North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein

In this Wednesday, March 22, 2017, file photo, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks at a roundtable discussion at the Gastonia Police Department community room in Gastonia, North Carolina.

The North Carolina Department of Justice plans to appeal a federal court’s decision to block the state's voter ID law from taking effect for the 2020 elections, but not before the primary elections.

Attorney General Josh Stein’s office announced the decision on Thursday, six days after Judge Loretta Biggs granted a temporary injunction ahead of the trial to remove the requirement.

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. Their claims are based on a similar law that was struck down based on its “discriminatory intent.”

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. 

“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.

Stein says the new law does not discriminate against African-American and Hispanic voters.

“There are no similar suspicious changes in legislative policy preferences leading to the enactment of SB824,” Stein wrote in his argument, also noting that the law obtained bipartisan support.

To avoid confusing voters, Stein's office plans to hold off on filing its injunction until after the March primary election. Absentee ballot voting begins in 10 days in the state. 

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will review the district court’s decision, but we anticipate that photo identification will not be required to vote in the primary per the district court’s decision,” a statement from Stein’s office stated.

 

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.