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Friday, June 14, 2024

Date for federal N.C. NAACP Voter ID case expected shortly

By Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / December 14, 2023

Yes, North Carolina has already begun to use voter photo identification, but its constitutionality is still under litigation in federal court, and a federal judge is soon expected to determine a trial date before the 2024 elections.

Voter ID was used in the recent local municipal 2023 elections, but as of this writing, Federal District Court Judge Loretta Biggs has not made a decision for a trial date in a pending lawsuit between the N.C. NAACP and Republican legislative leaders.

The longer Judge Biggs takes to make a decision, the more likely voter ID will be used at least during the March 5th primaries, which are under four months away.
This federal lawsuit has been five years in the making, filed the day after the N.C. General Assembly passed voter ID legislation in 2018.

For the N.C. NAACP, the argument is simple – this voter ID law is racially discriminatory just like the one previous to it, even though Republican legislative leaders insist that the 2018 version is much more inclusive. The N.C. NAACP would like the trial to commence no later than February 2024 so that a favorable decision can affect both the 2024 primaries and November elections.

Republican leaders, naturally, are taking the opposing position, preferring to delay a trial, and arguing against setting a trial date that is “too soon.” Part of the GOP’s reasoning includes Judge Biggs, a federal judge who ruled in favor of the N.C. NAACP in 2019. That ruling then was overturned by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, effectively sending the case back to Biggs’ jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, in another election case filed in federal court, the N.C. Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee at press time were still seeking a preliminary injunction blocking changes that would affect same-day registration. Those proposed changes are contained in Senate Bill 747, which passed the Republican-led legislature back in November. Republican legislative leaders, the state Republican Party and the State Board of Elections are all opposing the motion for an injunction.

“To the extent that S.B. 747 actually altered existing law, this Court should defer to the General Assembly’s reasonable interpretations of S.B. 747 because the same-day registration provisions do not impose an undue burden on the right to vote or deprive any North Carolinians of their due process rights,” attorneys for the GOP legislative leaders said in their argument to block the injunction.


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