Since the Supreme Court’s striking down of a key portion of the Voting Rights Act in June, lawmakers in conservative Southern states have leapt into action passing legislation to restrict the ability of minorities, the young, the poor, and college students to vote. Via Buzzfeed, some of the most extreme changes are coming in North Carolina:
On Thursday, North Carolina legislators passed a revised voter ID bill, supported by Republicans who control the state Legislature, that would will place sweeping new restrictions on when, where, and how citizens can vote.
- The early voting period will be shortened by a week, from 17 days to 10. Same-day registration during the early voting period will be eliminated.
- Straight-party ticket voting will be eliminated.
- Political party chairpersons will be allowed to designate up to 12 poll “observers” to monitor polling locations in order to ferret out voter fraud. Democracy North Carolina refers to these observers as “vigilantes.”
- Sixteen- and 17-year-olds will no longer be allowed to pre-register to vote.
- College and local government IDs will not longer be acceptable forms of identification to vote.
- Out-of-precinct voting will no longer be allowed.
- Counties will no longer be able to extend voting hours due to long lines or other extraordinary circumstances.
Republicans claim that the restrictions in House Bill 589, named “VIVA,” are necessary to combat “rampant” and “undetected” voter fraud. Democrats and voting rights groups argued that there is little evidence of such widespread voter fraud. The North Carolina Board of Elections reports that only 121 alleged cases of voter fraud were reported during the 2012 general election — approximately 0.00174% of the 6.9 million votes cast.