North Carolina governor urges court to strike down voter ID measure

North Carolina governor urges court to strike down voter ID measure
© Stefani Reynolds

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Friday implored a federal appeals court to maintain an injunction on on a state law that would require residents to have a photo ID to vote.

The measure, S.B. 824, has already been blocked by state and federal judges before. Cooper urged the court not to allow it to take effect with less than two months to go before the November election.

“Lifting the injunction now would be disastrous,” Cooper's attorneys told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, according to The Washington Post. “The brunt would be borne by the same voters whom S.B. 824 targeted for disenfranchisement in the first place: minority voters who are both least likely to possess photo IDs that satisfy S.B. 824 and most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

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The legislation was passed by the state legislature after the same court struck down a series of restrictive voter laws in 2016, stating at the time that the provisions were targeted towards disenfranchising Black voters "with almost surgical precision."

Counsel representing the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP reportedly argued in court that the “unprecedented recent history of racially discriminatory election laws" in the state can't be overlooked.

Eighteen states including North Carolina ask voters for a photo ID before they can cast their ballots, though the measure in the Tar Heel State is on hold. An additional 17 states have similar laws but are more lenient, accepting non-photo identification like bank statements.

The oral arguments come after North Carolina's elections board weighed in on another election issue this week, signaling it would not try to block enforcement of a ruling that allows more convicted felons to vote in the fall. Legislators in the state could still appeal the ruling from last week.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court on Friday upheld a measure in Florida that requires as many as 1 million felons in the state to pay fines and fees before they can become eligible to vote.

Updated: Sept. 12 at 8:17 a.m.