In an opinion issued on Monday night, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled in favor of North Carolina in a lawsuit brought by the North Carolina NAACP and several churches and plaintiffs, including ninety-two year old Rosanell Eaton.
Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, dismissed all claims against North Carolina in a 485-page ruling, including parts of the law that cut the number of early voting days and eliminated same-day registration and voting, and said that the plaintiffs failed to prove that the law violated the Voting Rights Act or the Constitution. The provisions regarding same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will take effect after the June congressional primaries.
“Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that the reasonable impediment voting process is more difficult,” Schroeder wrote, “than other voting mechanisms that Plaintiffs either advocate for or have not challenged.” Democracy NC’s Bob Hall also points out one section where Schroeder says that, within the scope of the past twenty-five years, “there is little official [racial] discrimination to consider” in North Carolina.
Governor Pat McCrory praised the decision, saying in a statement, “This ruling further affirms that requiring a photo ID in order to vote is not only common-sense, it’s constitutional.”
The ACLU’s Voting Rights Project director Dale Ho said in a statement condemning the decision that the group is “already examining an appeal,” while the NC NAACP has a conference call scheduled for Tuesday to discuss its next move. An appeal would go to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.
“The sweeping barriers imposed by this law undermine voter participation and have an overwhelmingly discriminatory impact on African-Americans,” Ho said. “This ruling does not change that reality.”
Schroeder, coincidentally, is the judge assigned to the ACLU and Equality NC’s HB 2 case.