As House Democrats celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, they renewed their criticisms of the state’s voter ID requirement that was passed in 2013.
Rep. Rodney Moore, a Charlotte Democrat, held a news conference Thursday to commemorate the signing of the Voting Rights Act on Aug. 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson. Moore called it the “most important piece of legislation in the 20th century.”
If not for the law, he said, many African-Americans now serving in the legislature would not be there.
Despite 50 years of voter freedom, Moore says current legislation is jeopardizing voter rights.
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“These new so-called laws to stop voter fraud and bring back voter integrity are nothing more than modern day voter suppression schemes to limit access to the ballot for the youth, the elderly, and people of color,” Moore said.
Rep. Henry “Mickey” Michaux, a Durham Democrat, spoke of the fight for voter rights 50 years ago.
“Today is a very special day. Folks who died, folks I knew, folks you read about in history books, I had the privilege of knowing,” Michaux said.
He also spoke on the House floor and, after exceeding a three-minute rule for personal remarks, was gaveled down. After a back-and-forth on the floor, lawmakers suspended the rules to allow him to finish.
Michaux said “history is repeating itself” with the current voter ID law. But Michaux said he was pleased with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Wednesday that said Texas’ voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act.
Michaux said his fingers are crossed that the Texas ruling will influence the decision of the federal judge in Winston-Salem who will decide on the constitutionality of North Carolina voting laws. Closing arguments in that case wrapped up last week.