The majority of the three-judge panel said Friday that the law “was motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters.”
“Other, less restrictive voter ID laws would have sufficed to achieve the legitimate nonracial purposes of implementing the constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, deterring fraud, or enhancing voter confidence,” Superior Court Judges Michael O’Foghludha and Vince Rozier wrote in their ruling Friday.
In a statement, Southern Coalition for Social Justice co-executive director and chief counsel for voting rights Allison Riggs and pro bono counsel Andrew Ehrlich — attorneys who served on behalf of a group of North Carolina voters — said they “hope” the ruling sent “a strong message that racial discrimination will not be tolerated.”
The statement continued: “Today’s ruling striking down North Carolina’s latest unconstitutional photo voter ID law is a testament to the overwhelming evidence, including compelling stories of disenfranchisement from voters themselves, which highlighted how the state’s Republican-controlled legislature undeniably implemented this legislation to maintain its power by targeting voters of color.””
However, GOP leaders in North Carolina on Friday called the ruling “partisan,” doubling down on the claim that voter IDs promote election security.
“The Republican-led legislature has made incredible strides to increase confidence in elections, and Democrats continue to use the judicial branch to thwart the will of the majority of North Carolinians. We will appeal this case,” he said.
After the ruling, Sam Hayes, general counsel for North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, also a Republican, said, “This fight is far from over.”
“We look forward to appealing this partisan ruling on behalf of the people of North Carolina,” he added.
In a statement, the plaintiffs’ attorneys brushed off any potential appeal.
“Should legislative defendants appeal today’s ruling, we’ll be prepared to remind them of what this court and the state’s constitution mandate: every vote matters,” they said.