High court denies review of North Carolina voting laws

High court denies review of North Carolina voting laws
© Greg Nash
The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request to review of the legality of North Carolina’s new voting laws that opponents call discriminatory.
 
North Carolina v. League of Women Voters stems from the sweeping new voter laws North Carolina pursued after the Supreme Court lifted certain restrictions of the Voting Rights Act in June 2013.
 
The state’s voting reforms created stricter voter-identification requirements, cut a week off of early voting, prohibited local election boards from keeping polls open on the final Saturday afternoon before elections, eliminated same-day voter registration, opened up precincts to challengers, eliminated preregistration of 16 and 17-year-olds in high school and barred votes cast in the wrong precinct from being counted, according to court documents.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
The League of Women Voters sued the state, arguing the laws violated equal protections under the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. But the district court denied the league’s request for a preliminary injunction, court documents said.
 
With the Supreme Court declining to review of the case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling is upheld. North Carolina is still prohibited from enforcing two of its provisions ­— one that keeps voters from being able to register to vote on the same day as an election and another that prohibits votes cast in the wrong polling place from being counted.
 
Though the Supreme Court reinstated those provisions in October when it granted North Carolina’s request for a recall and stay of the mandates imposed by the appellate court ruling, that order was set to expire if the court denied a request to review the state's appeal.
 
The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Advancement Project and Kirkland & Ellis LLP are challenging all of North Carolina’s new voting provisions. A full trial in district court is schedule for July.
 
In a statement, the North Carolina State Conference of NAACP said it’s encouraged by the high court’s decision to let the Fourth Circuit Court ruling stand, but the fight continues.
 
“Other provisions of North Carolina’s voter suppression law — including the shortening of the early voting period, the implementation of a strict photo ID requirement, and the elimination of a successful pre-registration program for 16- and 17-year-olds — also disproportionately hurt voters of color,” NAACP conference President Rev. William Barber II said. “We are ready to head to trial this summer and make sure that all parts of this harmful law are permanently overturned.”