Two North Carolina judges have blocked a discriminatory voter ID law in the state, which they apparently concluded would’ve left Black voters struggling to maintain access to the electoral process. The disputed law is from 2018, and Superior Court Judges Michael O’Foghludha and Vince Rozier concluded in their majority opinion in this case that the law “was motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters.” The judges added that other, “less restrictive voter ID laws would have sufficed to achieve the legitimate nonracial purposes of implementing the constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, deterring fraud, or enhancing voter confidence.” (It’s an amendment to the North Carolina state Constitution demanding ID to vote.)
The Associated Press notes that, although further proceedings seem imminent, the “law remains unenforceable with this ruling.” Allison Riggs, who served as a lead attorney for plaintiffs in this case, said that the new ruling shows “how the state’s Republican-controlled legislature undeniably implemented this legislation to maintain its power by targeting voters of color.” The case was heard by a three-judge panel, and one member of the panel (Judge Nathaniel Poovey) supported allowing the controversial law to be enforced, insisting that “evidence before this three-judge panel does not suggest our legislature enacted this law with a racially discriminatory intent.”
This voter ID law emerged after an attempt in earlier years to impose voter ID regulations in North Carolina. An earlier bill including such regulations was also partly struck down in court, with a federal court concluding that the provisions had been put together to target Black voters with “almost surgical precision.” During the trial ahead of these judges’ ruling on the more recent law, some “of the plaintiffs testified about their difficulties in obtaining an ID or voting when the earlier photo ID law was in effect,” the Associated Press explains. Although the more recent law broadened the list of forms of voter ID that would be allowed, those two judges “decided that the changes didn’t eliminate fully the racial bias and permanently blocked enforcement of the ID law,” as the Associated Press adds. Read more at this link.