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Legislator Testifies New Voting Bill Is “Reminiscent Of The Jim Crow Era”

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

An expert witness returns to the stand this morning on day three of a federal hearing challenging the state's new voting law. MIT Professor Charles Stewart testified Tuesday that the state's new voting law disproportionately burdens and affects African Americans.

State House member Rick Glazier also testified. He called the measure "reminiscent of the Jim Crow Era" and gave a passionate description of how the bill was hastily moved through the General Assembly.

Parts of the measure went into effect earlier this year, among them: reducing the number of early voting days from 17 to 10, eliminating same-day voter registration and doing away with pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Stewart's testimony echoes what attorneys for the plaintiffs say about the sweeping voter reform bill passed last summer by the Republican led General Assembly. House Bill 589 will require a photo ID to vote beginning in 2016. Multiple lawsuits are challenging the entirety of the law. In this hearing, plaintiffs are seeking an injunction to stop provisions that are now in effect, until a judge can rule on the entire measure. Testimony in this hearing is expected to conclude today. A federal judge could take weeks before issuing a ruling.

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