ID Law Struck Down: North Carolina Voter ID Law Unanimously Declared Unconstitutional By Appeals Court Judges

North Carolina, a key battleground state in the 2016 presidential election, has activists for voter’s rights cheering due to the latest ruling made by the United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Friday, the three judges that preside over the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that showing government-issued identification in order to vote was unconstitutional.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a law in 2013 that stated a person needed to show a government-issued photo ID in order to vote in the state. The law also decreased the time period for residents to vote early. Almost immediately after the law was signed, lawsuits were filed in which it was stated that the new North Carolina law made it harder for minorities to vote in the state.

Friday’s ruling overturned a verdict from April where a judge claimed that there was not enough proof showing that requiring a person to show a government-issued photo ID hindered minorities from voting. The three judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals stated in their ruling why they disagreed with the April ruling and how it targeted minority voters.

“It did so by targeting voters who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party. Even if done for partisan ends, that constituted racial discrimination. The record thus makes obvious that the ‘problem’ the majority in the General Assembly sought to remedy was emerging support for the minority party. Identifying and restricting the ways African Americans vote was an easy and effective way to do so. Winning an election does not empower anyone in any party to engage in purposeful racial discrimination.”

Hillary Clinton, along with other Democrats, cheered the decision made by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Republicans were not thrilled with the decision, fearing that this will make it easier for voter fraud to be committed in the state. Governor McCrory commented on the ruling.

“Photo IDs are required to purchase Sudafed, cash a check, board an airplane or enter a federal court room. Yet, three Democratic judges are undermining the integrity of our elections while also maligning our state.”

Top Republican leaders stated that this decision will be taken to the Supreme Court for an appeal. Election-law experts Ned Foley of Ohio State University and Richard Hasen of the University of California at Irvine do not believe that the Supreme Court will take the case. Even if the Supreme Court did decide to hear the voter ID case, the two election scholars claim that it would not be heard, or ruled on, before the election in November.

Hassan believes that the North Carolina ruling will increase voter turnout in the state and does not think it will increase voter fraud.

“Anytime you take away restrictions, you make it possible for more people to vote. I think we will see more people voting than if these restrictions were still in place. I think this is a hugely important decision.”

North Carolina voter ID laws were not the only ones under fire recently. Within the last two weeks, voter ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin also received a ruling that stated it was unconstitutional to force voters to show a government-issued ID.

Do you think the voter ID ruling in North Carolina was the right thing to do?

[Photo by Morry Gash/AP Images]