Under the Dome

Berger, Tillis call voting lawsuit 'baseless,' while Hagan, Democrats cheer move

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis called the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against the North Carolina voting law "baseless."

Reacting to the lawsuit, the two Republican legislative leaders issued a joint statement saying it is "nothing more than an obvious attempt to quash the will of the voters and hinder a hugely popular voter ID requirement."

"The law was designed to improve consistency, clarity and uniformity at the polls and it brings North Carolina’s election system in line with a majority of other states," the statement continued. "We are confident it protects the right of all voters, as required by the U.S. and North Carolina Constitutions.”

Meanwhile, Democrats and interest groups cheered the move, including U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who had urged the Justice Department to review the law.

“Now is not the time to be putting up barriers to the right to vote, and I applaud the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the new voter access restrictions in North Carolina that would, among other things, cut off a week of early voting and end same day registration,” Hagan said in a statement. “We shouldn’t be giving everyday North Carolinians fewer opportunities to make their voices heard while we are giving corporations more opportunities to influence elections.”

Other reactions:

Democratic Congressman David Price of Chapel Hill: "The right to vote is the bedrock of American democracy, and our nation’s history has been defined by the hard-fought expansion of suffrage to all eligible citizens – regardless of race, gender, physical ability, or socioeconomic status.  Attempts to turn back this history of progress for partisan gain must not stand.”

Chris Brook, the legal director for the ACLU in North Carolina: "North Carolina has made tremendous progress in recent years in improving ballot access and increasing voter turnout, but much, if not all, of that progress will be lost if this new law goes into effect. By cutting early voting and eliminating same-day registration, North Carolina’s law will severely restrict ballot access for countless eligible voters, particularly the millions of North Carolinians who vote early and the more than 70 percent of African-American voters who utilized early voting during the 2008 and 2012 general elections. For many voters, especially low-income voters, the choice is between early voting or not voting at all.”

N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller: “The purpose of government is to create a more fair and just society.  We welcome the decision by the Justice Department to combat efforts to make it harder for North Carolinians to have their voices heard."

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