U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Monday that the Obama administration will sue the state of North Carolina over a series of new laws aimed at curbing voter fraud.
Holder said the new laws, which reduce early voting days and require voters to present identification when casting their ballots, amount to racial discrimination.
“The Justice Department expects to show that the clear and intended effects of these changes would contract the electorate and result in unequal access to participation in the political process on account of race,” Holder said Monday at a press conference.
“By restricting access and ease of voter participation, this new law would shrink, rather than expand, access to the franchise,” he continued. “Allowing limits on voting rights that disproportionately exclude minority voters would be inconsistent with our ideals as a nation. And it would not be in keeping with the proud tradition of democracy that North Carolinians have built in recent years.”
At the press conference, Holder said that he believes the laws were implemented with the intention of reducing the minority vote.
“We will show that they were discriminatory in both intent and in impact,” he said, arguing that “concern of voter fraud is something that is made-up” to justify the laws.
Holder: “We will show that they [N.C. voting laws] were discriminatory in both intent & in impact”
“It pains me to see the voting rights of my fellow citizens negatively impacted by actions predicated on a rationale that is tenuous at best – and on concerns that we all know are not, in fact, real,” Holder said.
In August, Republican North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed what he said is a “common sense” law requiring voter ID to prevent voter fraud.
“You need photo ID to board an airplane, to cash a check and even to apply for most government benefits,” he said. “Our right to vote deserves similar protection.”
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter