Elections

GOP leaders say Cooper should defend voter ID law or resign

North Carolina GOP leaders Larry Pittman (left) Scott Stone and Richard Hudson held a press conference Thursday calling on Roy Cooper to defend the state’s voter ID law, which was overturned by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Apeals in July.
North Carolina GOP leaders Larry Pittman (left) Scott Stone and Richard Hudson held a press conference Thursday calling on Roy Cooper to defend the state’s voter ID law, which was overturned by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Apeals in July. rcherzog@charlotteobserver.com

North Carolina GOP leaders called once again for Attorney General Roy Cooper to defend the state’s voter ID law on Thursday

“He doesn’t get to pick which laws he’s gonna defend or not defend. His job is to defend the laws passed by our legislature,” U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “He needs to do his job, or he needs to resign.”

Hudson, along with state Reps. Scott Stone and Larry Pittman, said the voter ID law is common sense legislation intended to reduce voter fraud.

The law was overturned by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on July 29 on the grounds that it was adopted with “discriminatory intent” and targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.”

Pittman said the law wasn’t intended to discriminate.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “It’s very clear that this is not a partisan bill; it’s not focused on any particular group. It’s focused on integrity in our election law.”

The ruling prohibits North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters in future elections, including the November general election. It restores a week of early voting and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and ensures that same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will remain in effect.

North Carolina is defending the law without Cooper, who said the state tried its best to defend against the lawsuit but lost. Outside counsel already involved in the case can handle an appeal, he said.

Cooper, the Democratic candidate for governor, has said he agrees with the ruling overturning the law.

“The bottom line is people will have more opportunities to register and vote, which was the origin of the laws that were passed in the first place – the ones that, it looks like now, were illegally overturned by the governor and the General Assembly.”

Rachel Herzog: 704-358-5358, @rachel_herzog

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