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Victory: North Carolina Legislators Won’t Be Able to Suppress the Vote This Election

Voter suppression
Voter suppression
Julie Ebenstein,
Senior Staff Attorney,
Voting Rights Project, ACLU
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July 29, 2016

A federal appeals court today struck down the entirety of North Carolina’s voter suppression law in a sweeping victory for voting rights. The ruling blocks voter ID and restores preregistration, a week of early voting, same-day registration, and out-of-precinct provisional voting.

The ruling is a stinging rebuke of the North Carolina legislature’s attempt to undermine African-American voter participation, which had surged over the last decade. In 2013, state legislators with surgical precision tried to eliminate voting practices disproportionately used by Black voters. The appeals court declared that the challenged provisions “constitute solutions in search of a problem.”

“Faced with this record,” the court held it could "only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Coalition for Social Justice were two of the organizations involved in fighting voter suppression. Now all North Carolinians will be able to vote, free of unnecessary obstacles their legislature put in their way in 2013.

When we filed the lawsuit in 2013, we charged the law unduly burdened the right to vote and discriminated against African-American voters, in violation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act. A lower court upheld the law in April, prompting the Fourth Circuit appeal.

The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, and Southern Coalition for Social Justice represent the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, North Carolina Common Cause, Unifour Onestop Collaborative, and several individuals.

The ruling is a major victory for North Carolina voters and for voting rights in general.

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