Court Upholds North Carolina Voter ID Law Previously Struck Down For ‘Racial Discrimination’

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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 A North Carolina federal appeals court ruled that a 2018 voter ID law was not passed with racist intent on Wednesday, according to the Charlotte Observer. 

A lower court had previously ruled against the state legislature on New Year’s Eve 2019, citing past cases of racist voter suppression in the state, according to the Charlotte Observer. Trial court judge Loretta Briggs said at the time that the law was tainted because “racial discrimination and racial polarization have historically pervaded North Carolina’s political climate — and still do.”

Advocates for the law aren’t in the clear yet, as a related case is simultaneously advancing through the state court system as well, the Observer reports. The federal case could also be appealed, once again, to a higher court. (RELATED: Justice Barrett’s Vote Already Looking To Be Decisive In First Big Gun Rights Case In Years)

Republicans previously passed a voter ID law in 2013 that was struck down by the court system after opponents argued it was meant to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” Briggs cited that case in her ruling on the new law, which was passed after North Carolina residents voted by a 55% majority to enshrine voter ID requirements in the state constitution during the 2018 midterm elections, per the Observer. 

The new ruling in favor of the law said that Briggs “penalized the General Assembly because of who they were, instead of what they did.” Her decision prevented voter ID from being required in the 2020 election this November. (RELATED: North Carolina Slated To Receive 85,000 Doses Of Pfizer Vaccine, Governor Says)

Democratic State Sen. Erica Smith, who ran in the 2020 primary for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat, said the law was a “transparent attempt to suppress the Black vote” and called Wednesday’s decision “dangerous.” 

NC House Speaker Tim Moore said in a statement it was time to implement the law in future elections. “Now that a federal appeals court has approved North Carolina’s voter ID law and constitutional amendment, they must be implemented for the next election cycle in our state.”