In August 2018, Forward Justice, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and Attorney Irv Joyner filed a lawsuit on behalf of the NC NAACP and Clean Air Carolina, arguing that the North Carolina General Assembly had been tainted by an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, and therefore lacked the authority to place amendments on the ballot to change the North Carolina State Constitution in 2018 (NAACP v. Moore).
The lawsuit challenges two constitutional amendments placed on the ballot in 2018, the photo voter ID amendment (Voter ID Amendment Proposal) and the income tax cap amendment (Tax Cap Amendment Proposal).
In December 2018, Forward Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of Plaintiffs NC State Conference of the NAACP and several NAACP chapters (NAACP v. Cooper), challenging the validity of North Carolina’s photo voter ID law (S.B. 824) that was enacted after passage of the constitutional amendment in the 2018 lame duck session, before the newly elected legislature was seated.
The NC NAACP Plaintiffs alleged that S.B. 824 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, because the passage of this law was motivated by discriminatory intent as part of an effort to dilute the voting strength of the African American and Latinx populations (Complaint).
At the same time, another group of Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in state court challenging the law in a case called Holmes v. Moore. For more information on the Holmes case: Holmes Case Background.
On Dec. 31, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a 60-page opinion in NAACP v. Cooper, granting the NC NAACP’s motion for a preliminary injunction and blocking North Carolina’s photo voter ID law.
The Court found that the passage of this law was likely motivated by racially discriminatory intent in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution: PI Decision. Because of that preliminary injunction, Photo Voter ID was not required in North Carolina’s 2020 Primary or General Elections.
On Dec 2, 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. The case is now awaiting a full trial on the merits in the Middle District of North Carolina.
After the NC Court of Appeals found SB824 to be racially discriminatory in 2020, in September 2021, a state court panel held a three week trial and ruled in Holmes v. Moore that S.B. 824 is unconstitutional and racially discriminatory. This means the law is struck down, and there is currently no requirement to show photo ID to vote in North Carolina. A Petition Requesting Discretionary Review is pending before the NC Supreme Court on that case.
On Monday, Feb 14, 2022, Forward Justice and Southern Environmental Law Center will present oral arguments at the NC Supreme Court in NAACP v. Moore, our lawsuit challenging the General Assembly’s authority to place constitutional amendments on the ballot in 2018, including the photo voter ID amendment.
You can watch live here: Watch the Oral Arguments Live on YouTube