A decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found that North Carolina’s 2012 law requiring a picture ID at the polls is unconstitutional. The law took away a week of early voting as well.
Seventeen states in all have enacted laws restricting voting since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Right Act in 2013. And, in every case, the Republican legislators who pushed through the changes said it was all about preventing voter fraud and most certainly was not about suppressing voter turnout among minorities. They were lying. And it didn’t take long for the Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit to figure that out.
The NAACP–which brought the suit–and the U.S. Justice Dept were pleased with the ruling. Pat McCrory, the Republican governor of North Carolina, was not.
Those who actually want Americans to be able vote are hopeful that the ruling may bode well for lawsuits pending in other circuits against similar state laws. Suits are underway now in Virginia and Texas among others. Of course, it may never be known whether today’s ruling will have any effect; one can only hope.
It certainly will have an effect on voters who wish to vote on November 8th but do not have a Driver’s License. It will be an unabashedly good thing for people who were hoping to vote early.
Voting is a precious right in American and one upon which the health of our democracy depends. And it’s a very good thing that appeals courts are making it tougher for state legislatures to deny or limit that right.
To read an in-depth article about today’s Appeals Court decision, follow this link.