WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- US Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department will sue the state for alleged racial discrimination in a new, stricter voting law.
Holder says by restricting access and ease of voter participation, this new law would shrink, rather then expand access to voting.
The lawsuit against North Carolina is the latest effort by the Obama Administration to counter a Supreme Court decision that struck down the most powerful part of the Voting Rights Act. That action freed states, many of them in the south, from strict federal oversight of their elections.
"In the 2008 and the 2012 general elections African American voters dramatically increased their participation across the state," Holder said during a news conference in Washington, DC.
Holder slammed North Carolina's stricter new voting law.
"It is especially troubling that the law would significantly narrow the early voting window that would enable hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians, including a disproportionately large number of minority voters during the last election cycle," Holder said.
Republicans have said the legislation is meant to prevent voter fraud, which they claim is both rampant and undetected.
"In fact I believe the federal government action is an overreach and without merit," Gov. Pat McCrory said today in Raleigh.
But non-partisan voting rights groups, Democrats and Libertarians suggest the true goal may be to suppress voter turnout, especially among blacks, the young the elderly and the poor.
"I think it is obviously influenced by national politics, since the Justice Department ignores similar laws in other blue states throughout the United States of America," McCrory said.
In his statement today, the governor said the state has retained outside legal counsel to defend our right to have common-sense laws in North Carolina. He says taxpayers will have to pay for both the state and federal government's legal costs.