Advocacy group crying foul over Voter ID law ahead of Congressional primary

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A nonpartisan voting rights advocacy group presented new evidence to a federal appeals court Thursday asking to overturn North Carolina's Voter ID law.

Bob Hall, Democracy North Carolina Exec. Dir., said the amicus brief filed with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals showed 1,419 provisional ballots cast in the March presidential primary were not counted because voters did not have the proper form of photo ID.

The group sent 700 volunteers to monitor polls in more than 50 counties during the March primary. Among problems cited in the brief, Hall said poll workers failed to allow certain voters who did not have photo ID to fill out a reasonable impediment declaration. Instead, he said they were given regular provisional ballots that were not counted.

"The African Americans were twice as likely as white voters to say that the ID law and the other voting changes made them feel less confident in the security of North Carolina elections," Hall said.

Because of an injunction, Same-Day Registration and Out-Of-Precinct voting are allowed to continue through the June 7 primary, but will expire before the general election. Hall said those were two "safety nets" that more than 29,000 voters took advantage of in March, but will no longer be afforded come November.

"The problems Democracy North Carolina documented in the March 2016 primary represent a smaller-scale preview of the massive problems that await voters in November: longer lines, more delays and problems, greater confusion, and more disenfranchisement and trust," Hall said in a prepared statement.

There are a number of exceptions to the photo ID requirement.

You can find more information at the State Board of Elections website.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections released the following statement in response:

"Our goal is for every voter to have a positive and uniform experience at North Carolina's 2,709 precincts and every early voting location. We are proud of the work of nearly 20,000 poll workers that served 2.3 million voters in March.

To ensure uniformity at the polls, the state issued comprehensive voting station guides for every polling location in the state to ensure that every voter would be provided their voting options and never turned away. For three years, the State Board of Elections has educated and assisted voters to prepare the state for voter ID. That effort was funded at about $1M/year and included mailings to every household, poll worker training tools, television ads, and targeted assistance to voters.

We are pleased that 99.5% of March primary voters brought their photo ID to the polls, and that more than 70% of the provisional ballots of those who could not obtain a photo ID were counted. And, for those who told us they didn't have a photo ID, our voter outreach team has already contacted each voter to assist them in obtaining a free ID.

Counties continue to work with our agency in our canvassing audit, an effort to ensure accurate elections, and we look forward to statewide canvass on Tuesday."

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