NC judge formally strikes down voter ID law

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Wednesday, January 1, 2020
NC judge formally strikes down voter ID law
VIDEO FROM 2019: A North Carolina judge formally struck down the law requiring voters to show a photo ID at polls

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A North Carolina judge formally struck down the law requiring voters to show a photo ID at polls.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs released her written order Tuesday, granting an injunction against Gov. Roy Cooper, North Carolina State Board of Elections Chair Robert Cordle, North Carolina State Board of Elections Secretary Stella Anderson, and board members Kenneth Raymond, Jefferson Carmon III and David Black. According to the injunction, the defendants cannot implement the new voter-ID requirements and must stop any communications to the public that say a photo ID will be required for all 2020 elections.

RELATED: Court temporarily blocks NC from requiring photo ID at polls in 2020

Election officials also have to work with local media and voter-education groups to inform voters that they will not need photo ID this election.

Several North Carolina chapters of the NAACP filed the lawsuit the day after the voting ID requirement became law in December 2018.

In her decision, Biggs said an injunction would be in the public interest, adding, "Electoral integrity is enhanced, not diminished, when all eligible voters are allowed to exercise their right to vote free from interference and burden unnecessarily imposed by others."

Biggs also recognized the history discrimination in North Carolina.

"No one disputes that North Carolina 'has a long history of race discrimination generally and race-based vote suppression in particular,'" she wrote, quoting another court case.

The order outlines a brief history of voter ID laws in North Carolina and the legal challenges to those laws.

The new court order means that voters will not need a photo ID in the March 3 primary elections.

To read Biggs' full court order, click here.

A spokesperson for State Senator Phil Berger released the following statement about Biggs' decision Tuesday evening:

"It is absolutely ridiculous that the judge would accuse the bill sponsors - including an African American Democrat - of being racist. The voters saw the need for voter ID and approved the constitutional amendment. The legislature, acting on the will of the people, enacted one of the broadest voter ID laws in the nation. Now this lawsuit, and last-minute ruling, have sowed additional discord and confusion about the voting process. The judge prohibited the legislature from defending the law it wrote. The only parties the judge allowed to defend the law are Governor Roy Cooper's administration and Attorney General Josh Stein, both of whom oppose voter ID. As legislative leaders have said before, Attorney General Stein must appeal and move to stay this decision immediately, so the state can continue to move forward with the implementation of voter ID."

Reverend Dr. Anthony Spearman, president of the North Carolina NAACP released the following statement Tuesday evening:

"The Federal Court made it crystal clear that racial discrimination will not stand in North Carolina in its decision today to intervene to halt this illegal photo voter ID impediment-the latest bad faith attempt in a string of failed efforts by the NC General Assembly to place hurdles in the path of the right to vote of African Americans and Latinos in this state, and to diminish the force of the true will of the people. This decision ensures that every eligible voter who participates in March 2020 should have their ballot counted free from this discrimination. We encourage every voter to use your voice and your ballot. When we fight, when we vote, when we stand up together, we win!"