A federal judge is set to temporarily block a photo identification requirement in North Carolina that was scheduled to start in 2020.
The North Carolina law would have required people to show a photo ID before voting at the ballot box. It also would allow people lacking photo ID to get a free ID card or to fill out a form while voting to explain their “reasonable impediment” to obtaining one.
But U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs announced in short written notice on Thursday that she is set to issue a preliminary injunction against the law next week, just months ahead of the North Carolina's March 3 primary.
Biggs was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2014. Her short announcement came appended to the case [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] NAACP et al v. Cooper, filed in North Carolina's Middle District. It is one of at least two ongoing lawsuits challenging voter ID in North Carolina.
Unless the upcoming preliminary injunction is successfully appealed, the photo ID requirement will be blocked until a lawsuit filed by the state NAACP and others is resolved.
State NAACP President the Rev. Anthony Spearman responded positively to Biggs' latest announcement.
The board is composed of three Democrats and two Republicans, all appointed by Governor Roy Cooper (D). Although a voter ID opponent, Cooper is also named a lawsuit defendant because of his position as governor.
"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.
The reason for Biggs's issuing of the injunction won't be known until her ruling is released.
Jeff Hauser, a spokesman for the North Carolina's Republican Party, also disapproved of the move.
"This action, if it is allowed to stand, will invalidate the votes of millions of North Carolinians who voted overwhelmingly to implement voter ID and strengthen the integrity of N.C. elections," he added. "The NCGOP calls on the Attorney General to appeal this decision and defend the voters of North Carolina."
Voter Photo ID in North CarolinaRepublican lawmakers have been trying for most of the decade to advance voter ID, saying that more than 30 states require it and it builds confidence in elections. The state's voting pool, which currently is comprised of 6.8 million registered voters, is critical in a closely divided presidential battleground state where statewide races are often competitive between the major parties.
Lawsuits challenging that new law were later filed. Lawyers for the state and local NAACP chapters told Biggs in a court brief cited by The Associated Press that the latest version of voter ID is a “barely disguised duplicate” of the 2013 voter ID law and “carries the same discriminatory intent as its predecessor,” likely violating the U.S. Constitution.