Black Conservatives Cheer New Voter Protections for North Carolina
ID Requirement a Constitutional Safeguard that Helps Prevent Vote Fraud
Court Challenges and Threats from Obama Administration are Politically-Motivated, Voter Integrity Activists Say
Washington, D.C. - Legal experts with the Project 21 black leadership network are applauding new voter protections signed into law this week by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.
"I'm thrilled to see that North Carolina is joining the brigade of states enforcing Voter ID," said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former constitutional law professor and Capitol Hill staff member to congressional leadership. "Voter ID is constitutional and legal and, as the evidence demonstrates, it encourages real Americans to cast their vote knowing they won't be displaced by ghosts, convicts or illegal aliens."
North Carolina's new voter protection law requires voters at polling places to prove their identity by presenting government-issued identification such as a driver's license, passport or military ID that corresponds to their voter registration. It will be fully implemented in 2016. Voter ID laws such as this were determined to be constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, but the Obama Administration -- specifically Attorney General Eric Holder – has in recent years kept many voter ID laws from being enforced by imposing "preclearance" standards imposed on certain states by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Holder's ability to overrule the will of some states' voters came from the nearly 50-year-old formula found in the Voting Rights Act that held all or part of 16 states to a different standard due to generations-old reported abuses. This formula, however, was determined to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court this past June in its decision in the case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder.
Within hours of the North Carolina bill being signed into law, separate lawsuits seeking to overturn the new protection were filed by the ACLU and NAACP. These challenges claim the law discriminates against minorities. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) also asked Attorney General Holder to intervene. Holder is already fighting new voter protections applied in Texas after the Shelby decision, and is said to be considering his options with regard to North Carolina.
"Once again, we are faced with a politically-motivated Justice Department led by Eric Holder that is threatening to interfere in a state's efforts to prevent voter fraud," said Project 21 Co-Chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. "Despite the fact that voter ID is supported by nearly 70 percent of North Carolinians, it would appear that Holder and liberal activist groups -- who have already filed lawsuits against the protections -- feel they have the ability to circumvent the Supreme Court's recent Shelby County decision by resurrecting the Section 4 preclearance formula after the Court struck it down. Welcome to Eric Holder's world – where, seemingly, the rules do not apply."
Earlier this year, Project 21 filed its own amicus curiae ("friend of the court") legal brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on the merits of the Shelby County v. Holder case. Previously, Project 21 joined another legal brief that was written by the Pacific Legal Foundation and also joined by the Center for Equal Opportunity that urged the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case.
Members of Project 21, the only conservative group on hand for interviews at the Court on the day the case was argued, were interviewed and cited with regard to the Shelby case over 100 times so far in 2013 alone -- including by Reuters, the Westwood One radio network, HBO's "Real Time," CBS Radio, Voice of America, the Chicago Tribune, Blaze TV, the Washington Examiner and in Cal Thomas's widely-syndicated opinion column. Project 21 members also defended voter ID laws at the United Nations in 2012.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for nearly two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).