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NC Photo Voter ID Legal Update Update: April 2024

April 29, 2024

LONG-AWAITED TRIAL TO BEGIN IN NORTH CAROLINA NAACP’S FEDERAL COURT CHALLENGE TO NORTH CAROLINA’S DISCRIMINATORY PHOTO VOTER ID LAW

Filed in 2018, this lawsuit brought by the NAACP NC to Challenge North Carolina’s Discriminatory Photo Voter ID Law (SB 824) will go to trial on Monday - determining the fate of photo voter ID in the state for the 2024 Election and beyond

RALEIGH, N.C - The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP (NC NAACP), their attorneys and dozens of voting rights advocates are heading to court for the long-awaited trial to determine the fate of the state’s discriminatory photo voter ID law. NC NAACP argues that the law, SB 824, was passed with discriminatory intent and designed to dilute the voting power of Black and brown voters. Lawyers for the NC NAACP say the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.

 

NC NAACP President, Deborah Dicks Maxwell says, “Our elected officials are using redistricting, gerrymandering, felony disenfranchisement, discriminatory photo voter ID, and other predatory elections laws to restrict access to our democracy and try to cement their own power. This case is one of our last remaining defenses against the onslaught of voter suppression tactics being levied against North Carolinians by extremist legislators. We cannot allow access to our constitutional right to vote continue to be eroded away in a time when we are working to build an inclusive, multiracial, multigenerational democracy that works for ALL people.”

 

Witnesses from civil rights and social justice organizations from across the state will testify about the impact of this law on the communities they serve and experts in history, political science and elections data will outline the history, data and disparate impact.  Voting rights advocates say that this trial could be a watershed moment for voting rights, the people of NC,  and the movement for equal access to our democracy. 

 

Caitlin Swain, Co-director of Forward Justice and leading attorney on the case says, “Since 2018, we have stood with our clients, including the late Rosanelle Eaton, in their fight to ensure that Black, brown, and poor people are not excluded from our democracy and denied their constitutional right to vote.  More than a decade has passed without full federal voting rights protections, and elected officials across the south continue to chip away at the voting rights of their constituents and the promises of our democracy. We look forward to our day in court representing our clients, with the overwhelming weight of the evidence and the will of the people behind us, to defend access to the ballot for the people of North Carolina.” 

 

Who: NC NAACP- represented by attorneys from Forward Justice and Arnold and Porter, with testimony from several witnesses including: Deborah Dicks Maxwell - NC NAACP, Marcus Bass - NC Black Alliance, Kenya Meyers - Disability Rights NC and Rev. William J Barber II - the Poor People’s Campaign and Repairers of the Breach

When: Monday, May 6, 2024 @ 9:30 a.m. EST

Where: US District Court Hiram H. Ward Federal Building, 251 N. Main Street Winston-Salem, NC 27101

 

Additional information: Forward Justice filed this lawsuit on behalf of Plaintiffs NC State Conference of the NAACP, and several NAACP chapters, in December of 2018. S.B. 824 was enacted in a lame-duck session held immediately after the 2018 election and passage of the constitutional amendment before the newly elected legislature – elected under legal maps – was seated. In December 2019, The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina granted the NC NAACP’s motion for a preliminary injunction, blocking North Carolina’s photo voter ID law from going into effect. In December 2020, A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the preliminary injunction decision of the District Court, paving the way for photo voter ID to be implemented in NC. In June of 2023, Plaintiffs requested a status conference in the case to lift the stay and begin moving the case through the courts again. A trial date was set for the case in November of 2023. An information kit on the case can be found here