Three-judge panel won’t halt bill implementing voter ID during litigation
A three-judge panel Friday ruled it would not block North Carolina’s latest attempt to require a photo ID at the ballot box.
Six voters filed a lawsuit the day Senate Bill 824 was enacted, the measure implementing a constitutional amendment that requires a photo ID to vote. They alleged the new law is racially discriminatory and will result in eligible voters being disenfranchised.
Those voters — who are represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice — had asked the court to block the law from going into effect during the pendency of the litigation, but the Friday ruling states the three-judge panel doesn’t believe they will succeed on the merits of their case.
The decision was made 2-1, with Judges Nathaniel Poovey and Vince Rozier concurring and Judge Michael O’Foghludha dissenting.
“In weighing the equities for and against an injunction, Judge O’Fughludha would hold that the reasonable likelihood of disproportionate impact on minority voters would outweigh the likelihood of actual in-person voter fraud, as the risk of the latter, based on historical data, approaches zero,” his dissent states. “Further, the implementation of photographic voter ID pursuant to the constitutional amendment has already been delayed by further legislation until 2020, and the likelihood of voter confusion between disparate methods of in-person voting in 2019 and 2020 would be obviated by the preservation of the status quo during the pendency of this litigation.”
The three judges did agree to dismiss five of the plaintiffs six claims in the lawsuit. Read more about the case here, and read the full Friday order below.
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