Report finds state’s new election law disproportionately affects black voters

02/17/2014 4:14 PM

02/17/2014 4:14 PM

The state’s new election law will disproportionately affect black voters, according to a study done by political science professors from Dartmouth and the University of Florida.

The state passed its election law last summer shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act. The ruling enabled the legislation by allowing North Carolina, along with eight other states, to change election procedures without federal preclearance.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in September that he would sue North Carolina over the voting law, saying it discriminates against minorities.

Changes made under the state law include eliminating same-day voter registration during the early voting period, cutting the early voting period by seven days, creating a photo identification requirement for voters and eliminating preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds unless they turn 18 before an upcoming election.

The study found that, during presidential elections, black voters have disproportionately cast their ballots in the first week of early voting and disproportionately register to vote during early voting. It also found that blacks are less likely to have one of the forms of photo identification accepted to vote. In addition, it found that those preregistered to vote as 16- and 17-year-olds also are disproportionately black. The study focused only on black and white voters.

The Republican-held General Assembly passed the law with the intention of protecting the state’s voters from potential fraud.

The study quotes Governor McCrory upon signing the law: “Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote,” he said.

To see the full study go to

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