In August 2013, North Carolina enacted one of the nation’s most comprehensive reforms of the voting process. Under the new law, early voting will be reduced, Election Day-registration will be eliminated, and every voter will have to produce government-issued identification. These reforms are likely to have disproportionate effects on young people of color; shortening the early voting period is likely to significantly reduce turnout among Black youth, while the elimination of Election Day-registration is likely to have especially negative effects on turnout among young Latinos, and the photo ID requirement may significantly reduce turnout among all young of color.
Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, such laws would have been subject to preclearance from the Department of Justice under the Voting Rights Act. The Justice Department is suing North Carolina in federal court to block implementation of the law; however, last week, it was announced that the lawsuit will not be heard until 2015, after the 2014 midterm elections.
In the latest BYP memo, researchers consider the possible effects of these new restrictions on voter turnout, focusing specifically on young people of color.