Students: Voter ID Law Is 'Unconstitutional'

North Carolina hearing on voter ID law starts tomorrow

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 6, 2014 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – North Carolina's voter ID law isn't just wrong, it's unconstitutional: That novel argument will be heard this week at a hearing where students are joining the NAACP, ACLU, the Justice Department, and voter-registration advocates in a challenge against law HB 589, the New York Times reports. The students' legal reps will argue that North Carolina's law contradicts the 26th Amendment, which states that a voter's rights "shall not be denied or abridged ... on account of age." The amendment also made 18-year-olds eligible to vote. North Carolina's law invalidated student ID cards at the polls and eliminated same-day registration, among other things.

Critics say the state's GOP-controlled general assembly passed HB 589 to disenfranchise voters likely to support Democrats, like students and minority members. But supporters say it's a fraud-prevention effort that's even more fair because it's being rolled out gradually; they also say minority turnout didn't decline in last year's primaries. "There was no voter suppression," a GOP state senator told WRAL. "Actually we had some good turnouts for a primary election." The law followed swiftly after the Supreme Court nixed a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act last year, the Guardian notes. That provision had forced nine states, North Carolina included, to get federal approval before altering voting rules.

A Madison County election worker checks a voter's identification against a voting poll list before allowing him to vote in the party primary in Madison, Miss. on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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