Federal appellate judges on Friday struck down a 2013 law limiting voting options and requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls, declaring in an unsparing opinion that the restrictions “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law was adopted with “discriminatory intent” despite lawmakers’ claims that the ID provision and other changes were designed to prevent voter fraud. The ruling – which could have implications for voting laws in other states and possibly for the outcome of close races in the swing state of North Carolina – sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, who in April issued a 485-page decision dismissing all claims in the legal challenge.
“In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees,” the ruling states. “This failure of perspective led the court to ignore critical facts bearing on legislative intent, including the inextricable link between race and politics in North Carolina.”
The ruling prohibits North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters in future elections, including the November 2016 general election. It restores a week of early voting and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and ensures that same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will remain in effect.
Full Article: US 4th Circuit overturns NC voter ID law | News & Observer.