Federal Court Rules Against Photo Voter ID For NC Primary PDF Print E-mail
The Campaign Trail
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Monday, 06 January 2020 14:18
The  U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a 60-page opinion blocking North Carolina’s photo voter ID law (S.B.824) based on a likelihood that its passage was motivated by illegal racially discriminatory intent in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution. The Court’s decision to grant the NC NAACP’s motion for a preliminary injunction means voters will not be subject to a new photo ID requirement to vote in the March 2020 primaries. 
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit included the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Chapel HillCarrboro NAACP, Greensboro NAACP, High Point NAACP, Moore County NAACP, Stokes County NAACP, and Winston-Salem Forsyth County NAACP. The Plaintiffs, represented in this matter by Forward Justice, Arnold & Porter LLP, and attorney Irv Joyner, challenged SB 824 on the grounds that the law was passed with a discriminatory intent and will have a discriminatory impact on African-American and Latinx voters under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and in violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Oral arguments on the preliminary injunction took place in Winston Salem on December 3, 2019. 
“The Federal Court made it crystal clear  that racial discrimination will not stand in North Carolina in its decision today to intervene to halt this illegal photo voter ID impediment—the latest badfaith attempt in a string of failed efforts by the NC General Assembly to place hurdles in the path of the right to vote of African Americans and Latinos in this state, and to diminish the force of the true will of the people,” said Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, President of the NC NAACP.
In the ruling, the court grounded its decision to halt all further implementation of the photo voter ID provisions of the law in a determination that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in proving that discriminatory purpose was a motivating factor behind the passage of S.B. 824, including that the law bears more heavily on one race than another. The Court explained in its decision:  “S.B. 824’s architects … conceived of the [voter photo ID constitutional] amendment and placed it on the ballot in the first place—not to give the people of North Carolina the chance to ratify or reject specific voter-ID requirements, but to ostensibly give themselves greater leeway in enacting their desired bill. (At 23.) “To summarize, the legislative history reveals that the General Assembly’s goals and motivations went virtually unchanged in the time between H.B. 589 and S.B. 824. Rather than taking steps to purge the taint of discriminatory intent, the bill’s supporters expressed their resolve to circumvent McCrory and stave off future legal challenges. While racial data was not explicitly requested during the formal consideration of S.B. 824, as it had been a few years earlier with H.B. 589, the legislators who previously used racial data to target minority voters with “surgical precision” must have understood S.B. 824’s potential to affect a disparate impact. 
Last Updated on Monday, 06 January 2020 14:20
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