify it suggests that there are cracks in the armor – and that they also know that this photo ID provision will disenfranchise voters.
“Voters who have already been burdened by North Carolina’s restrictive photo ID requirement include:
- Rosanell Eaton, age 94, who was forced to make ten trips to the DMV and other state offices, drive more than 200 miles and spend more than 20 hours in order to obtain a voter ID because the names on her various identifying documents did not match her voter registration.
- Maria Del Carmen Sanchez, who has non-matching names on her driver’s license and passport, due to differing naming conventions in Latino culture. These names are also different from her married name, under which she is registered to vote. After making numerous DMV visits and follow-up phone calls, officials finally allowed Sanchez to get her driver’s license to match her passport – but they still don’t match the name on her voter registration.
- Sylvia Kent, whose two sisters, age 70 and 68, lack the required forms of ID. When she tried to obtain proper ID for them at the DMV, she was unable to because of errors on their birth certificates (both were born at home to midwifes, in the segregated South). Despite multiple trips to several government agencies, she has been unable to rectify these discrepancies.
“Make no mistake about it: North Carolina’s photo ID requirement still is an undue burden on voters. After this eleventh-hour amendment, it will take time to monitor proposed implementation and to understand its impact. What we know today is that the disparate impact on voters of color still remains. And the General Assembly has left the bulk of the discriminatory voter suppression bill untouched.
“We must not forget that this monster voter suppression law also shortens the early voting period by a full week, bans same-day registration, prohibits ballots cast out of precinct from being counted, increases the possibility of challenges to voters, and eliminates a successful voter pre-registration program for 16- and 17-year olds. Tinkering around the edges of a massive voter suppression law, which will burden hundreds of thousands of eligible voters, will not make us go away.
“We will continue our fight until all of these provisions—the full voter suppression law, including voter ID – are completely eliminated. And as we go to court next month over the many other discriminatory parts of the state’s voter suppression law, we remain committed to ensuring that North Carolina’s photo ID requirement is not implemented in 2016 and fully repealed.”