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A federal court has just announced that they will be barring the state of North Carolina from requiring photo voter identification at the polls in 2020, at least temporarily.
The ruling is set to block North Carolina’s attempt to implement voter ID laws ahead of next year’s election.
The judge presiding over the NC voter ID case, Loretta Briggs, is an Obama appointee.
She says she will make the ruling official next week.
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Raleigh News Observer has more details on the ruling:
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North Carolina voters might not have to show a photo ID in the 2020 elections, due to a ruling in federal court that’s expected in the coming days.
A federal judge in North Carolina said Thursday she would block the law, at least temporarily, as the voter ID lawsuit against the state continues. She said she will make her official ruling next week, but wanted to give advance notice of her decision. The judge, Loretta Biggs, wrote that state elections officials had been planning “a very large statewide mailing” next week to tell voters about the ID law, and she wanted to let them know they wouldn’t need to do that after all.
Details of what exactly the judge is planning to order are still not entirely clear. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Stein, who must now decide how the state will react to the judge’s decision, said his office will wait to see the actual ruling next week before making any decisions on how to proceed.
Leaders from the N.C. NAACP — which sued over the law and asked for the injunction — said Friday that they expect voter ID to definitely be blocked for the 2020 primary elections in March. As for what the rules will be for the general election in November, they said it’s possible that the trial will have ended by then.
A spokesman for the N.C. GOP said Friday that Stein, a Democrat, should fight Biggs’ decision. And N.C. Speaker of the House Tim Moore, a top Republican and supporter of voter ID, also called on state leaders to appeal.
“To issue an injunction against one of the nation’s most lenient voter ID laws – which 34 states already have – without providing an opinion is an outrageous affront to due process, the rights of North Carolina voters, and the rule of law,” Moore said in a press release Friday.
WRAL also said:
A federal judge said late Thursday that she will, at least temporarily, block North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters at the polls next year.
An order explaining the decision and its full breadth will come next week, but this week's announcement was timed to delay a planned statewide mailing explaining the state's new voter ID rules. Public notice came via a short note appended to an online case file Thursday in NAACP et al v. Cooper, one of at least two ongoing lawsuits challenging voter ID in the state.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs, a President Barack Obama appointee, is presiding in the case, which was filed in North Carolina's Middle District, with hearings in Winston-Salem.
"The court gave advance notice that it will rule with plaintiffs and preliminarily enjoin the photo voter ID law next week," Caitlin Swain, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a Friday morning email to WRAL News. "We are awaiting the full order, gratified that the court is intervening to prevent this discriminatory law from impeding North Carolinians' equal access to the ballot."
At a press conference Friday, state NAACP President Rev. T. Anthony Spearman said his team was "ecstatic" about the development. He balled up a voter ID explainer pamphlet and urged people to throw them away.
The decision can be appealed. The State Board of Elections had opposed the injunction, which was requested in September.
Republican legislative leaders, who have defended against other election law challenges, aren't part of this case, though. Biggs rejected their attempts to get more heavily involved in November, saying the state board had shown a willingness to defend the law's constitutionality.