GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT)- The 2013 Voter ID law is no longer constitutional in North Carolina.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel issued an opinion Friday that reverses a lower court’s ruling that upheld the law.
The ruling read in part:
We can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the district court to the contrary and remand with instructions to enjoin the challenged provisions of the law.”
The North Carolina General Assembly in 2013 passed a sweeping set of election changes including requiring photo identification, cutting back on early voting days and getting rid of same-day registration on Election Day.
The U.S. Justice Department, state NAACP, League of Women Voters and others filed suit claiming the law was discriminatory against minority voters.
The state’s attorneys and leaders defended the law calling it a common sense measure. A round of responses trickled out Friday afternoon.
Governor Pat McCrory’s office issued a statement calling the ruling unprecedented.
“Photo IDs are required to purchase sudafed, cash a check, board an airplane or enter a federal court room. Yet, three Democratic judges are undermining the integrity of our elections while also maligning our state. We will immediately appeal and also review other potential options.”
-Governor Pat McCrory (R-North Carolina)
The North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Rockingham) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Cleveland) issued a joint statement.
“Since today’s decision by three partisan Democrats ignores legal precedent, ignores the fact that other federal courts have used North Carolina’s law as a model, and ignores the fact that a majority of other states have similar protections in place, we can only wonder if the intent is to reopen the door for voter fraud, potentially allowing fellow Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper to steal the election. We will obviously be appealing this politically-motivated decision to the Supreme Court.”
-Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland)
The North Carolina Board of Elections issued a response for the voters in the state.
“We encourage all voters to stay informed of developments over the coming weeks. Our agency is carefully reviewing today’s decision from the Fourth Circuit. Absent alternative guidance from the courts, voters will not be asked to show photo identification this election. Early voting will run October 20 through November 5, and same-day registration will be available at early voting sites. If voters do not appear at their assigned precinct within their county, their vote will still count for all eligible contests. However, to avoid voting a provisional ballot, we encourage voters to appear at their properly-assigned precinct on Election Day. Counsel for the state are reviewing options on appeal. Regardless of the outcome, our agency will continue to educate voters and prepare elections officials ahead of November.”
-NC Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach
WNCT reached out to representatives of Eastern North Carolina Friday afternoon. North Carolina Representative Susan Martin responded saying the decision goes against common sense.
“It’s been through many other courts and has come out fine. Other courts have called it a model law. It’s been rolled out over a number of years. It has given a lot of opportunity for every citizen to get an ID or if they have a hardship to still vote. Our citizens fully support it. It’s just activism at its worst.”
-NC District 8 Representative Susan Martin (R-Pitt, Wilson)
North Carolina Senator Bill Cook also responded, calling for an appeal.
“We crafted these reforms to help provide transparency in our elections and ensure that every vote is counted equally – because the fact is that every time a fraudulent vote is cast, it cancels out a legitimate vote and robs a law-abiding citizen of their constitutional right.”
-NC District 1 Senator Bill Cook (R- Beaufort, Camden, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans)