A 2013 North Carolina voter ID law, which required voters to present an approved form of photo identification before casting a valid ballot, is essentially dead after the Supreme Court refused to hear North Carolina’s appeal in the case
In a lower court, a North Carolina Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judge found that the North Carolina General Assembly had enacted legislation which effectively restricted voting and registration in ways that disproportionately affected black voters “with almost surgical precision.”
The North Carolina law also changed the early voting period from 17 days to 10 days and eliminated out-of-precinct voting, same-day registration, same-day voting and preregistration by 16-year-olds.
Chief Justice John Roberts made a statement indicating that the court’s refusal to hear the case isn’t about its merits.
“Given the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in this Court under North Carolina law, it is important to recall our frequent admonition that ‘the denial of a writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case,’ ” Roberts said.
Democrats, like Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez, are calling the decision a “huge victory for voters and a massive blow to Republicans trying to restrict access to the ballot, especially in communities of color.” He says the GOP has “rammed through laws like this one to make it harder” for people to vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice agreed that the refusal was a victory.
Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said the law had “discriminatory intent” and targeted African-American voters. He said it deserved it’s demise.
Hans von Spakovsky, Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative manager, also spoke about the decision. “It is disappointing that the Supreme Court did not accept for review an obviously wrong decision by a 4th Circuit panel that doesn’t follow the Court’s own precedent and other decisions on voter ID by other federal courts,” he said.
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