Tuesday, August 2, 2016

NC voter ID law overturned by appeals court, which called it "deliberately discriminatory"

A three judge panel for the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals announced its decision on Friday to overturn North Carolina's photo ID law that it said "disproportionately affected African Americans" and targeted them "with almost surgical precision."   The law would also have eliminated early voting, same day registration, and other measures that disproportionately affect African-Americans.

The opinion further asserted that the state's "asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the state’s true motivation," which the unanimous opinion characterized as "intentional discrimination."  From the written opinion:
"The only clear factor linking the various "reforms" is their impact on African-American voters.  The record thus makes obvious that the "problem" the majority in the General Assembly sought to remedy was emerging support for the minority party."
This is the most important decision on a voting rights law in years.  A federal district court had previously upheld the law, and North Carolina could ask for another hearing before the full appelate court.  Depending on that, it could wind up before the Supreme Court.

Assuming that this 4th Circuit Court decision prevails, this is a big victory for democracy.   It is unlikely that a different decision by a larger court could be in place by the November election.


Later breaking story:   A federal judge has also struck down parts of a Wisconsin law requiring a photo ID and other provisions.

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