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Appeals court reverses injunction on North Carolina voter ID law

Greg Nash

A federal appeals court on Wednesday reversed an injunction on North Carolina’s controversial law that would require residents to have a photo ID to vote. 

A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed a lower-court decision enjoining S.B. 824, which opponents claimed would disenfranchise minority voters. 

A district court ruled in December 2019 that the state could not implement the requirement, according to WTVD, and said it must stop telling the public that photo ID would be required for all 2020 elections. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) had argued that the injunction should be upheld because it would impact “minority voters who are both least likely to possess photo IDs that satisfy S.B. 824 and most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

Counsel representing the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP had also argued that the “unprecedented recent history of racially discriminatory election laws” could not be overlooked. 

In its ruling, the appeals court found that the lower court abused its discretion, finding “fundamental legal errors that permeate the opinion—the flipping of the burden of proof and the failure to provide the presumption of legislative good faith—that irrevocably affected its outcome.” 

However, the court did acknowledge “that there is a long and shameful history of race-based voter suppression in North Carolina.” 

“Now that a federal appeals court has approved North Carolina’s voter ID law and constitutional amendment, they must be implemented for the next election cycle in our state,” North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R), said in a statement

Moore was a sponsor of the state’s voter ID constitutional amendment that was passed in 2018. 

The legislation was passed by the state legislature after the 4th Circuit struck down a series of restrictive voter laws in 2016, stating that the provisions were targeted toward disenfranchising Black voters “with almost surgical precision.”

Tags North Carolina Voter ID law

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