State of North Carolina

North Carolina Durational Residency Voting Requirement Challenge 

North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans v. Hirsch

Lawsuit filed by the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans challenging a North Carolina law that requires voters to reside in the state for at least 30 days prior to the election in which they seek to vote. In other words, a prospective North Carolina voter must live in the state for at least 30 days in order to be eligible to register to vote and cast a ballot in the next election. The plaintiff asserts that this “pre-election durational residency requirement” — which voters must attest to satisfying on voter registration forms — “is longer than the registration deadline and therefore prevents voters who could otherwise lawfully register and cast ballots from doing so just because they moved into the state too recently.” The plaintiff alleges that under North Carolina’s durational residency requirement, voters who move to the state within 30 days of Election Day are prevented from voting in the upcoming election even though the state allows otherwise eligible voters to register within 20 days of Election Day through the Saturday before Election Day using the state’s same-day registration process. Thus, even if a voter moved to North Carolina in time for same-day voter registration, they could not take advantage of this opportunity if they have not lived in the state for more than 30 days before the next election. 

The plaintiff contends that the “arbitrary” durational residency requirement violates Section 202(c) of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits states from preventing otherwise eligible voters from voting for president and vice president based on how long they have resided in the state before Election Day. The plaintiff also claims that the requirement contravenes the First and 14th Amendments by placing an undue burden on the right to vote. The plaintiff asks the court to prohibit the state from denying eligible North Carolinians the ability to register and vote in all elections on the basis of their failure to meet the 30-day requirement. 

STATUS: Decisions on the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and the defendants’ motion to dismiss are both pending in the district court. On May 16, the court transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which will rule on the pending motions at some point.

Case Documents

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