FILE - North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, spoke out Friday against a federal court’s decision to block the state's voter ID law from taking effect for the 2020 elections.

The court issued the ruling Thursday that temporarily stalls the law, which requires voters to show photo identification at the polls.

“This last-minute attempt by an activist federal judge to overturn the will of North Carolina voters must be immediately appealed by the Governor’s Board of Elections,” Moore said. 

The case was filed by several branches of the NAACP. The organization, which represents African-American and Latino residents in the state, said the law will “directly impact” and “harm” its members.

“Many of those members will be effectively denied the right to vote or otherwise deprived meaningful access to the political process as a result of the challenged provisions,” the court documents state.

The ID requirement became law by way of Senate Bill 824 in December 2018. It was originally slated to become law after voters favored a  constitutional amendment in the November 2018 election; however, because of a lack of clarity in the amendment, lawmakers followed with legislation.

SB 824 was first vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper, but that veto was overridden by the House and the Senate. 

Two lawsuits have been filed opposing the rule. Attorneys for the NAACP also argued that the law mimics a previous ID requirement that was ruled unconstitutional because of its “discriminatory intent” and “targeting of African-Americans.”

Judge Loretta Biggs, an Obama appointee, granted the plaintiffs a temporary injunction while the case continues.

“Based on the State Board's representation at the Preliminary Injunction hearing held December 3, 2019, that the Board plans a very large statewide mailing on December 31, 2019, to educate the voters on the Photo ID provisions of S.B 824, the Court hereby informs the parties that the Court will file an Order granting Plaintiffs' request for injunction related to the Voter Photo ID and Ballot Challenge provisions of the Act the week of December 30, 2019,” the order states.

Moore and the North Carolina Republican Party are calling on the state Board of Elections and the attorney general to appeal the ruling.

“To issue an injunction against one of the nation’s most lenient voter ID laws – which 34 states already have – without providing an opinion is an outrageous affront to due process, the rights of North Carolina voters, and the rule of law,” Moore said.

Pro-democracy reform organization, Democracy North Carolina, applauded the court’s decision Friday.

“Now the work must immediately begin to make sure eligible voters know that the rules governing their elections have changed again, while emphasizing that what hasn’t changed is the importance of them making their voices heard in 2020,” Democracy North Carolina’s Tomas Lopez said in a statement.

State Board Elections officials have reportedly halted the printing of 4.7 million mailers that were set to go out about the ID requirement, according to Spectrum News reporter Hilary Powell.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.