Federal Appeals Court Blocks North Carolina Voting Restrictions in Time for Midterm Election

October 1, 2014 2:09 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed a lower court ruling that had allowed provisions of North Carolina’s restrictive voting law to go into effect before the midterm election. Today’s order restores same-day registration and reinstates out-of-precinct provisional voting on Voting Rights Act grounds. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice are challenging those provisions, as well as the elimination of a week of early voting.

“The court’s order safeguards the vote for tens of thousands of North Carolinians. It means they will be able to continue to use same-day registration, just as they have during the last three federal elections,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

“This is a victory for voters in the state of North Carolina,” said Southern Coalition for Social Justice staff attorney Allison Riggs. “The court has rebuked attempts to undermine voter participation.”

Background: North Carolina passed a restrictive voting law in August 2013. The ACLU and Southern Coalition for Social Justice challenged provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit out-of-precinct voting. The groups charge that implementing these provisions would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act.

In recent elections, North Carolinians could register, or update their registration information, and vote in one trip to an early voting site. In both 2008 and 2012, approximately 250,000 people did so. African Americans disproportionately relied on same-day registration in both elections. The new law eliminates this opportunity to register, effectively disenfranchising tens of thousands of voters.

The case, League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. North Carolina, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

Today’s order is at: https://www.aclu.org/voting-rights/league-women-voters-north-carolina-et-al-v-north-carolina-judgment-order

More information is at: https://www.aclu.org/voting-rights/league-women-voters-north-carolina-et-al-v-north-carolina

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release