4th Circuit Reverses Lower Court & Upholds NC Voter ID Law

Last week, a 4th Circuit panel reversed a District Court decision that struck down North Carolina's voter ID law. The law requires voters to present a valid photo ID to vote in-person or by absentee ballot. As reported by the Washington Post

The 4th Circuit’s ruling reverses a district court decision that said North Carolina’s 2018 photo ID law would probably have a disproportionate effect on African American voters in the state. The identification requirement had been blocked by federal and state judges, and it did not apply in the November election in which Trump won North Carolina.

The law remains blocked while the separate state case is pending; the federal litigation will also continue.

In its opinion, the court wrote:

[W]e reverse because of the fundamental legal errors that permeate the opinion—the flipping of the burden of proof and the failure to provide the presumption of legislative good faith—that irrevocably affected its outcome. We therefore hold that the district court abused its discretion in issuing the preliminary injunction.

The North Carolina Republican Party applauded the decision:

“The North Carolina Republican Party applauds this long-overdue ruling which not only reinstates common-sense election integrity protections but also upholds the rule of law,” said NCGOP Press Secretary Tim Wigginton. "A majority of North Carolina voters and their elected representatives voted to adopt Voter ID. This ruling reinforces the fundamental principle of representative government that the people make the law, not judges. The proper role of the judiciary is to interpret the law as written, not as they wish it should be. Now, Governor Roy Cooper and his handpicked leadership at the North Carolina State Board of Elections must make sure North Carolina’s Voter ID law and constitutional amendment are fully implemented for the next election.”

North Carolina State House Speaker Tim Moore, who sponsored the state's voter ID constitutional amendment, said about the decision:

“Now that a federal appeals court has approved North Carolina’s voter ID law and constitutional amendment, they must be implemented for the next election cycle in our state,” Speaker Moore said Wednesday.

“If the 2020 elections have taught us anything it is the fact that voting in person with a photo ID is the best way to ensure the integrity of our elections.”

Senate Leader Phil Berger noted:

There’s legitimate concern today about undermining trust in democracy. When an activist judge overturns the will of millions of North Carolinians who added a voter ID requirement to their own constitution, and rests her lawless opinion on political talking points and ‘fundamental legal errors,’ that’s destabilizing. That is what erodes confidence in government. I’m heartened by the Fourth Circuit’s unanimous decision in support of the basic principle of self-governance under the rule of law.

The 4th Circuit's decision is a victory for election integrity at a time when Americans have sincere concerns about the honesty and fairness of elections.