By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
October 3, 2014
CHARLOTTE – Wednesday, a three judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that two sections of North Carolina’s Voter ID law would not be allowed to apply to this year’s election.
The law is being challenged by the NAACP and others who argue it discriminates against minorities such as African-Americans, Latinos, and voters younger than 25 years of age.
The 2-1 decision by the court strikes down a portion of a former ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder, who upheld all provisions of the new law.
The 4th Circuit decision now allows people to register and vote on the same day during the early voting period, as well as vote in a precinct other than their own to cast what is called a provisional ballot.
The section requiring a photo ID to vote was not affected by the court’s decision.
Judges James Wynn and William Floyd of the 4th Circuit are both from North Carolina and Judge Diana Motz is of Maryland. The majority opinion was authored by Wynn and the dissent by Motz.
Wynn argued Schroeder had failed to consider the negative impact the new law would have on “minority access to the ballot box.” Motz in her dissent said changing the rules so close to the November 4th election would likely lead to much confusion.
“The majority’s grant of injunctive relief requires boards of elections in North Carolina’s 100 counties to offer same-day registration during the early voting period and count out-of-precinct provisional ballots – practices for which neither the state nor the local boards have prepared” Motz wrote. “In addition to the burden it places on the state, an about-face at this juncture runs the very real risk of confusing voters who will receive incorrect and conflicting information about when and how they can register and cast their ballots,” she added.
Governor Pat McCrory, President pro-tempore of the Senate, Phil Berger, and Thom Tillis, speaker of the House, expressed they were satisfied that most of the provisions of the legislation were kept intact. McCrory said in a statement: “I am pleased that the major parts of this popular and common sense bill were left intact and apply to the upcoming election…I have instructed our attorneys to appeal to the Supreme Court so that the two provisions rejected today can apply in the future and protect the integrity of our elections.”
On Thursday, state attorney general, Roy cooper asked the Supreme Court to block the effects of the 4th Circuit ruling and asked for a swift review. Cooper contends the ruling “requires extremely burdensome changes” just before early voting begins on October 23rd. He also says the state is “not prepared for the changes and will not have enough time to implement them.”
Susan Myrick with Civitas Institute who attended the hearing on the case described it as a “circus.” She said, “Judge Wynn essentially took center stage during two hours of arguments and when I closed my eyes I thought I was in a Moral Monday meeting with the most radical activists working up the crowd.”
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League said, “Like our state’s leaders, I’m relieved too that this liberal court didn’t knock down the whole law, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the ruling they made was still an egregious one.”
Creech further stated that he thought “the court has created another mess.” “When liberal groups line up their sheep through the stall of “same day registration,” how can the state possibly verify the voter’s address in time? It sets the stage for fraud. Moreover, Judge Wynn obviously doesn’t understand the real disenfranchised voters are the ones who have probably never been informed that when they vote out-of-precinct, more often than not their votes don’t count, ballots are determined by the districts where the voters live.”
“The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Dr. Creech, “is the same liberal court that gave us the recent ruling against Virginia’s marriage amendment, declaring it as unconstitutional.” He added, “This court is not one to inspire confidence in real justice.”