A judge in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, ruled Monday night that the state’s strict new voting law is constitutional, delivering a major win for conservatives who have sought to tighten laws across the country, and dealing a blow to efforts to stop those laws. Judge Thomas Schroeder’s opinion—included in a massive, 485-page ruling—upheld the full swath of HB 589. Passed by the Republican-dominated General Assembly in 2013, the law changed a slew of North Carolina’s voting rules, including reducing early voting, eliminating same-day registration, banning out-of-precinct voting, and ending pre-registration for 16-year-olds. Perhaps most prominently, the bill instituted a requirement that voters show photo ID to cast a ballot.
Legislators and other proponents of the bill argued that the voter-ID law was a commonsense measure, and that it and other changes were needed to prevent fraudulent voting. The law’s opponents, meanwhile, pointed that there were practically no documented cases of voter fraud in the state, and argued that the changes would disproportionately affect poor and minority voters in the Old North State—voters who are more likely to vote Democratic, which they argued was not a coincidence. Much of the trial focused on whether there was real evidence of fraud, and whether the law actually disadvantages minorities. Both sides brought a barrage of experts to back their view.
Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that while North Carolina had been on the progressive end of the spectrum of voting, the new rules were simply retrenchment and were constitutional. He said the plaintiff—a group that included the North Carolina NAACP, the Justice Department, and others—“failed to show that such disparities will have materially adverse effects on the ability of minority voters to cast a ballot and effectively exercise the electoral franchise.”
Full Article: Why a Judge Ruled North Carolina’s Voter-ID Law Constitutional – The Atlantic.