[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
The case against North Carolina's radical voter suppression law begins hearings today, as the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the ACLU, the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction on the most sweeping and restrictive "election reform" bill in the nation.
After Republicans took over both the legislature and the Governor's office in the Tar Heel State for the first time since Reconstruction, they instituted what we described after passage of the law in 2013 as "the nation's most restrictive voter suppression law".
In addition to draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions (despite any evidence of in-person voter impersonation in the state), the legislation also shortens the early voting period; eliminates NC's very successful same-day voter registration program; eliminates pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds; bars counting provisional ballots cast in the right county but wrong precinct; prohibits extending poll hours even for extraordinary circumstances such as long lines; allows any registered voter in a county to challenge the eligibility of anyone else to vote in the same county; and much more.
Virtually every anti-voting provision that has been passed or attempted to be passed by Republicans across the country was included in NC's legislation. After House Bill 589 --- known officially as the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA) --- was originally adopted in July of 2013, then signed days later by Gov. Pat McCrory (R), we explained it to be "the whole ball of wax. Everything that a Republican desperate to stay in power by keeping legal (Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to cast their legal vote could ever want, short of a provision declaring outright that 'Non-Republican voters need not apply'."
As the hearings begin, the Winston-Salem Journal's coverage over the weekend drew a bead on just how transparently partisan this legislation is, as it ballooned from 16 to 57 pages just days after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the federal Voting Rights Act, before the law was adopted by both the state House and Senate in just two days...