Ellie Kinnaird, Nine-Term State Senator, Resigns Over North Carolina Voter ID Law

08/20/2013 09:23 am ET | Updated Aug 20, 2013
AP

A North Carolina state senator is resigning after nine terms in office to protest the state's new voter ID law, which Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed into law earlier this month.

State Sen. Ellie Kinnaird (D) announced Monday that she would leave the statehouse, citing frustration with the state legislature's Republican majority.

"From the Republicans' denial of health care security for our people to their failure to promote a vibrant work force through support for our education systems at all levels and from their tax cuts for the wealthy and their tax increases for the poor and middle class to their efforts to deny people their right to vote, they have been pursuing a divisive and, I think, immoral agenda," Kinnaird wrote in a statement on her website.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Kinnaird said she plans to help citizens obtain photo identification so they can vote under the state's new regulations.

"We have so much information that we need to get to people," she said.

In addition to requiring photo ID at the polls, the new law reduces early voting time, eliminates same-day registration, ends pre-registration for minors and stops the state's annual voter registration drive. The law also scales back public disclosure required for 501(c)(4)s, also known as "dark money" groups.

The law was met with immediate backlash. The ACLU of North Carolina, along with other groups in the state, filed a lawsuit against the bill within hours of McCrory's signature. The groups said the law violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as well as the Constitution's equal protection clause. The NAACP filed a similar suit on behalf of a 92-year-old African American woman. The group says she will be disenfranchised by the new law after voting for 70 years.

“What I want to do is try to remedy this radical agenda and work aggressively against this voter suppression,” Kinnaird told the News & Observer. “I feel that is a serious step over the line. I want to make sure we undo that.”

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