North Carolina’s GOP Chairman Robin Hayes is confident the legislature will move “very quickly” to pass a new law that reflects the “monster” voting bill’s premise.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided today that it would not take on an appeal to reinstate the omnibus voter law, which would require an identification to vote, reduce early voting from 17 to 10 days, abolish same-day registration, preregistration for teens in civic classes and out-of-precinct voting.
In an unusual move, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the decision was not reflective of justices’ opinions on the merits of the case.
Republicans were disappointed in the decision but took Roberts’ statement as an opportunity to blame Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein for meddling in the case as the reason it was denied certiorari. Democrats are celebrating the decision as a victory for voting rights.
When asked if he would call on the legislature to react with a new bill, Hayes said, “I don’t have to call on them, they have already in their statements that I’ve looked at made it very clear that they would aggressively and responsibly move forward again to make sure that the rights of everyone in North Carolina to have free and fair elections is established.”
He didn’t have any concrete information about what was coming, but said he expects lawmakers to look at the basics of the law that was struck down, stick to those basics and build something around things that are precedent and already in place in other states.
“The legislature is going to respond in a way to make sure that this happens in an acceptable fashion,” he added.
He and NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse specifically pointed to same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting as “intense issues” that needed to be targeted.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice released a report a few weeks ago that found same-day registration was used broadly by Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated voters; it allowed for participation from North Carolinians who move frequently; it created a safety net for voters whose registration had been inadvertently removed or not processed; and it provided a secure and convenient way to register eligible voters.
According to the report, 100,258 North Carolinians used same-day registration in the November election, an increase from the 97,100 who used the process in the 2012 general election.
Slightly more Democrats used the process in terms of absolute numbers, but a higher proportion of Republicans used it according to the report. Democratic registrants comprised 35 percent of all same-day voters; Republicans 34 percent; unaffiliated 30 percent; and Libertarian 1 percent.
Hayes said the process is an “unnecessary and unfair burden on the people that we have tasked to run these elections.”
When asked about the lower court’s ruling that the omnibus law targeted African American voters “with almost surgical precision,” Hayes said a judge did not act as a judge — though three judges were part of the decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, with only one judge dissenting from one part of the bill.
“This person was tasked to interpret the law, not interpret what people’s motives were,” Hayes said of the decision. “How he can take the liberty to say, ‘they did this because,’ is insanely absurd. That was never the case. That’s the last thing we want injected, or maintained or to be a part of this.”
He called the ruling improper, and said he thinks the legislature will hopefully come up with something that is “right, fair and makes sense and will pass the judicial test, hopefully with a fair judge.”