NC voter ID law put on hold as more gerrymandering evidence comes to light

NC voter ID law put on hold as more gerrymandering evidence comes to light 

North Carolina’s voter ID law is temporarily on hold after a federal court ruling. This comes as new files have been released showing more details on NC Republicans’ plan to rig elections and undermine the will of voters.

Last week’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs temporarily blocked the state’s new voter ID law for the March 3 primaries. This will prevent the restrictive voter suppression law from making it harder for people to vote.

From the Carolina Public Press:

In her ruling, Biggs said plaintiffs, the state chapter of the NAACP and six of its local chapters, had “made a clear showing” of harm from the law, Senate Bill 824.

“Plaintiffs have demonstrated that, if allowed to go into effect, S.B. 824 would likely work irreparable harm against them and, more broadly, minority voters in North Carolina’” the ruling stated.

She noted further that plaintiffs appear to have a strong argument that the law was drafted with discriminatory intent. The state’s previous voter ID law, part of a broader elections bill, was struck down on those grounds.

Opponents of the new law say it, too, was created with discriminatory intent and would have a disproportional effect on minority voters.

Biggs also called the state’s fulfillment of the law’s requirement for broad public information efforts “lackluster” and said the bulk of the work to inform the public remains undone.

Meanwhile, a new batch of files from the NCGOP’s gerrymandering consultant is showing just how far Republican leaders will go to keep their stranglehold on our state’s government.

From WUNC:

In September, Common Cause won its legal challenge to political maps in North Carolina, where a state court cited some of the files as evidence of gerrymandering designed to unfairly give Republicans an advantage in winning elections and maintaining control of the state legislature.

“The Court finds that in many election environments, it is the carefully crafted maps, and not the will of the voters, that dictate the election outcomes in a significant number of legislative districts and, ultimately, the majority control of the General Assembly,” a three-judge panel of the Wake County Superior Court wrote in their ruling.

Other files have become intertwined in the federal lawsuits over the Trump administration’s push to add the now-blocked citizenship question to the 2020 census, raising questions about Thomas Hofeller’s role and the administration’s true motives.

Lawyers with the law firm Arnold & Porter — which represented both Common Cause and some of the citizenship question’s challengers — uncovered an unpublished study in which Thomas Hofeller concluded using responses from such a question would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” when voting districts are redrawn. The revelation came weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in June, affirming a lower court’s decision against the question, which has been permanently blocked from forms for the upcoming national head count.

Time and time again, Republicans have tried to give themselves unfair advantages when redrawing districts and enacting suppressive voter laws to the detriment of communities across our state. The newly-released documents from the Hofeller files reveal that the GOP’s blatant election-rigging is still happening. 

The NCGOP’s approach to voter ID shows that they could not care less about election security. They care about making it harder for people — especially young people, low-income voters, and people of color — to cast their ballot.

North Carolina deserves a healthy democracy and an electoral system that guarantees the right to vote. We need to support representatives that are responsive to their constituents and communities, not just special interest. 

Bottom Line: Republicans leaders have repeatedly shown that they will use their power to restrict ballot access. The only way to end this back-and-forth is for North Carolinians to come together and focus on the true villain — wealthy special interests trying to suppress the will of voters for their own profit.

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Eleanore Wood

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