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The Daily Tar Heel

Voting law changes to impact fall election

On Oct. 1, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked two parts of the legislation — better known as the voter ID law — from affecting voters this fall.

The provision requiring voters to present a photo ID at the polls won’t take effect until 2016. But UNC students will have to take an extra step to vote on Election Day on Nov. 4.

Jack Largess, political director for UNC Young Democrats, said that campus is divided into four different precincts and that students living on campus run the risk of voting in the wrong one unless they prepare.

“So if I have a friend in Connor, and I live in Craige, and I go with her to vote, we might go to the wrong precinct. And then one or both of our ballots won’t be counted,” he said.

All students can vote early at North Carolina Hillel on Cameron Avenue starting Oct. 23.

Civil rights groups like the N.C. NAACP have decried the state’s voting law as a means of disenfranchising minority and young voters, while supporters of the law say it is a way to combat voter fraud.

Jay DeLancy, executive director of the N.C. Voter Integrity Project, said he’s pleased with the high court’s move.

“We’re happy that the most fraud-friendly provision in America has been rolled back,” he said.

If false information is given at same-day registration, DeLancy said there is no way to verify who gave it out, and multiple small cases suggest that voter fraud happens more than can be proved by available public information.

Irv Joyner, the N.C. NAACP’s legal adviser and an N.C. Central University law professor, was disappointed, but not surprised, by the Supreme Court’s decision.

Joyner said as many as 30,000 N.C. voters use out-of-precinct voting and same-day registration. Seventy percent of black voters in the state used early voting in 2012, and 32 percent of out-of-precinct votes from the same year were cast by black voters.

The NAACP is one of several plaintiffs who will challenge the new law before the Supreme Court in 2015.

The N.C. Board of Elections has expressed concern that different legal opinions on the voting law that have surfaced this fall will confuse voters.

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is relying on minority voter turnout in a tough reelection bid against Republican Thom Tillis. A USA Today poll found that Hagan was winning non-white voters in the state by 41 percentage points.

In a statement, Hagan said that she was disappointed the Supreme Court did not uphold the 4th Circuit’s ruling on same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting.

“These are common-sense ways to make voting easier for people with busy lives, but unfortunately, Speaker Tillis is infatuated with making it harder to vote and erecting barriers to the ballot box,” she said.