Scrapping much of the state’s new voting law, including a reduction in the number of days for early voting, at this late stage would cause havoc for the November general election, state attorneys argue in court papers filed Tuesday with the 4th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The state NAACP and others are asking the 4th Circuit to overrule a federal judge’s decision to deny a preliminary injunction blocking many of the provisions of the state’s new voting law from taking effect for the Nov. 4 general election. Those provisions include reducing the number of days for early voting from 17 to 10, eliminating same-day voter registration and prohibiting county officials from counting ballots cast by voters in the correct county but wrong precinct. The law also gets rid of preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds and increases the number of poll observers that each political party assigns during an election.
Judge Thomas D. Schroeder ruled Aug. 8 that the plaintiffs, who included Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, failed to prove that the law would have irreparable harm to black voters. The appeal was filed in the 4th Circuit on Aug. 25. The plaintiffs asked the 4th Circuit to expedite the matter so that oral arguments could be heard Sept. 19 and a decision made by early October.
State attorneys argue in court papers that the appeal was filed too late and overturning Schroeder’s ruling would cause major problems for the November elections. The deadline for North Carolina residents to register to vote is Oct. 10. Early voting begins Oct. 23 and ends Nov. 1.