North Carolina Lawmakers Ask Panel to Let Them Join Voter ID Case

Courthouse News Service,  May 28, 2020

"Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly pressed a Fourth Circuit panel Wednesday to allow them to intervene on behalf of the state in a lawsuit over its controversial voter ID requirements.

The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and smaller city-based chapters successfully sued to halt the state elections board from enforcing Senate Bill 824, which requires voters to show photo identification at the polls.

The lawsuit filed against state officials in charge of enforcing the 2018 law alleges that it is discriminatory because it would disproportionately affect black and Latino voters. The NAACP claims the law violates the Voting Rights Act as well as the First and 14th Amendments.

Last December, a federal judge temporarily blocked the law from being enforced in the state’s March primary. U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs, a Barack Obama appointee, wrote in her 60-page opinion that discriminatory intent was likely behind the law.

Two GOP members of the North Carolina General Assembly sought to intervene, claiming that the state elections board and Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein failed to adequately defend state interests in the case. The district court denied their motion, prompting an appeal to the Fourth Circuit.

State Senator Phil Berger and state Representative Tim Moore urged the Richmond, Virginia-based appeals court on Wednesday to let the lawmakers step in to defend the voter ID statute.

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It is unclear when the court will issue a ruling in the case."

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Hannah Piercey

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