Source: Associated Press
Just months after Republicans won a majority on the state Supreme Court in November’s election, Republican leaders in the General Assembly are asking the high court to throw out last year’s decision on redistricting and voter ID.
Last year, the state Supreme Court’s rulings struck down a voter ID law as racially discriminatory and redistricting maps as unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. These rulings were written and approved by a four-member Democratic majority on the seven-member Supreme Court.
After November’s election, the court has a 5-2 Republican majority now.
Historically, North Carolina Republicans have been pushing forth voter ID laws and racially gerrymander maps for more than a decade. In 2016, a federal appeals court ruled against one version of the Republican-backed law — stating that it had targeted Black voters “with almost surgical precision.”
In 2018, Republicans attempted another version, with House Speaker Tim Moore, as the primary sponsor of the 2018 voter ID law. In the years following, a state court struck down the 2018 voter ID law, stating that the Republican-backed law, “was motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters.”
Despite courts repeatedly finding that the voter ID laws and redistricting maps violate voters’ constitutional rights and are designed to help the GOP, Republicans continue to pursue these tactics in order to stay in power.
“This petition is another example of legislative leadership stopping at nothing to infringe on the right of African Americans to vote freely in North Carolina,” Jeff Loperfido, interim chief counsel of Voting Rights at the Southern Coalition, said in a statement. “We’re disappointed that lawmakers would choose to waste time rehashing arguments that were rejected by the Court mere weeks ago rather than doing the work of passing a voter photo ID that passes constitutional muster.”
With a request to overturn the original ruling, State Republicans are positioning themselves to win seats through egregious discriminatory voting maps that will go unchallenged due to the Republican majority on the high court.
“The Republicans will go as extreme as they can,” stated Michael Bitzer, chair of the politics department at Catawba College, in an interview with CNN. “That would result in a swing of 4 seats to the Republicans in just this state.”