North Carolina

Articles about voting issues in North Carolina.

North Carolina: Justice Department Urges Supreme Court to Leave North Carolina Voter ID Ruling Intact | NBC

The Justice Department urged the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday to leave a lower court ruling in place that struck down one of the nation’s toughest voter ID laws. A federal appeals court ruled in July that North Carolina’s voter ID law and other changes to its election laws were aimed “with almost surgical precision” at making it harder for African Americans to vote. The ruling broadened the kind of ID’s allowed at the polls and increased the time period for early voting, restoring both to what they were before the tough new law was passed in 2013. The state then asked the Supreme Court “in order to avoid voter confusion” to let it enforce several parts of the law that had been declared invalid by the appeals court. Read More

North Carolina: Why does North Carolina want to discourage the youth vote? | Facing South

Last month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit overturned the 2013 omnibus elections bill passed by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature, which voting rights advocates referred to as a “monster” voter suppression law. The law contained dozens of provisions, some of which the court found intentionally discriminated against African Americans. It was passed shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively struck down the section of the Voting Rights Act requiring jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination to get Justice Department preclearance for election law changes. North Carolina waited 17 days after the 4th Circuit’s ruling to file an “emergency” appeal with U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, asking him to stay parts of the ruling, including those striking the photo ID requirement and expanding early voting from 10 to 17 days. The state also asked for a stay on reinstating a program approved in 2009 with bipartisan support that allowed 16- and 17-year-olds to preregister to vote. Read More

North Carolina: County elections chair discussed arming civilians at polls | USA Today

The highest appointed elections officer in Henderson County has explored deputizing civilians to patrol the polls on Election Day. At an Aug. 16 public meeting, Bob Heltman, chair of the Henderson County Board of Elections, discussed the idea of a “posse comitatus,” in which civilians would be deputized and armed to serve the sheriff. He said he asked the sheriff whether such a posse could patrol the polls, but he has since discovered the idea is unfeasible. “‘I said ‘have you heard of a posse comitatus? What’s the story?”” he said. “Well, the net result of all that is there’s no time to even try to do it.” Heltman, who was appointed to the board five years ago by the Republican party, said he discussed the idea as part of the board’s safety plan to prevent terrorism, but he has abandoned it. Read More

North Carolina: State Republican Party seeks ‘party line changes’ to limit early voting hours | News & Observer

The N.C. Republican Party encouraged GOP appointees to county elections boards to “make party line changes to early voting” by limiting the number of hours and keeping polling sites closed on Sundays. NCGOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse emailed the request to Republican county board members and other party members on Sunday. The News & Observer obtained copies of the emails through a public records request. County elections boards are developing new early voting schedules in response to a federal court ruling that threw out the state’s voter ID law. In addition to revoking North Carolina’s photo ID requirement, the ruling requires counties to offer 17 days of early voting. The voter ID law limited early voting to a 10-day period, but counties were required to offer at least the same number of voting hours as they did during the 2012 election. The court ruling eliminates that floor on hours – meaning that counties can legally provide fewer hours and fewer early voting sites than they did in the last presidential election. Early voting schedules must be approved by the three-member Board of Elections in each county. Because the state has a Republican governor, two of three members on each board are Republicans, while one is a Democrat – generally appointees recommended by their party’s leadership. “Our Republican Board members should feel empowered to make legal changes to early voting plans, that are supported by Republicans,” Woodhouse wrote in his email to board members. “Republicans can and should make party line changes to early voting.” Read More

People line up to vote at a precinct in Matthews, N.C., Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Voters in North Carolina, as well as Florida, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio will cast their ballots in primary elections today. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

North Carolina: Have Republicans Found a Way to Reinstate Discriminatory Voting Rules? | The Atlantic

Bill Brian Jr. already sounded weary, and the meeting hadn’t even started. It was 5 p.m. Wednesday at the county office-building, and a typically sleepy meeting of the county board of elections had turned into a marquee event. Around 100 people had shown up to hear the three-person commission decide how early voting would work, and the board had already been forced to move the meeting to a much larger space. Brian, the board’s chair, mentioned the “flood of emails” he’d received, and announced that he’d allow citizens to speak briefly. “Please try to be civil,” he said with a sigh. Over the next 40 minutes, a long line of county residents—including veteran activists, operatives, and assorted gadflies—stood up and delivered their thoughts on early voting. There were students who wanted polling locations on campus. One man wanted a location nearer to the bus terminal. Another railed against opponents of voter ID rules, describing them as “racist” for believing that blacks would be less able or willing to navigate them. The chair of the county Republican Party rose to say he didn’t care how much early voting there was, but pleaded for an end to Sunday voting, which he saw as an affront to God. Several others were just as insistent about the need for polls to be open on the Sabbath; others pointed out that some denominations kept different Sabbaths. Read More

North Carolina: McCrory asks Supreme Court to restore voter ID law | News & Observer

Gov. Pat McCrory wants the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate North Carolina’s voter ID law for the November election. The law, which requires voters to bring a photo ID to the polls, was thrown out by a federal appeals court ruling. Late Monday, McCrory announced that he has sent a formal request to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to stay the ruling while state leaders appeal the decision. “Allowing the 4th Circuit’s ruling to stand creates confusion among voters and poll workers and it disregards our successful rollout of Voter ID in the 2016 primary elections,” the Republican governor said in a news release. “The 4th Circuit’s ruling is just plain wrong and we cannot allow it to stand. We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold our state’s law and reverse the 4th Circuit.” The McCrory administration hasn’t yet petitioned the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the ruling, but it said it will submit one soon. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the 2013 voter ID law was passed with “discriminatory intent” and would “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” Read More

A pile of government pamphlets explaining North Carolina's controversial "Voter ID" law sits on table at a polling station as the law goes into effect for the state's presidential primary in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. on March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane/File Photo

North Carolina: U.S. Supreme Court stance on North Carolina law to send signal on voting limits | Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court’s handling of North Carolina’s long-shot bid to reinstate its contentious voter identification law will set the tone for the court’s treatment of similar cases that could reach the justices before the Nov. 8 elections. Voter identification laws were adopted by several states in recent years, generally driven by Republicans who said the laws were meant to prevent election fraud. Democrats have argued that the laws were meant to keep minorities, who tend to vote for Democrats, away from the polls. Civil rights groups have challenged the laws in court. The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 29 invalidated the North Carolina law, ruling that it intentionally discriminated against minority voters.  Read More

North Carolina: North Carolina asks Supreme Court to restore strict voting procedures | The Washington Post

North Carolina on Monday asked the Supreme Court to restore most of its strict voting procedures for the November elections, despite a lower court’s ruling that the law intentionally discriminates against African Americans. The state said the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit was unprecedented and that “there is no reason to believe that [the law] will have any detrimental effect on voters, minority or otherwise.” [Court strikes down North Carolina voting law as discriminatory] North Carolina brought in former Bush administration solicitor general Paul D. Clement to argue that it is too close to the election for courts to prohibit a system that was used in the state’s primary elections. Read More

North Carolina: Could North Carolina’s super-sized precincts slow voting? | Associated Press

The popularity of in-person early voting in North Carolina has allowed officials to defer action on several hundred bulging precincts that otherwise would slow Election Day voting to a snail’s pace. Forty-eight percent of the state’s 6.6 million registered voters now live in voting precincts with at least 3,000 voters — an important threshold in a previous state study — compared to 43 percent four years ago, according to an election reform group’s analysis. More than one-quarter of voters are in precincts with at least 4,000 voters, most in urban or high-growth suburban counties. “We now have super-sized precincts in North Carolina,” said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina. Read More

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North Carolina: Federal panel strikes down North Carolina legislative districts | Associated Press

Federal judges on Thursday struck down nearly 30 North Carolina House and Senate districts as illegal racial gerrymanders, but will allow General Assembly elections to be held using them this fall. The decision by a three-judge panel comes six months after another set of judges struck down North Carolina’s congressional districts for similar reasons. Thursday’s ruling covering 19 House and nine Senate districts is yet another blow to the GOP lawmakers in North Carolina, which has seen several laws it enacted either partially or wholly overturned by the federal courts. The U.S. Supreme Court announced in June that it would hear the appeals of Republican state leaders in that case, where two majority-black congressional districts were thrown out. The previous map drawn in 2011 and still being challenged helped give the state GOP more seats within the congressional delegation in the swing state. The legislative maps, also approved in 2011, also helped Republicans pad their majorities in the two chambers after they took control of the legislature for the first time in 140 years the year before. Read More