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NC: U.S. Supreme Court Recalls 4th Circuit’s Changes to Voter Law

The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on North Carolina’s back and forth of changes in election law procedures on Wednesday afternoon. Same-day registration and out-of-precinct vote counting will not be allowed in the midterms. Thus, Friday, Oct. 10, remains the last day for new voter registrations and your vote will not count if you vote out of precinct.

Sweeping changes in North Carolina voter laws passed by the legislature in 2013 triggered a game of political football between the left and conservatives.

As a result of HB 589, the Voter Information Verification Act, early voting was reduced from 17 days to 10 days; Voter ID would be required for the 2016 elections; same-day registration, out-of-precinct vote counting, and pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds were all eliminated.

Thus began a series of lawsuits brought by the DOJ, ACLU, the NC NAACP, and the League of Women Voters, among others.

Those lawsuits could not be processed until next year, so the groups tried to chip away at some of the new provisions before the upcoming midterms.

In one request by plaintiffs this past summer to restore voting laws previous to HB 589, a federal District Court judge, a President Bush appointee, averred they hadn’t shown that “irreparable harm” to voters would occur to voters following the new procedures.

Then, the coalition of civil rights groups, including the Southern Coalition for Justice, took their case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to ask for an injunction against two of the new provisions—same-day registration and out-of-precinct vote counting.

This time a three-judge panel, all appointed by either President Clinton or Obama, in a 2-1 vote with Judge Diana Motz dissenting, stated that the District Court’s ruling from the summer was flawed and same-day registration and out-of-precinct should be reinstated.

Lawyers for the state then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Fourth Circuit’s decision. That ruling came down yesterday, and “recalled and stayed” the appellate court’s decision; thereby, leaving the original voting changes in tact.

Image from Library of Congress

Categories: Courts & Law, Elections, Must Read, News
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