NC NAACP Seeks Preliminary Injunction to Halt Photo ID Requirement before Midterm Elections

"WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Today the legal team representing the North Carolina NAACP and individual plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation of a restrictive photo ID requirement prior to the upcoming March primary elections. While other provisions of North Carolina’s monster voter suppression law, H.B. 589, were brought to trial in July, the photo ID portion was tabled due to last minute amendments by the legislature. In a victory for the plaintiffs, Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied the state’s motion to dismiss the NAACP’s challenge to the ID requirement, and set  trial on the photo ID claim beginning on January 25. The challenge to H.B. 589 – including the preliminary injunction motion – was brought by the national racial justice organization Advancement Project, the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, LLP and attorneys Irving Joyner and Adam Stein on behalf of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and individual plaintiffs. The groups today released the following statement:

“North Carolina’s voter ID requirement remains an undue and unlawful burden on voters of color,” said the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. “The legislature’s desperate attempt to mask the discrimination embedded in this law by altering – yet not removing – the photo identification requirement shows they knew it would not withstand the weight of constitutional review. Even with these alterations, North Carolina officials have yet to satisfactorily educate the public, poll workers and other state officials on the provisions of the law with its amendments. A preliminary injunction would ensure democracy is not disrupted for eligible voters of color.”

 “In a democracy, it is imperative to preserve access to the ballot,” said Attorney Irving Joyner. “With a trial date in January, the timespan before the March elections is rapid. Halting North Carolina’s photo ID requirement before the primary elections is necessary to ensure that the right to vote is not compromised for any eligible voter.”

 “The state has not sufficiently updated education and training on the law’s provisions, and there is simply not enough time before the primary election cycle begins to ensure voters can be properly educated on how to participate this March,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “That is why a preliminary injunction is needed. Any practice that results in African Americans and Latinos having less access to the vote than other members of the electorate is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. North Carolina’s photo ID requirement does just that. It is imperative that voters do not lose access to the ballot this March – or ever – due to unjust and unfounded requirements.”

“As long as photo ID is on the books, it will have a discriminatory impact on voters of color,” said Attorney Daniel Donovan of Kirkland & Ellis, LLP. “We are seeking a preliminary injunction to alleviate this confusion at the polls and ensure the midterm elections remain free, fair and accessible to all.”"

- A Press Release

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