Raleigh, N.C. – General Assembly lawmakers asked a North Carolina Superior Court to lift an injunction on the state's photo voter ID law on Thursday, after a new elections law signed by Gov. Cooper removed the court's rationale for blocking voter ID.
H.B. 1169 also added public assistance IDs to the list of acceptable documentation required to cast a ballot under North Carolina's photo voter ID law and constitutional requirement.
Attorneys for state lawmakers contended in a court filing Thursday that the public assistance ID provision extinguished a three-judge Court of Appeals panels' rationale for imposing an injunction on voter ID in North Carolina.
A North Carolina Superior Court originally ruled in favor of state lawmakers and the voter ID law, but a three-judge Court of Appeals panel overruled that decision and imposed the current injunction.
"Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, there will be a photo voter ID requirement in the State of North Carolina...the State’s Constitution states that “voters offering to vote in person shall present photographic identification before voting," lawmakers' attorneys wrote in the court filing.
"With the enactment of H.B. 1169, the General Assembly has adopted nearly every “ameliorative” amendment proposed by S.B. 824’s opponents during the legislative process, and it also has addressed the key shortcoming identified by the Court of Appeals."
A strong majority of states have a voter ID law. North Carolina's voter ID law is non-strict - any qualified voter can attest to a reasonable impediment to obtaining a qualifying ID and still cast a ballot.
North Carolina’s voter ID law also accommodates religious objectors, provides for free government-issued IDs and accepts drivers’ licenses, passports, military and veteran IDs, student IDs, voter ID cards, as well as state and local government IDs. Drivers’ licenses from other states would even qualify in some circumstances.
State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said it was past time for courts to stop blocking a commonsense elections policy:
"North Carolina has one of the most lenient photo voter ID laws in the country, because voters who do not have a qualifying ID can still cast a ballot in our state or present an expired ID for up to a year," Speaker Moore said.
"We went even further to provide free government issued IDs and accept a broad range of qualifying documentation. North Carolina has no-excuse absentee ballot voting for anyone to vote by mail. We have 17 days of early voting. It is past time for activist courts to stop blocking another commonsense elections policy that is required by North Carolina's constitution and a strong majority of other states."