North Carolina’s Voter Identification Law Stands

Fox News 29 reported yesterday that U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder has ruled that the North Carolina voter identification law is constitutional. The law requires voters who appear in person to cast ballots to show an accepted form of photo identification like a driver’s license, a passport or a military ID The argument against the law is that it discriminates against minorities.

The law was in effect in the March 2016 Primary Election in North Carolina. In that election, 31.6 percent of North Carolina residents who were eligible to vote, voted. In the 2012 Primary Election in North Carolina, 31.5 percent of North Carolina residents who were eligible to vote, voted. (These figures are from the United States Election Project website.) I don’t think the identification requirement had a negative impact on voter turnout. It will be interesting to see if the new law impacts the general election.

Here are some excerpts from the Judge’s decision:

While North Carolina had a sordid history of freezing black voters out of the political process, the plaintiffs didn’t show that the law hampered the ability of minority voters to exercise electoral politics, Schroeder said.

The plaintiffs “failed to show that such disparities will have materially adverse effects on the ability of minority voters to cast a ballot and effectively exercise the electoral franchise” as a result of the 2013 state law, Schroeder wrote. That argument was made more difficult after black voter turnout increased in 2014, he wrote.

“There is significant, shameful past discrimination. In North Carolina’s recent history, however, certainly for the last quarter century, there is little official discrimination to consider,” Schroeder wrote.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory released the following statement:

“Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID and thankfully a federal court has ensured our citizens will have the same protection for their basic right to vote,” McCrory said in a prepared statement.

If voter turnout goes down in the general election, I wonder if it will be because only alive, registered people vote. How do minorities board planes, buy alcohol or cigarettes, or buy cough medicine?