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Why NC lawmakers may have to explain themselves over voter ID

Posted By Rob Schofield On January 29, 2014 @ 8:45 am In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

Voter ID [1]If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Courts and Law Reporter Sharon McCloskey’s lead story over on the main Policy Watch site – “Lawmakers: What we talked about when we talked about Voter ID.” [2] As McCloskey reports, GOP lawmakers may be forced, sooner or later, to disclose what they were really up to when they passed the controversial “Monster” voting law in 2013:

“What were state GOP lawmakers’ intentions when they enacted House Bill 589 [3], one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation?

That’s the question the groups challenging the law want answered by the handful of legislators they served with subpoenas in December, asking those lawmakers to produce emails, letters, reports and other records used when pushing for voting law changes last session.

The lawmakers responded last week with an opening salvo in what might become an extended battle, claiming to be completely insulated from any obligation to produce those communications.

But if the court in Greensboro follows decisions from others across the country resolving voting cases, those lawmakers may have to start digging through their files and come up with some answers.

‘This is a place where courts have rarely spoken, but clearly the concern that legislative officials might not be acting with the best interests of their public in mind has caused this issue to arise more frequently,’ said Justin Levitt, a voting law expert and professor at Loyola Law School.

In Florida, Texas, Wisconsin and other states, courts are taking a deliberate approach, weighing legislators’ needs to be free from harassing questions about their decision-making processes with the needs of citizens suspicious of those lawmakers’ motives – and in the end, ordering the disclosure of at least some information.

What a concept, huh? Public officials who spend public money on matters of great public importance being required to explain to the public what the hell they were really up to. Sounds like something that we could use a great deal more of in North Carolina these days — even if we may want to cry when we learn the truth.

Click here to to read the rest of the story [2].

What were state GOP lawmakers’ intentions when they enacted House Bill 589 [3], one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation?

That’s the question the groups challenging the law want answered by the handful of legislators they served with subpoenas in December, asking those lawmakers to produce emails, letters, reports and other records used when pushing for voting law changes last session.

The lawmakers responded last week with an opening salvo in what might become an extended battle, claiming to be completely insulated from any obligation to produce those communications.

But if the court in Greensboro follows decisions from others across the country resolving voting cases, those lawmakers may have to start digging through their files and come up with some answers.

This is a place where courts have rarely spoken, but clearly the concern that legislative officials might not be acting with the best interests of their public in mind has caused this issue to arise more frequently,” said Justin Levitt, a voting law expert and professor at Loyola Law School.

In Florida, Texas, Wisconsin and other states, courts are taking a deliberate approach, weighing legislators’ needs to be free from harassing questions about their decision-making processes with the needs of citizens suspicious of those lawmakers’ motives – and in the end, ordering the disclosure of at least some information.

– See more at: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2014/01/29/lawmakers-what-we-talked-about-when-we-talked-about-voter-id/#sthash.Vd3WF1gj.dpuf


Article printed from The Progressive Pulse: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org

URL to article: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/01/29/why-nc-legislative-mapmakers-may-have-to-explain-themselves/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Voter-ID.jpg

[2] “Lawmakers: What we talked about when we talked about Voter ID.”: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2014/01/29/lawmakers-what-we-talked-about-when-we-talked-about-voter-id/

[3] House Bill 589: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2013/Bills/House/PDF/H589v9.pdf

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