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Supreme Court Says That NC General Assembly Can Intervene in Voter ID Law Defense Case

As debates surrounding voting rights ramp up across the country following the 2020 general election, the Supreme Court of the United States has released a decision that could affect North Carolina’s voting laws.

The Supreme Court released their decision in the case Berger vs. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP in the morning hours of June 23, a case involving North Carolina Senate Bill 824 (S.B. 824). S.B. 824 is a law that would require voters to show a local Board- of-Elections-issued voter identification card or other photo ID when voting. The voter identification card is a document that would be issued “upon request to registered voters…” at no cost.

While it does not mean that S.B. 824 will become law, the ruling allows Republican leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly, which is made up of the NC Senate and NC House of Representatives, to intervene in cases that are preventing the bill from being implemented.

The law is currently being defended by state Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, after being struck down by a panel of North Carolina judges in 2021 and taken to federal court. The law was struck down in a 2-1 decision, after a veto from Roy Cooper was overridden by the then-Republican supermajority in the General Assembly, and subsequently taken to an appeals court by the NAACP.

Sen. Joyce Krawiek, a Republican who represents both Forysth and Yadkin counties, said that the aim of the law when written was “to defend against potential voter fraud but not make it difficult to vote.”

Opponents of the bill say that the legislation would disproportionately affect people of color seeking to vote in North Carolina, particularly African-American populations. This is the opinion taken by the panel of judges that struck down the law in 2021.

To learn how you can get involved in the fight for voting rights or register to vote, visit the website of Indivisible AVL, a Buncombe County-based non-partisan group dedicated to “defending democracy through informed community action.”

 

 

 

 

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