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Today the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned North Carolina’s voter ID law, concluding that the North Carolina Assembly intentionally “targeted black voters with almost surgical precision.” The court noted North Carolina Republicans’ admission of discriminatory intent, writing:
Thus, in what comes as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times, the State’s very justification for a challenged statute hinges explicitly on race – specifically its concern that African Americans, who had overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, had too much access to the franchise.
Our conclusion does not mean, and we do not suggest, that any member of the General Assembly harbored racial hatred or animosity toward any minority group. But the totality of the circumstances – North Carolina’s history of voting discrimination; the surge in African American voting; the legislature’s knowledge that African Americans voting translated into support for one party; and the swift elimination of the tools African Americans had used to vote and imposition of a new barrier at the first opportunity to do so – cumulatively and unmistakably reveal that the General Assembly used SL 2013-381 to entrench itself. It did so by targeting voters who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party. Even if done for partisan ends, that constituted racial discrimination.
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