Battles over voting rights are heating up in states that could play a critical role in the November election. The pressure is on to resolve key issues in a timely manner as courts are often reluctant to make legal changes too close to Election Day. “It’s very important not to disrupt the machinery and the administration of the voting process,” says Edward Foley of the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University. “Judicial rulings too soon to the election can be disruptive, and in the past the Supreme Court has made it very clear that it doesn’t want that disruption.” … In the coming days, Supreme Court justices will rule on an emergency petition filed by North Carolina asking the court to allow provisions of the state’s omnibus 2013 election law to remain in effect. The law boosts voter ID requirements, restricts early voting days and eliminates same-day registration.
Challengers include civil rights groups and the Department of Justice that won a major victory in July when a federal appeals court ruled the law had been enacted with a racially discriminatory intent.
Furious with that ruling, lawyers for the state have filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to freeze parts of the appeals court opinion now so as not to disrupt the election.
“Mere months before a general presidential election, the Fourth Circuit has invalidated several provisions of North Carolina election law as intentionally discriminatory even though the court did not disturb the District Courts’ extensive and exhaustive factual findings that those provisions will not actually have a discriminatory impact on minority voters,” Clement wrote.