NC Law Responding to Coronavirus Could Help Republicans in a Voter ID Lawsuit

July 10, 2020by Will Doran, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (TNS)
NC Law Responding to Coronavirus Could Help Republicans in a Voter ID Lawsuit

RALEIGH, N.C. — This spring when North Carolina state lawmakers were debating a bill making it easier for people to vote by mail in November because of coronavirus, they also added in an unrelated provision about photo IDs.

Now, Republican legislative leaders say that because that provision made it into law when Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill June 12, the requirement for voter ID in North Carolina needs to be reinstated. They made that argument in a court filing Thursday. If their argument is successful, then voters could be required to show IDs in the 2020 general election happening this fall.

“It is past time for activist courts to stop blocking another commonsense elections policy that is required by North Carolina’s constitution and a strong majority of other states,” North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican from Cleveland County, said in a written statement announcing the new legal filing.

The state’s voter ID law has been blocked from going into effect by both state and federal courts, with judges agreeing that it appears to have been written with racist intentions.


The new provision giving Republicans hope for a big court win just months before the election is an addition to the state’s rules for acceptable IDs, to include public assistance IDs with the person’s photo.

Democrats had originally wanted those cards to be included, back in 2018 when the voter ID law was being written, but Republicans refused.

Then one of the legal rulings against the voter ID law specifically cited that denial of the public assistance cards as a valid form of ID. So Republicans added a provision about it into the unrelated vote-by-mail bill. That led Democrats to object to it being included, and then legislators from both parties accused each other of being hypocrites.

Moore said Thursday that with this provision now officially law, “the General Assembly has adopted nearly every ‘ameliorative’ amendment proposed by (voter ID’s) opponents during the legislative process, and it also has addressed the key shortcoming identified by the Court of Appeals.”

When the new law passed with the provision on public assistance IDs, it was nearly unanimous. The main focus was the change to voting-by-mail rules, as well as millions of dollars for election purposes ranging from cybersecurity to sanitation needs in light of coronavirus concerns.

Those who did vote against it were all Democrats, many of them Black.

Supporters of photo voter ID say it’s meant to stop voter fraud. Evidence shows that voter fraud — and especially the types that photo voter ID laws would stop — does happen, but is almost nonexistent. Opponents of photo voter ID say it’s a really just a disguised attempt to make it harder for minorities and college students to vote since those groups are less likely than others to have IDs such as driver’s licenses.

The votes on this new bill happened in late May — when the national news was focused largely on the then-early days of Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, as well as scenes from Georgia where voters in urban areas were stuck waiting in line to vote for hours.


Greensboro Democratic state Sen. Gladys Robinson told her colleagues that “if we have any sensitivity toward any of the people who look like me and have been disenfranchised over centuries,” then they would pass an amendment to the bill nixing voter ID.

“To people like my little grandson who has to grow up, why would you put things like this in the bill?” she said. “You’re taking shots. You’re taking shots, again, at African Americans.”

Most states have some type of voter ID law, although only 17 require photo IDs. That would increase to 18 if Republicans win the North Carolina lawsuit.

Moore said that of the 17 other states with photo voter ID laws in place, North Carolina’s would be the least strict — if it doesn’t continue to be blocked in court.

“North Carolina has one of the most lenient photo voter ID laws in the country, because voters who do not have a qualifying ID can still cast a ballot in our state or present an expired ID for up to a year,” Moore said. “We went even further to provide free government issued IDs and accept a broad range of qualifying documentation.”

Since 2013 the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly has passed voter ID laws twice, mostly along party lines.

The first law was struck down as unconstitutional for being racially biased. Federal courts found that lawmakers used the law to target Black North Carolinians for voter suppression “with almost surgical precision.” Shortly after that the Legislature tried again, asking voters in 2018 to approve a new state constitutional amendment for voter ID.

The amendment passed with around 55% support — showing that some Democrats support voter ID too, since that was the same year as the “Blue Wave” elections that saw large Democratic gains.

But both the amendment itself and the specific language that lawmakers wrote after it passed have been temporarily put on hold due to court cases where, again, judges have cast doubt on the constitutionality of the Legislature’s actions.

Republican lawmakers are currently appealing their losses in three different lawsuits related to voter ID. Two are about the law itself, in state and in federal court. The other is about the amendment, in state court. The filing Moore announced Thursday was in the state-level lawsuit over the law.

———


©2020 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

State News

June 21, 2022
by Dan McCue
Justices to Decide Future of Mob Watchdog on Waterfront

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will try to resolve a dispute between New York and New Jersey... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will try to resolve a dispute between New York and New Jersey over the latter’s desire to back out of a 1953 agreement to work together to combat corruption and racketeering on the waterfront docks the two states... Read More

April 13, 2022
by Reece Nations
First Bus of Texas Migrants Arrives Near Capitol 

WASHINGTON — A week after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to begin transporting busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C., the... Read More

WASHINGTON — A week after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to begin transporting busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C., the first transport arrived blocks away from the Capitol building. At Abbott’s direction, the Texas Division of Emergency Management chartered the buses to transport the people apprehended... Read More

February 22, 2022
by Kate Michael
‘Freedom First’ Approach Sees Florida Tourism Grow Beyond Pre-Pandemic Levels

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida tourism is rebounding exceptionally well and even surpassing pre-pandemic levels according to a recent announcement from... Read More

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida tourism is rebounding exceptionally well and even surpassing pre-pandemic levels according to a recent announcement from Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Sunshine State welcomed 30.9 million visitors between October and December 2021, and nearly a full 118 million domestic visitors during the whole... Read More

California Adopts Nation's 1st 'Endemic' Virus Policy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California became the first state to formally shift to an “endemic” approach to the coronavirus with... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California became the first state to formally shift to an “endemic” approach to the coronavirus with Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement Thursday of a plan that emphasizes prevention and quick reaction to outbreaks over mandated masking and business shutdowns. The milestone, nearly two... Read More

California Oil Spill Renews Calls to Ban Offshore Drilling

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has been a leader in restricting offshore oil drilling since the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has been a leader in restricting offshore oil drilling since the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara spill that sparked the modern environmental movement, and the latest spill off Huntington Beach is prompting fresh calls for an end to such drilling. That's easier... Read More

September 14, 2021
by Victoria Turner
State and Local Governments Will Drive Broadband Deployment Success

States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed... Read More

States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed for nationwide high-speed broadband within President Biden’s infrastructure bill.  The broadband-related funding of the bill itself shows the federal government recognizes broadband as essential as a... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top