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NC court strikes down voter ID law, once again arguing that photo requirements are racist

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A three-judge panel in North Carolina recently struck down a voter photo identification law passed in the state, once again trotting out the tired argument that such a law discriminates against black residents.

What are the details?

In a 2-1 ruling issued Friday, the Wake County Superior Court concluded that the Republican lawmakers who passed the law were motivated "at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters."

The law, which requires that state residents present a photo ID in order to vote, was first enacted in December 2018 after a supermajority of Republican state representatives overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. But now the law has been rendered unenforceable.

The two judges who voted in the majority, Michael O'Foghludha and Vince Rozier, both Democrats, cited a 2015 analysis that purportedly found that 9.6% of black "registered voters lacked acceptable ID" for voting under a previous, similar voter ID bill, "as compared with 4.5% of white registered voters."

The dissenting judge, Nathaniel Poovey, a Republican, wrote that "not one scintilla of evidence was introduced during this trial that any legislator acted with racially discriminatory intent."

But in the ruling, the Democratic judges argued that Republican lawmakers, despite not harboring any racial hatred, acted in a discriminatory fashion by passing the law with partisan intent.

"In reaching this conclusion, we do not find that any member of the General Assembly who voted in favor of S.B. 824 harbors any racial animus or hatred towards African American voters," the judges said. "But rather, as with H.B. 589, that the Republican majority 'target[ed] voters who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party. Even if done for partisan ends, that constitute[s] racial discrimination.'"

Lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Allison Riggs, said, "The state's Republican-controlled legislature undeniably implemented this legislation to maintain its power by targeting voters of color."

What else?

The ruling dealt another blow to decade-long Republican efforts to pass a voter ID law in the state, WRAL-TV reported. Republicans have argued that a photo ID requirement would enhance election security and bolster confidence in state elections.

Defendants vowed to challenge the decision, likely sending the case to the state appeals court, which previously blocked the law's enforcement last year.

"Once again, liberal judges have defied the will of North Carolinians on election integrity," said Sam Hayes, general counsel for Republican House Speaker Tim Moore, in a statement.

Voter photo ID laws remain popular among an overwhelming majority of Americans, including black and minority voters, yet Democrats across the country continue to decry the requirement as racist.

Such laws have even been implemented in 46 of 47 European democracies — the same liberal places often championed by progressives in America. Still, the opposition rages on.

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