A federal judge plans to issue an injunction halting the implementation of the state’s new voter ID requirement ahead of the 2020 primary. Unless an appeal is successful, this means voters won’t be required to show an ID at the polls in March.
The pending injunction from Judge Loretta Biggs stems from a lawsuit filed by the NAACP against state lawmakers arguing that the ID requirement is a voter-suppression tool aimed to disenfranchise voters of color. The requirement was one of several constitutional amendments concocted by Republican legislators in 2018 and passed by voters. This is Republicans second crack at a voter ID law—the first, passed in 2013, was ruled unconstitutional in courts for targetting “African American voters with almost surgical precision.”
Republicans argue requiring photo ID is necessary to curtail the state’s virtually non-existent voter fraud (which is ironic given that when absentee ballot fraud occurred in the 9th Congressional District last year, a Republican’s campaign was behind it).
Biggs, who is overseeing the NAACP’s lawsuit, notified the State Board of Elections of the upcoming injunction Thursday but did not provide any details from her decision.
State Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, has the power to appeal the injunction but it’s unclear if he will.
“Our office plans to review the decision once it’s been released and will then determine next steps,” a spokesperson from Stein’s office told the INDY via email.
The injunction is a curveball for the State Board of Elections, which has held over 200 seminars throughout the state to educate voters on the new law and had already started printing 4.7 million mailers to be sent out to North Carolina households.
“We stopped the presses on that,” said State Board of Elections spokesperson Patrick Gannon. “We want voters to know that, provided there is not a successful appeal, they will not need to show their ID when voting in March.”
Gerry Cohen, former general counsel to the legislature and board member on the Wake County Board of Elections, says if appealed, the new law means absentee ballot voters will have to include a photocopy of their ID with the ballot to vote, making the process “a lot harder slog.”
Absentee ballots are expected to be mailed in January. Early voting starts February 13.
As of right now, it only costs $13.00 to get REAL ID from the NCDMV. The homeless and ones with a disability can apply to get a ID for free. Anyone can save up ahead of time for a $13.00 ID. Banks require an ID/ Drivers license and social security number for someone to open a bank account. When I applied to get Marketplace Health Insurance this year, I was also required to give my ID/license number and social security number. It’s the constitutional right of American citizens to vote for our leaders so requiring IDs to avoid any potential for fraud should be passed.
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