The high court closed the door for now on North Carolina Republicans’ effort to revive a state law that mandated voter identification and scaled back early voting.
The Supreme Court made the right decision in rejecting the appeal that included provisions that a lower court said targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”
The state’s Republican-dominated legislature approved a measure in 2013 that also reduced the number of early voting days from 17 to 10 and prohibited same-day registration during the early voting period. Supporters said the measure was necessary to crack down on voter fraud.
But the measure discouraged voting by Black and Hispanic residents, who use early voting or same-day registration more than white voters and are more likely to lack photo ID.
The North Carolina dispute is similar to a court fight over Texas’ voter ID law, which also was struck down as racially discriminatory. The Texas case could be the Supreme Court’s next opportunity to weigh in.
Chief Justice John Roberts cautioned in the two-page order that the rejection of the appeal is not a comment on the court’s view about the substance of the law.
Republicans in North Carolina and Texas moved to enact new voting measures after the Supreme Court in 2013 struck down a provision of the federal Voting Rights Act that had required them to get advance approval before changing laws dealing with elections. Voters, civil rights groups and the Obama administration quickly filed lawsuits challenging the new laws.
North Carolina’s Republican leaders have already pledged to continue to seek passing a voter ID requirement.
The high court’s decision is a victory for voting rights.