When Rosanell Eaton was 21 years old and living in segregated North Carolina, she became one of the first African Americans in her county registered to vote, after successfully completing a literacy test that required her to recite the preamble to the Constitution. But now, at 92 years old, she faces new obstacles under the voter suppression law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) Monday. For one thing, she may not qualify for the voter ID card required under the new law, because the name on her birth certificate is different from the name on her driver’s license and voter registration card. Reconciling this difference will be a costly and time-consuming administrative endeavor. For another, she has participated in early voting since it was instituted in the state. Now, it’s been cut back a week.
She is one of several individuals who, along with civil rights groups, are already suing the state for what may be the most restrictive voting law in the nation. Other restrictive new provisions in the law include the elimination of same-day registration and early registration for high schoolers in advance of their 18th birthday, and prohibiting certain kinds of voter registration drives that tend to register low-income and minority voters.