A U.S. District Court judge ruled on Friday that four counties must restore names to voter rolls that were part of a recent mass purge. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs came in response to a lawsuit filed Monday by the state NAACP. In the lawsuit, seeking an emergency halt to voter roll purges in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties, NAACP representatives and several voters affected described the practice as an effort to suppress the African-American vote. At issue was whether the North Carolina law that allows individual voters in this state to challenge anyone’s registration violates the National Voter Registration Act, which “prohibits the mass removal of voters from the rolls within the 90 days prior to the election.” The organization also contends that county election boards did not follow proper notification or hearing procedures for the challenges. “[T]here is little question that the County Boards’ process of allowing third parties to challenge hundreds and, in Cumberland County, thousands of voters within 90 days before the 2016 General Election constitutes the type of ‘systematic’ removal prohibited by the [National Voter Registration Act],” Biggs wrote in her ruling.
… The questions about voter roll purges and other laws and efforts that the state NAACP has described as attempts to disenfranchise black voters have happened in the run-up to the first presidential election held since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.
“It is without question that Individual Plaintiffs have made a clear showing that they will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction,” Biggs stated in her memorandum and ruling. “The General Election is a few days away and unless Individual Plaintiffs who were purged from the voter rolls are reinstated, they will not be allowed to vote and have that vote counted. Denying an eligible voter her constitutional right to vote and to have that vote counted will always constitute irreparable harm.”