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Setback in North Carolina on Suppressive Voting Law; Fight Continues

Earlier this month, a federal judge denied a preliminary injunction barring North Carolina’s new restrictive elections law. The League of Women Voters of North Carolina joined with their coalition partners following the law’s passage last summer to fight back and to protect voting rights by filing a federal lawsuit to challenge portions of the law.

The law, often deemed the most restrictive voting law since the Civil Rights era, shortens early voting periods, eliminates same-day voter registration, institutes a strict voter photo ID requirement and implements other policies that suppress voters’ abilities to exercise their right to vote. The law was passed soon after the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court gutting key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice have also challenged the law’s legality, and the three cases were later consolidated.

While the North Carolina League is certainly disappointed in this ruling, they were heartened that the judge did not dismiss the case. The League will continue to fight the law through the judicial process, with the trial scheduled to take place next summer. The League will also continue to educate voters about the new law and restrictions and what they’ll need to know to participate in the upcoming elections, including that some first-time voters will need to show identification when voting in November.

Brenda Hyde Rogers, president of the League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham said in a letter to the editor to The Herald Sun:

This case is a clear example of why Congress needs to pass the Voting Rights Act Amendment (VRAA) which will help address the U.S. Supreme Court decision that removed the pre-clearance protection that protected voters in North Carolina since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.

The League and our partner organizations are committed to protecting the rights of voters and are working diligently and cooperatively to educate the public on changes in the law. Protecting the right to vote is the major mission of the League, and we will do all that we can to mitigate the effects on minorities, students, elderly, and other groups who will have increased difficulty voting because of this new law. Voting should be free, fair and accessible to all eligible voters.

For information on the election laws in North Carolina and elsewhere across the country, visit