A panel of three NC Superior Court judges denied a motion to suspend implementation of North Carolina’s voter ID law last Friday as a lawsuit against the law continued. They also dismissed most of the complaints in the case while allowing the plaintiffs to continue with one. The panel decided not to issue a preliminary injunction based on their assessment that the lawsuit is not likely to be successful. If the law is ultimately upheld, North Carolina will join 35 other states that have some form of voter ID law.
As with a boxing match that does not end in a knockout, both sides raised their hands in victory after the ruling was announced and emphasized the best part of the news for their side. Rep. David R. Lewis (R – Harnett) stressed the court’s decision not to impose a preliminary injunction and the dismissal of five of the plaintiffs’ six claims:
Given the result, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (the group that filed the lawsuit) had a harder time spinning the decision as a victory. But it was not for a lack of trying. They emphasized that this loss was only in “Round One”:
The SCSJ also indicated that they might appeal the ruling.
This case is separate from the one in which Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins Jr. struck down the voter ID amendment to the NC Constitution that voters approved last November. That ruling is currently being appealed.
After an earlier voter ID law was struck down in federal court, the General Assembly made a point of making sure that a wide variety of IDs, including those much less secure than IDs issued by the North Carolina DMV, could be used. The law includes ten forms of acceptable ID and includes a method for voting with a provisional ballot for those who come to the voting place without an ID. The law was further watered down to appease UNC system officials who did not wish to be legally obliged to confirm that the IDs their schools issued comported with the law. Considering how milquetoast North Carolina’s current voter ID law is, the Superior Court judges’ belief that it will survive the SCSJ lawsuit is more than justified.
If you enjoy reading court documents, here is the original complaint in the case, Holmes v. Moore.