14 Aug 2013

Voter ID required in North Carolina

7:26 am on 14 August 2013

The US state of North Carolina now requires voters to show photo IDs when they go to the polls.

A new law was signed by Governor Pat McCrory on Tuesday. The state is the first to impose restrictions on voters since the US Supreme Court struck down part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in June.

Civil liberties groups immediately challenged the decision. Supporters of the law say it tackles voting fraud.

The BBC reports the Voting Rights Act was originally enacted to fight entrenched racial discrimination against voters in the 1960s.

But the Supreme Court ruled in June that circumstances had since changed and key elements of the Act were intended to be only temporary.

In effect, the ruling brought an end to the requirement for federal "pre-clearance" of changes to election laws in 15 mainly Southern states.

In a statement, Governor McCrory said: "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."

As well as requiring voter identification, bans election-day registration, the North Carolina law reduces the period allowed for early voting from 17 days to 10. College and university photo IDs will not be considered legitimate identification.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups immediately filed a lawsuit challenging the changes, which are due to come into effect in 2016.

Texas passed a voter ID law in 2011. US Attorney General Eric Holder said last month he would challenge the legislation.