The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has invalidated parts of North Carolina's voter suppression laws, ruling that the requirement to show photo ID was enacted "with racially discriminatory intent."
The requirement to spend money on state ID cards was a form of poll tax created by GOP operatives across many Tea Party states, the legislation all modeled on draft texts circulated by operators who boasted of using the measures to restrict the franchise of traditional Democratic voters, including African-Americans, naturalized citizens, poor people and students.
North Carolina's voter law is the third such to be struck down: the Wisconsin and Texas versions have already been invalidated by judges. Given that the remaining voter suppression laws follow the same template, it's likely they won't survive until the November elections.
As for the photo ID provision, the court found that the data examined by the legislature "showed that African-Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles."
"The legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African-Americans (and) retained only the kinds of IDs that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess," the ruling reads.
The law had been upheld by a district court judge in April, and North Carolina argued in court papers that the plaintiffs failed to prove the law was an "unconstitutional burden on any voters, much less African-American voters."
Attorneys for the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law countered that the law was enacted "under highly rushed and sharply polarized circumstances," after the 2012 election "where early voting and same-day registration were used heavily by African-American voters."
North Carolina voter ID law overturned on appeal [Jason Hanna, John Newsome and Ariane de Vogue/CNN]
(Image: Register to vote African American 1960s sign, Kheel Center, Cornell University, CC-BY)