On Thursday the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a proposed motion to stay the court’s earlier decision to eliminate a voter ID law that disproportionately prevented minorities from voting.
The court determined that staying its initial ruling “would only undermine the integrity and efficiency of the upcoming election.”
“Finally, we observe that our injunction merely returns North Carolina’s voting procedure to the status quo prevailing before the discriminatory law was enacted,” the order said.
Attorneys who requested the motion had planned to take the case to the Supreme Court.
“While this ruling was expected it is nevertheless disappointing that [attorney general] Roy Cooper and his allies have blocked our already successful and popular voter ID law,” stated Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina GOP.
“North Carolinians have demanded voter ID in overwhelming numbers,” he went on. “Republicans delivered, but Roy Cooper and North Carolina Democrats did everything they could to stop it.”
The court determined that the 2013 Republican-sponsored law strategically prevented Blacks from voting by requiring voters to use specific forms of identification that white voters were more likely to have.
Last week Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote that the state’s Republican voter ID law was “the most restrictive voting legislation seen in North Carolina since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965” and added that the law targeted “African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” The state sought to take away its Black citizens’ right to vote “because [they] were about to exercise it,” the judge determined.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch last week said that the state’s law “sent a message that contradicted some of the most basic principles of our democracy.”
As North Carolina struck down its racist voter ID laws last week, other states around the country were independently doing the same, including Wisconsin. Last Friday, on the same day North Carolina handed down its ruling, a judge in Wisconsin determined that a state law effectively “suppress[ed] the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans.”
Also on Friday, a Kansas court concluded that its voter ID law suppressed the minority vote at much higher rates than it combated voter fraud.
Meanwhile, a North Dakota judge on Monday found that a voter ID law negatively impacted Native American citizens. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland issued a temporary restraining order and slammed the state for repealing provisions that allowed people to vote as long as someone vouched for them or if they signed an affidavit swearing they were qualified — even if they did not possess proper voting identification.
Several weeks ago, a Texas federal appeals court determined that state laws made it disproportionately difficult for Latino and Black citizens to vote.