NC NAACP, other groups oppose early voting limits - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

NC NAACP, other groups oppose early voting limits

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

North Carolina civil rights advocates and clergy said Friday that Republican legislative leaders are intent on denying voting rights to the poor and minorities through legislation to scale back early voting and other efforts to require photo identification to cast ballots.

Speakers representing several groups — led by the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People — attended a news conference to condemn bills filed this week by GOP legislators to limit early voting.

The bills would reduce 2½-week early voting periods before primary and general elections by one week and halt same-day voter registration during those periods. The House bill also would eliminate Sunday voting, end straight-party balloting and make all judicial races partisan.

Referencing Easter in his comments, state NAACP President the Rev. William Barber said Republican lawmakers in charge of the General Assembly are seeking to manipulate election laws for their own partisan gain and at the loss of groups historically discouraged from voting.

"The legislature is trying to crucify voting rights in this state," Barber said at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, adding that his allies will sue if such measures become law. "We believe that they have overreached constitutionally, and we will test in the court everything that they do."

Early voting is popular — 56 percent of the 4.5 million ballots cast in November's election occurred at one-stop early voting sites. Same-day voter registration began in 2007. More than 250,000 people used the process during the 2012 election, disproportionately by young people, black residents and Democrats, said Bob Hall with Democracy North Carolina.

"It's really a blatant partisan maneuver," said Hall, adding that the House legislation also would make it easier to request mail-in absentee ballots, whose users historically have leaned Republican. That proposal could encourage voter fraud, he said.

House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, the House bill's primary sponsor, told WRAL-TV the legislation would "put some balance into the election process" and said he opposed Sunday voting because "some things you just shouldn't do on Sundays."

Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, the Senate bill primary sponsor, said the measure isn't meant to be partisan and that all voters will still have equal access to the polls.

The House agreed in 2011 to reduce the number of days in the early voting period, but the bill didn't pass the Senate.

Legislative leaders have sounded more interested so far this year in passing a law requiring photo identification to vote. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory supports stronger voter ID requirements. The Barber and his allies also are opposed to new photo ID requirements. House Republicans want to pass such a measure in April.

"It's simply wrong and unconstitutional to restrict in any way the rights of citizens to vote," the Rev. Nancy Petty, Pullen Baptist's pastor, said at the news conference.

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • GOP presidential prospects tout faith in the national anthem

    GOP presidential prospects tout faith in the national anthem

    Sunday, September 14 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-09-14 23:40:08 GMT
    File PhotoFile Photo
    Two possible Republican presidential candidates are touting the nation's religious heritage as part of a webcast marking the 200th anniversary of the national anthem.
    Two possible Republican presidential candidates are touting the nation's religious heritage as part of a webcast marking the 200th anniversary of the national anthem.
  • Groups aiming to help NC legislative Democrats

    Groups aiming to help NC legislative Democrats

    Sunday, September 14 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-09-14 19:52:20 GMT
    File PhotoFile Photo
    Groups in the shadow of traditional campaigns are poised to once again attempt to influence N.C. General Assembly races through ads and mailers bought with millions of dollars largely from companies and politically-minded organizations.
    Groups in the shadow of traditional campaigns are poised to once again attempt to influence N.C. General Assembly races through ads and mailers bought with millions of dollars largely from companies and politically-minded organizations.
  • NC courts sort voucher law, students stay in class

    NC courts sort voucher law, students stay in class

    Saturday, September 13 2014 10:12 AM EDT2014-09-13 14:12:58 GMT
    A North Carolina appeals court could rule as early as this week whether nearly $11 million in taxpayer money should pay tuition for hundreds of low-income children to enroll in private schools.
    A North Carolina appeals court could rule as early as this week whether nearly $11 million in taxpayer money should pay tuition for hundreds of low-income children to enroll in private schools.
  • Botetourt County seeking public input on potential water service changes

    Botetourt County seeking public input on potential water service changes

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:46 AM EDT2014-09-15 09:46:24 GMT
    BOTETOURT COUNTY(WSLS) - Water quality has been an issue for some living in Botetourt County and it's one of the main reasons county leaders are looking into joining the Western Virginia Water Authority.A meeting will be held tonight in which the public can ask county leaders and water authority representatives about the changes that could happen.John Williamson, member of the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors, says the change could benefit residents and businesses.The hope is that reside...
    BOTETOURT COUNTY(WSLS) - Water quality has been an issue for some living in Botetourt County and it's one of the main reasons county leaders are looking into joining the Western Virginia Water Authority.A meeting will be held tonight in which the public can ask county leaders and water authority representatives about the changes that could happen.John Williamson, member of the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors, says the change could benefit residents and businesses.The hope is that reside...
  • What's News Today, Monday, September, 15, 2014

    What's News Today

    Here's a look at some of the stories we'll be following today as they make headlines across the country and Southwest Virginia.

    Here's a look at some of the stories we'll be following today as they make headlines across the country and Southwest Virginia.

  • Blue Ridge Veterans Celebration 5K helps military personnel and their families

    Blue Ridge Veterans Celebration 5K helps military personnel and their families

    Sunday, September 14 2014 10:31 PM EDT2014-09-15 02:31:14 GMT
    Runner approaches finish lineRunner approaches finish line
    The Blue Ridge Veterans Celebration 5K run and walk takes over Wasena Park in Roanoke for the third year in a row.
    The Blue Ridge Veterans Celebration 5K run and walk takes over Wasena Park in Roanoke for the third year in a row.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.