Under Section 3 of the Act, states can be required to get federal preclearance if a court finds that the state has intentionally discriminated against minorities in its voting laws. That’s a high legal bar that the Justice Department will find hard to prove, especially since many of the two states’ voter ID provisions are widespread in other states.
One claim is that North Carolina’s shorter early voting period will have a more pronounced impact on African Americans, who made up 23% of registered voters in North Carolina in 2012 and cast 29% of early ballots. But while the state reduced the number of days for early voting, it maintained the number of total hours for early voting. That change maintains ample time for voters to cast a ballot but reduces the burden on county election officials who have to man early voting sites in the run-up to Election Day.
Ditto a concern that the law disproportionately disenfranchises black voters who are less likely to have a driver’s licence: North Carolina offers free state-issued photo ID at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Another gripe is that North Carolina won’t accept student ID cards as adequate at the polls, but the reason is simple: State residence is required to vote in North Carolina, and students in the state often come from other states or countries.