Wednesday, 01 October 2014 23:20

Appeals Court Overturns District Court Ruling, Calls for Preliminary Injunction on Key Parts of NC Voter Suppression Law

Written by  Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II | NAACP

WASHINGTON - The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today overturned a district court's decision to deny a preliminary injunction of key parts of North Carolina's H.B. 589, a massive voter suppression law. The three-judge panel, with one judge dissenting, ruled in favor of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs who sought to block certain provisions of the law from being effect for the upcoming November elections.

The court ordered an immediate preliminary injunction to block two provisions - the elimination of same-day registration and the prohibition of out-of-precinct ballots from being counted - from taking effect in November's election. Advancement Project, which represents the NC NAACP with co-counsel Kirkland & Ellis LLP, as well as North Carolina lawyers Adam Stein and Irving Joyner, issued the following statement in response to the decision:

"We are pleased with the Circuit Court's ruling today," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. "The evidence clearly showed that, under North Carolina's voter suppression law, African Americans would have faced higher barriers to the ballot this November, and the Court took an important step to ensure that this election will remain free, fair, and accessible to all North Carolina voters. Our fight is not yet over, though. We will charge ahead until this law is permanently overturned in the full trial next summer. Until then, we will continue to take our movement to the streets to make sure all people in our democracy have an equal voice in this and all elections."

"The Court's decision means that voters who have relied on same-day registration and the counting of ballots that were cast out of precinct will no longer have to worry about burdens on their right to vote this November," said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. "We know that voters of color rely most heavily on these voting measures, and they would have borne the brunt of the burden if same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting were not allowed this November. While this partial injunction is an important first step, today's decision is only the promising beginning of a long fight to fully restore the rights of North Carolina voters and renew the integrity of democracy in the state."

"We are pleased that the Fourth Circuit applied the plain language of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to enjoin the significant changes to Same Day Registration and out of precinct voting in North Carolina," said Daniel T. Donovan, Kirkland & Ellis partner. "This decision will enable North Carolina voters, especially African-American voters, to exercise their fundamental right to vote."


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