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High Stakes in Battle over North Carolina’s Voter ID Law


The federal lawsuit filed to block North Carolina’s restrictive new voting laws is set to test the government’s ability to protect voting rights in the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act.

“If North Carolina can do this without facing a penalty, then other states may follow suit,” says Rick Hasen, a law professor at UC Irvine and the author of Election Law Blog. “It’s just going to prove that states can pass restrictive voting laws without many consequences.”

Often referred to as simply the state’s voter ID law, the package of voting changes in passed North Carolina over the summer following a Republican takeover of the state legislature is one of the most restrictive in the country. [...]

It’s a little hard for North Carolina to feign ignorance and pretend this was all the outcome of a neutral, rational legislative process,” says Brenda Wright, an election law expert with the liberal think tank Demos. “If you choose to carry out partisan ends by deliberately disenfranchising some voters of color, you can’t pretend that’s not discrimination.”