A North Carolina judge has ruled that the state’s November elections will take place under the new Republican-backed voter laws, writing that there was insufficient evidence to show that the law would cause “irreparable harm” if left in place.
US District Judge Thomas Schroeder said that the plaintiffs, including the League of Women Voters, the state NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several North Carolina churches, raised plausible claims against the law, but an injunction was unnecessary at this time as the case was being litigated in the courts. Schroeder, who was appointed by George W. Bush, denied the motion from the state seeking to dismiss the case completely, and it will come to trial next year.
The new voter law, which has been called one of the most suppressive in the country, eliminates same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting, reduces the number of early-voting days from 17 to 10, and requires a government-issued photo ID, specifically barring the acceptance of college IDs, even those from state-run schools.
Those fighting this law say the changes are an attempt by the GOP to disenfranchise those groups that tend to vote more Democratic — minorities, the elderly, and college students. In the 2008 and 2012 elections, about 70 percent of black voters cast ballots through early voting and were more likely to use same-day registration than other demographics.
Although they are disappointed that the November elections will take place with the restrictions in place, the plaintiffs are pleased that the case will see trial.
“While we had hoped the court would recognize this irreparable harm, the ultimate goal is to see these discriminatory measures struck down,” Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project said in a statement. “We look forward to making our case at full trial, which is something the state had sought to avoid.”
In a press release, state NAACP president Rev. William Barber said,
“The court appears to have lost touch with the fears and rumors that pervade poor communities, and it ignores the long history of voter suppression tricks that take advantage of the fears and rumors.”
Those who support the law argue that Schroeder’s decision proves that the state’s law is constitutional.
“This is a victory for North Carolina’s popular law that requires identification to vote,” said Gov. Pat McCroy’s Chief Legal Counsel, Bob Stephens. “North Carolina is joining a majority of states in common sense protection that preserve the sanctity of the voting booth.”
The “sanctity of the voting booth” is something that, no matter how hard the GOP tries to convince us otherwise, hasn’t really been violated.
An investigation by a Loyola University Law School professor showed that since 2000, out of more than one billion cast ballots, there were only 31 credible incidents of voter impersonation. Not 31 prosecutions of those accused of voter fraud, but just 31 credible accusations in the “general, primary, special, and municipal elections from 2000 to 2014.”
Republicans can’t win elections based on their out-dated policies anymore, so they are using every trick in their dirty playbook to steal elections: gerrymandering districts to the point Republicans run unopposed, attempting to disenfranchise any group that votes Democratic, using false statistics and fear-mongering to scare voters. Republicans will try anything they can think of to win elections, except update their antiquated points of view to better serve the majority of the people to which they are elected to serve.