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Records show most criminal prosecutions for voter fraud in the state involve absentee ballots, which the new GOP-backed law actually makes easier to obtain and which do not require any sort of ID. State statistics show Republican voters are more likely to cast absentee ballots than Democrats.
Holder specifically pointed to the lack of evidence showing voter fraud is a big problem in North Carolina as an indication the real goal is partisan gain.
"The Justice Department is not saying you can never have some requirement about identification. We certainly want to know that somebody who seeks to cast a ballot is in fact the person" who he claims to be, the attorney general said.
The question, Holder said, is what kind of identification, what is the impact on the change in identification and what is the impact that it has on particular parts of the voting population.
"This law, we think, will have a disproportionate negative impact on minority voters," Holder said. "We've looked at these laws across the country. They have a disproportionate negative impact on people who are young, people of color, people who are poor and I think at a minimum have a partisan basis to them."
The Justice Department lawsuit challenges North Carolina's elimination of the first seven days of early voting and its elimination of same-day voter registration, which allows new voters to cast a ballot immediately after presenting election officials with proof of their name and home address.
McCrory said North Carolina is simply joining the majority of states around the country that have passed what he termed common-sense regulations to protect the sanctity of the ballot box by deterring voter fraud.
The Southern governor said he had recently watched a video showing Obama presenting a photo ID at his polling place in Chicago. Illinois law requires voters to present a photo ID when casting an early ballot or when filing a new voter registration.
"I believe if showing a voter ID is good enough and fair enough for our president in Illinois, then it's good enough for the people of North Carolina," McCrory said.