WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UPI) — A federal judge in North Carolina on Monday upheld Republican-backed changes to election policies, including a controversial voter identification provision.
The ruling will maintain the state’s voter identification requirement, which is accused of violating the Constitution by being discriminatory against poor and minority voters.
U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in Winston-Salem upheld the annulment of several provisions, including allowing people to register and vote on the same day and the ability to preregister, which allowed some to register to vote before their 18th birthdays. Schroeder also upheld a seven-day reduction in the duration of early-voting.
Schroeder wrote that the plaintiffs, which include the U.S. Department of Justice and the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter, “failed to show that such disparities will have materially adverse effects on the ability of minority voters to cast a ballot and effectively exercise the electoral franchise” as a result of the 2013 state law that enacted changes to voting.
“There is significant, shameful past discrimination. In North Carolina’s recent history, however, certainly for the last quarter century, there is little official discrimination to consider,” Schroeder wrote.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., will be the first to consider an appeal. The NAACP’s lawyer in the case vowed to pursue and appeal condemned Schroeder’s decision.
“This is just one step in a legal battle that is going to continue in the courts,” attorney Penda Hair said, adding that the law “targets the provisions that once made North Carolina among the states with the highest turnout in the nation. This progress was especially clear among African-American and Latino voters, who came to rely on measures like early voting, same-day registration and out-of-precinct provisional ballots to ensure their voices were heard.”
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