Saturday, September 18, 2021

North Carolina court blocks state voter ID law, citing ‘intent to target African American voters’

A North Carolina state court panel on Friday blocked a voter identification law, citing discrimination against Black voters.

The law, known as SB 824, was passed in 2018 after Republicans lost their supermajority in the legislature but before the new legislature took over. It was already on hold under a preliminary injunction, after North Carolina’s Court of Appeals said voter ID provisions could negatively impact Black voters. But now the state court has permanently blocked the law, which required photo identification to vote.

The majority of the three-judge panel said Friday that the law “was motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters.”

“Other, less restrictive voter ID laws would have sufficed to achieve the legitimate nonracial purposes of implementing the constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, deterring fraud, or enhancing voter confidence,” Superior Court Judges Michael O’Foghludha and Vince Rozier wrote in their ruling Friday.

In a statement, Southern Coalition for Social Justice co-executive director and chief counsel for voting rights Allison Riggs and pro bono counsel Andrew Ehrlich — attorneys who served on behalf of a group of North Carolina voters — said they “hope” the ruling sent “a strong message that racial discrimination will not be tolerated.”

The statement continued: “Today’s ruling striking down North Carolina’s latest unconstitutional photo voter ID law is a testament to the overwhelming evidence, including compelling stories of disenfranchisement from voters themselves, which highlighted how the state’s Republican-controlled legislature undeniably implemented this legislation to maintain its power by targeting voters of color."


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