In an effort to defy a law requiring voters to present a photo ID in North Carolina, Irving Joyner, North Carolina NAACP Legal Redress Chair, held a press conference Tuesday and said, “We are going out and we are mobilizing people and telling them wherever they are to go to the polls whether you have a picture voter ID or not and demand their right to vote.”
“Instead of clarity about what the law really says, we have clouded, unclear messages going out over the radio, printed out on these brochures,” said North Carolina NAACP leader Rev. William Barber.
Barber’s beef is with the North Carolina State Board of Elections, the outfit responsible for informing voters on the state’s new voter ID laws.
“Our message is clear. Every voter will be asked to show an acceptable photo ID at the polls,” said State Board of Elections Director Kim Strach. “If you have one, bring it. But if you’re unable to obtain one, you can vote by absentee or at the polls with alternative identification. In the coming weeks, every household in the state will receive a mailer describing all your voting options.”
In 2013, the North Carolina legislature passed a series of voting provisions–the illumination of early voting, same-day voting, out-of-precinct voting–aimed at cutting down on voter fraud, which state officials blamed on liberal billionaires seeking to salvage power for the state’s fledgling unions.
The state’s new voting laws have been heavily litigated. A lawsuit challenging the photo identification voting mandate will be heard in federal court on January 25.
The new law allows North Carolinians without an ID to cast a provisional or absentee ballot.
But the NAACP says that’s not good enough.
“Through these ads, as in TV or radio,” Barber said, “voters are being mistrained or misled. Whatever the reason is, they are not saying clearly, ‘You can vote with or without a photo ID.’”
That is “absolutely FALSE,” Strach told ABC11. “Our agency has developed comprehensive training materials to ensure uniformity across the state this election.”