Supreme Court Refuses To Restore NC Voter ID

Supreme Court Rejects Voter ID Law

RALEIGH (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to reinstate North Carolina's voter identification requirement and keep just 10 early voting days this fall. The ruling means voters won't have to show their ID in order to vote and they'll have 17 days of early voting.

An attorney for the North Carolina NAACP, a plaintiff in this case, said they're gratified and elated, and said supporters of the voter ID law brought this on themselves.

"They had every opportunity to correct the discriminatory acts that they were engaged in and they refused to do it,” said Irving Joyner, legal counsel for North Carolina NAACP. “In the face of that, we had no choice but to challenge it in court."

One common argument posed by supporters of the voter ID law: why shouldn't you need your ID to vote when you need it for many other things?

"Voting is not like anything else,” responded Joyner. “Voting is a constitutional right, everything else is a privilege and when you're dealing with a constitutional right then you have to deal with that as the law mandates."

The ruling might be the final say in a battle that's lasted for years. In 2013, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed the bill and Governor McCrory signed it into law.

Then, the NAACP, Department of Justice and others filed suit saying it made it more difficult for minorities to vote.

You'll remember the protests outside the federal courthouse as the trial began in Winston-Salem last summer. In that case, the Federal district judge let the law stand.

The NAACP appealed the decision to the 4th circuit and, last month, the judges struck down the law. It said several parts of the law were intentionally biased against Black voters and said it was the worst law passed in North Carolina since Jim Crowe.

Meantime, Attorney General Roy Cooper, who disagreed with the law, refused to defend it in court.

What's next?

The state and McCrory could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the merits of the 4th Circuit opinion. But that's the only option left for supporters of the law.

 

"North Carolina has been denied basic voting rights already granted to more than 30 other states to protect the integrity of one person, one vote through a common-sense voter ID law," said McCrory in response.  
 
Attorney General Roy Cooper criticized McCrory after the ruling.
 
“Every legal, registered voter deserves the right to participate in the democratic process," said Cooper. "It’s a shame that Governor McCrory wasted taxpayer money and once again put his partisan political agenda ahead of everything else." 
 
Attorney General Roy Cooper's office also released a statement: 
 
“From the start, Governor McCrory should have followed Attorney General Cooper’s advice and vetoed this law. Every legal, registered voter deserves the right to participate in the Democratic process. It’s a shame that Governor McCrory wasted taxpayer money and once again put his partisan political agenda ahead of everything else,” said Cooper for NC spokesman Ford Porter.
 
In April, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder upheld all parts of the state's voter ID law.
 
A federal appeals court blocked the law in July, claiming it was in violation of the constitution and made it harder for African-Americans to vote.

The Supreme Court decision means voters won't have to show one of several qualifying photo IDs when casting ballots in the presidential battleground state. Early voting also reverts to 17 days.

Election officials already have been planning to comply with the appeals court decision.

Copyright 2016 WFMY


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