Consolidated lawsuit filed on behalf of various voting and civil rights organizations, voters and the U.S. Department of Justice challenging provisions of North Carolina’s voter suppression law, House Bill 589, enacted in 2013. H.B. 589 created a new photo ID requirement, limiting valid IDs to a list of eight options; reduced in-person early voting from 17 to 10 days; eliminated the option of out-of-precinct provisional voting; canceled same-day voter registration; and removed a pre-registration option for 16 and 17 year-olds. In total, the various plaintiffs argued that the challenged provisions had a discriminatory impact on Black voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), had a discriminatory intent against Black voters in violation of Section 2 of the VRA and the 14th and 15th Amendments, placed an undue burden on the right to vote in violation of the 14th Amendment and targeted young voters in violation of the 26th Amendment. After two trials were held — one addressing the photo ID provision, the other addressing the remaining claims — the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina rejected the plaintiffs’ claims and upheld the challenged provisions.
On appeal, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the district court, striking down H.B. 589 in full after finding that the law was passed with the intent to discriminate against Black voters. Rejecting the state’s claims that the law prevented voter fraud, the court noted that the law affected methods of voting most used by Black voters, leading the judges to conclude that the law appeared to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” North Carolina filed a petition challenging this decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.
Case Documents (district court)
Case Documents (4th Circuit)
Case Documents (u.s. supreme court)