NC Voter ID goes down

Wow.  So, this is big.  Now I don’t have to take my drivers license with me to the polls (actually, I’m in the habit of not doing so as we usually take a family walk to our polling place and I don’t usually carry my wallet then).  Anyway, seems to me the 4th Circuit Opinion got this just right.  I’m sure I’ll have more to post on this, but for now, here’s some key parts nicely highlighted by the N&O:

 The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned North Carolina’s 2013 elections law that included a provision requiring voters to show ID at the polls.

The three-judge panel found that the law was adopted with “discriminatory intent.” The case was sent back to U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, who in April issued a 485-page ruling dismissing all claims in the challenge to the state’s sweeping elections law overhaul.

“In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the [original district] court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees,” the ruling states. “This failure of perspective led the court to ignore critical facts bearing on legislative intent, including the inextricable link between race and politics in North Carolina.”… [emphases mine]

Challengers of the elections law overhaul shepherded through the Republican-led General Assembly in 2013 and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory quickly lauded the ruling.

Many echoed a line from the 83-page ruling that bats back contentions by advocates of the law, who claimed IDs were needed at the polls to prevent voter fraud.

“Although the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inept remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist,” the 4th Circuit judges wrote…

The 4th Circuit ruling is the third voting rights decision to be issued during the past two weeks.

The first decision was in Wisconsin, where a federal district judge found the state’s ID law too restrictive.

Then the full 5th Circuit appeals court found that Texas’s voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act and opened the door for putting the state under federal supervision again.

“We applaud the appeals court for recognizing the discriminatory intent behind the monster voter suppression law,” Bob Hall, director of Democracy NC, a voting rights organization, said in a statement about the N.C. case. “The ruling makes clear that the North Carolina General Assembly cherry-picked the law to suppress African American and young voters because of the 2008 election. Today’s ruling begins to right that wrong.”


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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