Still a solution looking for a problem
On Monday, the U.S. Justice Department opened the process of suing the State of North Carolina over its new voter law, which takes effect in 2014.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder alleged racial discrimination as a primary reason for the suit during a news conference Monday.
Under the new law, voters must provide photo identification with proof of name and address must be provided. Additionally, the law eliminates the first seven days of early voting and same-day registration during the early voting period.
But, the main contention is the presentation of a photo ID to vote. The federal government backs its claims of discrimination with a state board of elections survey that indicated “hundreds of thousands of registered voters did not have a state-issued ID. Many of those voters are young, black, poor or elderly” according to a report by The Associated Press.
And North Carolina is not alone in the Justice Department’s accusation of discrimination through new voting laws. On Aug. 22, the Justice Department sued Texas over that state’s voter ID law and is also proposing to intervene over redistricting laws.
We still hold to the thoughts regarding voter ID laws that we have had since its inception in North Carolina.
We believe this is nothing more than a solution looking for a problem.
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina and across the South, contend the measure is required to prevent instances of voter fraud.
However, there have been no significant cases of such crimes.
On the other side of the coin, Democrats suggest the law will do nothing more than disenfranchise minorities and the elderly from voting.
Again, there has been no concrete evidence to suggest that will occur.
And both sides of the aisle are taking up the banner for their respective cause.
“Restricting access to this basic right is simply not in sync with our North Carolina values, and it goes against our state’s proud tradition of eliminating barriers to participation in the democratic process,” said U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-North Carolina, in a statement.
Conversely, Republicans have fired their shot.
“The law was designed to improve consistency, clarity and uniformity at the polls and it brings North Carolina’s election system in line with a majority of other states,” said House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg) and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, in a joint statement.
The issue becomes the proof. There is no proof that there is rampant voter fraud and there is no proof this kind of law disenfranchises voters from voting.
Until evidence is shown, we are compelled to hold to our belief.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.