North Carolina's governor is defending a voter ID bill he signed into law earlier this week, saying that critics' complaints that the new law will hurt voting are simply "scare tactics."
Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, discussed the new law in a YouTube video arguing that North Carolina is joining many other states that already have voter ID laws, and those from the "extreme left" who criticize the photo ID law are relying on "scare tactics" and "divisive politics."
McCrory (R) signed the voter ID act into law on Monday, introducing a number of voting changes to a possible election battleground state.
Some of the most controversial provisions of the law include requiring all voters to show a state-issued ID at the polls, shortening the early voting period by a week, ending same-day registration, and prohibiting "out-of-precinct" voting.
McCrory said in his YouTube video that the legislation is based on "common sense reforms" aimed to help ensure "that no one's vote is disenfranchised by fraudulent ballot."
The governor added that the voter ID requirement is set to be implemented in the 2016 election cycle so "everyone has enough time [to obtain a valid ID]." Other provisions will be put into effect in January 2014.
State civil rights groups have attacked the law. Just hours after the bill was signed, the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a joint lawsuit on behalf of a number of voting rights groups who claim the new law will discriminate against African-Americans and other minority voters.
"This law is a disaster… It will turn Election Day into a mess, shoving more voters into even longer lines," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project in a statement.
By implementing these new standards, the ACLU says the new law "dissuades North Carolinians from registering and casting a ballot."
A conservative voting activist group applauded the new bill. Jay DeLancy, executive director for the Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina, stated that the new law allowed North Carolina to take "a giant leap forward" and spoke out against ACLU's lawsuit.
"This law is mostly a collection of measures already approved in other states," he said in a statement. "Those who thrive on fraud and electoral chaos will always fight measures that increase ballot box integrity."
During the 2012 presidential election, North Carolina was considered a swing state that ultimately favoring Republican Mitt Romney.