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Lawmakers and N.C. NAACP react to new voter ID attempt


Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the N.C. NAACP
Black Democratic lawmakers in the State House are on one page when it comes to warning all about the newest attempt by Republican legislative leaders to put voter photo ID back on North Carolina law books, except this time, Republicans want the public to approve it by referendum so that they can come back later and write the new law as they see fit.

“This is the same discriminatory law that was previously struck down by the courts,” Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) said in a statement, referring to when the federal courts struck down the earlier 2013 voter ID law, saying that it was designed to suppress the African American votes. “The attempt to bring it back as a ballot referendum is an end around in order to do something unconstitutional and harmful to free and fair elections.”

Brockman’s fellow Guilford colleague, Rep. Amos Quick III, agreed, saying that he is “opposed to any change in voter laws that would significantly target African Americans as this voter ID provision was declaimed by the courts.”

Calling out the House bill that Republican House Speaker Tim Moore filed last week, and is expected to sail through the House Republican majority before the short session ends soon, Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the N.C. NAACP, told a news conference in Raleigh Monday, “The Constitutional Amendment proposed in HB1092 should never be in consideration.”

“The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said it best in the historic decision rejecting the last iteration of this law declaring that it “targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision enacted with racially discriminatory intent.” That victory is the law of the land. If this bill passes, it places on the ballot whether the people of North Carolina will make it harder for thousands of other North Carolinians to exercise their freedom to vote in an attempted end run around the decision of the courts, and an attempted end run around what is right.”

“It will not succeed,” Dr. Spearman vowed. “We call on the nation to stand with us as we reject this suppression bill.”

Dr. Spearman’s predecessor as president of the N.C. NAACP, Rev. Dr. William Barber, currently co-chair of the national Poor People’s Campaign, reminded all that what Republicans claim about no protections against voter fraud in North Carolina at the polls is not true.

“The truth is North Carolinians do have to provide identification to register to vote,” he said in a statement. “North Carolinians have to give their name at the polls. North Carolinians have to sign a document at the polling places in their community before voting and commit a five-year felony with prison time if you lie.”

“And every vote is tallied and given a number,” Rev. Barber added.

“Lastly there has been no finding of fraud and this process was a partisan agreement years ago,” he concluded. “There was no major cry for voter photo ID until after President Obama won North Carolina in 2008.”