North Carolina Court Permanently Blocks State’s Racist Voter ID Law

A three-judge North Carolina Superior Court panel has ruled 2-1 to permanently block the state’s voter ID law because it targets African-Americans.

The court majority wrote,


The majority of this three-judge panel finds the evidence at trial sufficient to show that the enactment of S.B. 824 was motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters. In reaching this conclusion, we do not find that any member of the General Assembly who voted in favor of S.B. 824 harbors any racial animus or hatred towards African American voters, but rather, as with H.B. 589, that the Republican majority “target[ed] voters who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party. Even if done for partisan ends, that constitute[s] racial discrimination.”

This is an important decision for the voters in North Carolina that should serve as an example for other challenges in other states. Not all voter ID laws are inherently racist, but Republicans have mastered the dark art of weaponizing voter ID laws to target particular groups of voters.

It is crucial that the plaintiffs didn’t have to show racist intent but that the law itself impacts one race of voters more than another.

The courts can’t be counted on to protect the right to vote in every state, but a combination of new federal voting rights laws and judicial challenges can preserve the right to vote for all.