Local election officials are scheduled to attend a training early in the coming week where they will learn more details about the recent change to the voter ID Law. North Carolina passed the voter ID law in 2013, which went into effect this year. The new law required voters to show valid photo identification when voting as well as shortened the early voting period and eliminated same-day registration at the one-stop early voting locations.
Yadkin and Surry County Board of Elections Directors Elaine Barnes and Susan Jarrell said they had received an email from the state board of elections office letting them know that the law had been struck down.
“They’re going to give us direction on what we’re going to be required to do,” said Barnes. “We’ll get further direction at the state training, but also I read that they are considering options.”
“I’m sure it’s going to depend on whether there’s an appeal and all I have heard on that is what I have read on the news media that the governor does plan to appeal it,” Jarrell said.
Though still awaiting further information, Jarrell said in Surry County they already were working to remove posters throughout the area about the required ID to vote.
“We certainly don’t want any more voter confusion than we’re going to have,” she said.
A federal appeals court struck down the voter ID law on July 29, ruling that it was passed with “discriminatory intent.” Though NC Attorney General Roy Cooper said he will no longer defend the law, Gov. Pat McCrory plans to continue to pursue an appeal.
A 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel blocked the law’s enforcement, ruling that the Republican-led General Assembly made changes that targeted black voters more likely to support Democrats.
“Attorneys with our office put forward their best arguments, but the court found that the law was intentional discrimination and we will not appeal,” Cooper’s spokeswoman Noelle Talley said in an email.
Barring some new court intervention, the appellate ruling means the law’s restrictions will not be in place for this year’s presidential election. The ID mandate is now gone and early voting restored to 17 days, up from 10. Same-day registration during early voting and the partial counting of out-of-precinct ballots resume permanently.
The decision by the office of Cooper, the Democratic challenger, to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t end the case, however. The governor and GOP legislative leaders are planning appeals using taxpayer funds to pay their own lawyers, some of them in private practice. McCrory said their next appeal could be to the full 4th Circuit or to the U.S. Supreme Court.
McCrory said Cooper should stop taking his state salary if he won’t defend state agencies. The governor and legislative leaders reject arguments that the law was meant to discriminate, saying voter ID is supported by most voters, who want to protect the integrity of the election process.
“We think it is the proper law and it’s amazing that the attorney general will not fulfill the responsibility of his oath of office to defend our laws of North Carolina,” McCrory told reporters.
Speaking earlier Tuesday, Cooper noted that the court found that McCrory and Republican leaders passed a law to prevent certain people from registering and voting. “The governor is wasting taxpayer money in trying to defend the indefensible,” his campaign spokesman Ford Porter added in a statement.