North Carolina in a Hurry to Suppress Black Votes?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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North Carolina lawmakers are gearing up to pass a number of new voting restrictions that would have required federal approval before the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act last week.

Despite the long lines created in Florida and Ohio after early voting was restricted, Republicans want to eliminate early voting in North Carolina, as well as Sunday voting hours and same-day registration provisions.

The GOP is pushing a bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Cook, R-N.C., that would even penalize college students who choose to vote at school rather than in their parents’ home district by raising taxes on their family.

The Republican voter ID bill would require identification be shown at the polls. ThinkProgress reported that requirement would be a problem for 1 in 10 voters. According to the State Board of Elections, 613,000 citizens in North Carolina do not have a government-issued ID that would be required to vote if the bill passes.

Allison Riggs, the staff attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, told the Los Angeles Times that the restrictions are meant to compartmentalize black votes into one district, while bolstering the voting strength of nearby districts. She referred to the district gerrymandering as "a cynical strategy to disenfranchise blacks."

Riggs said North Carolina’s push to institute these voting restrictions are the first sign that the Supreme Court’s ruling will have "a demonstrably negative impact on voters of color.”

Rosanell Eaton, 92, told the LA Times that she remembers what casting a ballot in North Carolina was like before the Voting Rights Act. She said last week’s ruling "starts taking us right back to the old days.”

"Now it's easier for these Republicans to do anything they want to us, without the controls we had,” Eaton said.

Sources: Huffington Post, ThinkProgress, LA Times