North Carolina’s requirement that voters present photo identification at the polls has long been called a disguised attempt to suppress the black vote.
The Rev. William Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove have called voting rights rollbacks, like the one in North Carolina, the “second career of James Crow, Esq.” for their racially discriminatory impact.
Now, a federal court has agreed. On July 29, a panel of three federal appeals judges ruled 3-0 that North Carolina’s voter identification law is illegal because it was “passed with racially discriminatory intent.”
The ruling also invalidated limits the same state law placed in 2013 on early voting, same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and preregistration.
…"The record makes clear that the historical origin of the challenged provisions in this statute is not the innocuous back-and-forth of routine partisan struggle that the State suggests and that the district court accepted," Judge DIana Motz wrote on behalf of Judges James Wynn and Henry Floyd. "Rather, the General Assembly enacted them in the immediate aftermath of unprecedented African American voter participation in a state with a troubled racial history and racially polarized voting. The district court clearly erred in ignoring or dismissing this historical background evidence, all of which supports a finding of discriminatory intent."
… The state could seek to appeal the decision to the full bench of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court, but it seems unlikely those courts will step in to restore the voter ID law and other voting-related changes in advance of the November election.