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Federal Judges Change North Carolina Voting Law with Preliminary Injunction

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, just 22 days before early voting, a three-judge panel from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals placed a preliminary injunction on two aspects of the law set to take effect this election.

The court reversed a previous district court’s ruling which had not granted an injunction to the plaintiffs in the case. Same day registration and out-of-precinct voting will be allowed for the midterm elections.

During the proceedings last Thursday, Judge Wynn stood out because of his “argument” against out-of-precinct voting. He told a story about how close he lives to the next precinct over from his, and he couldn’t see why it would be a problem for him to go vote there as long as he’s in the same county.

ThinkProgress posted an article on Monday suggesting the three-judge panel was a boon for the plaintiffs:

Voting rights advocates in North Carolina caught a lucky break on Thursday, where it was revealed that the panel of three judges who would consider that state’s comprehensive voter suppression law included one Clinton appointee, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, and two Obama appointees, Judges James Wynn and Henry Floyd.

According to Cornell University Law School website Legal Information Institute, “The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit shall determine by rule a procedure for the rotation of judges from panel to panel to ensure that all of the judges sit on a representative cross section of the cases heard[.]” Thus, the makeup of the panel that met in Charlotte last week just happened to favor the Plaintiffs who are also most likely from the Democratic side of the aisle.

Read the full decision here. Below is an excerpt:

Notably, however, the district court got the law plainly wrong in several crucial respects. When the applicable law is properly understood and applied to the facts as the district court portrayed them, it becomes clear that the district court abused its discretion in denying Plaintiffs a preliminary injunction and not preventing certain provisions of House Bill 589 from taking effect while the parties fight over the bill’s legality. Accordingly, we reverse the district court’s denial of the preliminary injunction as to House Bill 589’s elimination of same-day registration and prohibition on counting out-of-precinct ballots.

See related article at Watchdog Wire North Carolina from Sept. 26, 2014.

Image from Shutterstock.com

Categories: Courts & Law, Must Read, News, Policy, Uncategorized
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