When North Carolina Democrats go to the presidential-primary polls on March 3, they won’t have to show a photo ID before casting their ballots to ensure election integrity. But it wasn’t a result of improper Russian attempts to meddle in an American election. Rather, it was meddling by three state judges. It was a unanimous ruling Feb. 18 by a panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals that was improper — and not only on the merits.

The ruling was also flawed because of a pair of judges who should have recused themselves. Long before hearing the case, Judges Tobias Hampson and John Arrowood had expressed their opposition to the November 2018 ballot measure, in which North Carolinians approved a state constitutional amendment requiring voters to present an ID at the polls. The Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank in Raleigh, North Carolina, has filed an ethics complaint with the state’s Judicial Standards Commission against Judge Hampson and Judge Arrowood.

Judges are elected in North Carolina, and Judge Arrowood and Judge Hampson, both registered Democrats, were standing for election at the same time the 2018 amendment to require photo IDs to vote was also on the ballot. Answering a candidates’ questionnaire from the leftist Durham People’s Alliance PAC at the time, both said they intended to vote against the amendment. The ruling by these compromised judges held that the intent of the voter-ID law to discriminate against African-Americans was a “primary motivating factor” behind it. So, according to these judges, the 55.5 percent of the voters (2.05 million North Carolinians) who supported it are all “racist.” Au contraire.

Democrats and their liberal media allies assert — without evidence — that voter fraud is a myth, but that’s belied by The Heritage Foundation’s nationwide election-fraud database that documents 1,259 “proven instances of voter fraud,” including 1,085 criminal convictions.

Toward the worthy goal of preserving election integrity, while still not unduly hampering legal voters, North Carolina’s S.B. 824 makes provisions for voters to obtain free IDs from their county’s election board. It also allows for a broad array of other qualifying IDs, including driver’s licenses, student and military IDs, and passports, among others. That doesn’t sound much like what liberal groups and The Washington Post editorial board brand as deliberate attempts at “voter suppression.”

As for the North Carolina court’s assertion that the measure would “disproportionately impact African-American voters to their detriment,” that’s an example of what George W. Bush in a July 2000 speech to the NAACP decried as the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” The implication that blacks are uniquely unable to navigate how to obtain a voter ID — which you only have to do once, not for every election — is not only patronizing and condescending, it is itself racist.

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