Voting rights advocates respond to latest voter ID ruling

A three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit may have voided a District Court ruling that put a preliminary hold on the General Assembly’s latest effort to require North Carolinians to produce a photo ID in order to vote yesterday, but it’s far from the end of the story according to voting rights advocates.

As both the North Carolina NAACP and Democracy North Carolina pointed out in statements released after the ruling was handed down, the groups had always anticipated that the matter would proceed to a full trial (which is the next step in the case) and remain confident that they will prevail in the end. The advocates also noted that a separate state court lawsuit on the matter continues to move forward as well.

This is from the NAACP statement:

“…this preliminary ruling does not mean that the state of North Carolina is now authorized to implement its proposed strict photo voter ID requirement. The injunction from a state case challenging S.B. 824 (Holmes v. Moore) remains in place. Both the Holmes matter and NAACP v. Cooper are set to go to trial in 2021 for a final resolution on the merits.

Attorney Irv Joyner, counsel representing the NC NAACP plaintiffs, made the following statement today: ‘NC NAACP is reviewing this decision and we are considering all appellate options. We steadfastly believe that the Honorable Judge Biggs’s findings and determinations were correct at the preliminary injunction phase.  Nonetheless, under the reasoning of the decision today, NC NAACP Plaintiffs’ evidence will also prevail at trial on the full merits and we look forward to the fight for justice ahead.’

…SB 824 is being challenged on the grounds that the law was passed with a discriminatory intent and will produce discriminatory results on African-American and Latinx voters. The law is being challenged under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. S.B. 824 requires registered voters to show one of a limited number of photo identification cards in order to cast a ballot and have it counted in a North Carolina election. This requirement will disproportionately injure African American and Latinx voters, who are less likely than other members of the electorate to possess the required forms of identification and who also face disproportionate burdens in obtaining such identification. As a result, African American and Latinx voters are more likely than other North Carolina voters to have their votes denied, diluted, or abridged by S.B. 824.”

And this is from Democracy NC:

“Strict photo voter ID requirements have faced scrutiny in North Carolina since 2013, when legislators passed a similar bill that the Fourth Circuit later held discriminated against Black voters with ‘surgical precision.’ The law at issue in this, S.B. 824 is being challenged on the grounds that the law was passed with a discriminatory intent and will produce discriminatory results on Black and Latinx voters. NAACP v. Raymond challenges S.B. 824 under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the 15th Amendment of the Constitution. The plaintiffs in this case are the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, Greensboro NAACP, High Point NAACP, Moore County NAACP, Stokes County NAACP, and Winston-Salem Forsyth County NAACPs. In their statement earlier today, the plaintiffs anticipated the case proceeding to a full trial. A separate suit remains active in the North Carolina state court system, where an injunction blocking the ID requirement’s implementation remains in place.

Voting rights advocacy group Democracy North Carolina will continue to gather data and stories to showcase the requirement will ultimately disenfranchise thousands of NC Black and Latinx voters by limiting their access to the ballot. This type of legislation deprives eligible voters of their right to vote and reduces overall participation in the democratic process.

Tomas Lopez, Executive Director of Democracy North Carolina states, ‘We will continue to fight racially discriminatory voting laws that hinder Black and Latinx voters’ fundamental right to access the ballot. Despite today’s ruling, a state court injunction blocking the photo voter ID requirement remains in place, and both the federal and state cases remain active.'”

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