Appeals Court Strikes Down NC Voting Changes, Citing Discriminatory Intent

Jul 29, 2016

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A federal appeals court has struck down major parts of North Carolina's sweeping election overhaul. The three-judge panel ruled unanimously Friday the state's Republican lawmakers passed the 2013 changes with discriminatory intent.

Republican state lawmakers cut a week from early voting; eliminated same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and preregistration of high schoolers; and created a photo ID requirement when the passed the law three years ago.

The U.S. Justice Department, the League of Women Voters and others sued. They used data to show African-Americans disproportionately relied on the things that were reduced or eliminated, and lacked IDs at higher rates than whites.

Writing for the federal appeals court, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz says the changes target African-Americans with “almost surgical precision.”

"We cannot ignore the record evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history,” she continued.

The federal appeals court decision reverses a lower court decision that upheld the law. North Carolina's attorneys are likely to appeal.  

Stay tuned to WFAE for coverage as this story develops.