Federal appellate court questions 2013 voter ID law

Federal appellate court questions 2013 voter ID law
June 23
06:45 2016

While a federal judge in Winston-Salem last April decided that that there was nothing about North Carolina’s 2013 voter ID law that should keep African-Americans or others from lawfully casting their ballots, a three-judge federal panel Tuesday wasn’t so sure.

Based on remarks and questions coming from that panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals, attorneys for the N.C. NAACP “… feel very good about our case and the evidence which we presented,” attorney Irving Joyner, chairman of the N.C. NAACP’s Legal Redress Committee says. “We clearly hope that the Fourth Circuit will reverse the District Court’s [April 25th] decision … From there, it is on to the [U.S.] Supreme Court, no matter what the outcome is.”

Attorneys for the state claim that the 2013 voting restrictions were necessary to stop voting fraud.

The N.C. NAACP and other plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Fourth Circuit to fast-track a stay of a federal judge’s April 25th ruling dismissing their lawsuit against Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly for their passage of the 2013 voter ID law until all other appeals have been exhausted. The original suit charged that the 2013 law violated the constitutional rights of black voters. The appeal sought to “… keep in place this Court’s prior injunction forbidding Defendants from eliminating same-day registration and refusing to count out-of-precinct provisional ballots” in addition to keeping in place the portion of the law that reduced the early voting period by a week.

The voter photo identification requirement began in earnest during the March 15 primary. Unless the federal appellate court rules otherwise, the voter ID provision will be in force for the Nov. 8 general election as well.

Based on the evidence presented, members of the three-judge panel openly questioned the timing of the Legislature passing the 2013 voter ID law, with one judge, Henry F. Floyd, saying that the intent to suppress the votes of people of color “… looks pretty bad to me.”

Another appellate court judge, James A. Wynn, questioned why certain types of government-issued photo identification, like public university or public assistance ID cards, were disallowed.  Judge Wynn once served on the N.C. Court of Appeals.

There was no word on when the three-judge panel would issue its decision, even though it could, per the petition of the N.C. NAACP, the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs, order that the voter photo ID requirement not be implemented for the November 8 general election.

“… Plaintiffs believe they have a likelihood of success on the merits on this claim and that voters will be irreparably harmed if the photo ID requirement is in effect in the November 2016 presidential election,” the appeal reads. “Plaintiffs believe that if and when they prevail on the photo ID claim, implementation of the Court’s order will be straightforward and simple: the requirement will simply fall away and voters will no longer be asked to show photo ID at the polls in order to vote.”

However, as attorney Joyner noted, there’s little doubt that attorneys for Gov. McCrory and the Legislature would appeal such a ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking an injunction to halt any disruption of the 2013 law.

About Author

Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors