U.S. Supreme Court Effectively Kills N.C.’s Voter ID Law

By Susan Jones | May 15, 2017 | 11:18am EDT
(Photo of U.S. Supreme Court from Wikimedia Commons)

(CNSNews.com) - Liberal activists are celebrating the end of North Carolina's 2013 election law, which required photo ID at the polls; eliminated same-day voter registration; and reduced the state’s early-voting period by one week.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a federal appeals court decision that found North Carolina’s election law discriminated against African-Americans.

The Supreme Court refusal means North Carolina has exhausted all its appeals, and the 2016 ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stands.

“This law, enacted with what the appeals court called discriminatory intent and ‘almost surgical precision’ targeting African-American voters, is meeting its much-deserved demise,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “An ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing.”

“We are grateful that the Supreme Court has decided to allow the Fourth Circuit’s ruling to stand, confirming that discrimination has no place in our democracy and elections,” said Allison Riggs, senior staff attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “This ruling sends a strong message that lawmakers in North Carolina should stop enacting laws that discriminate based on race.”

The Democrat National Committee cheered the end of what it called a “racist” law.

“That’s why we’re creating a voter protection and empowerment unit at the DNC to stand up and resist the ongoing assault on the right to vote from Trump and the GOP,” Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement on Monday. “We can’t trust Trump, Jeff Sessions, or anyone in this administration to protect access to the ballot box. Today, democracy triumphed over discrimination.”

Last year, when a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the election law, Republican leaders of the North Carolina Legislature wrote:

“Since today’s decision by three partisan Democrats ignores legal precedent, ignores the fact that other federal courts have used North Carolina's law as a model, and ignores the fact that a majority of other states have similar protections in place, we can only wonder if the intent is to reopen the door for voter fraud, potentially allowing fellow Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper to steal the election.”

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) also said the voter ID law  would have ensured that any North Carolina citizen who wants to vote would have that opportunity.

The law would have established a list of valid government-issued photo IDs that voters could present at their polling places; allowed anyone without a photo ID to obtain one at no cost through the Department of Motor Vehicles; and allowed anyone who still had difficulty obtaining a valid ID to fill out a reasonable impediment affidavit and still have their vote counted. It also would have aligned North Carolina with other states on matters of same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting.

“More than 30 other states have voter ID requirements, and a similar law was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 2008,” Berger and Moore noted last July.

They also said opponents of the law “failed to produce a single witness who would be unable to vote under the law in court.”

President Trump carried North Carolina in the November election, getting around 50 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 46 percent.

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