Supreme Court declines to review North Carolina voting law

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 06, 2015 10:31 AM

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review the legality of new Republican-backed voting restrictions in North Carolina that were part of a law opponents argued was aimed at making it harder for voters who tend to favor Democrats to cast ballots.

The court rejected the state's appeal of an October decision by the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found that parts of the 2013 law should be provisionally blocked while litigation continues.

The law put in place a requirement that voters show certain forms of photo identification in order to cast a ballot as well as other provisions. At issue in the current case are the sections of the law that barred same-day voter registration and provisional voting for voters casting ballots outside their normal precincts.

The Supreme Court's action has little immediate impact as a full trial on the legality of the law is scheduled for this summer, with a final ruling likely ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The appeals court had said same-day registration and provisional voting for those casting ballots outside their normal precincts, both barred by the law, should be allowed.

In October, the Supreme Court allowed the restrictions to go into effect until the justices had time to consider the state’s appeal in full, with two of the nine justices dissenting.

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The law was passed by the state's Republican-led legislature in 2013.

Republicans argue that voter ID and other requirements are needed to prevent voter fraud. Democrats say the law and similar measures passed by other Republican-governed states are intended to make it harder for minorities, young people and other groups that tend to vote for Democrats to vote.

The case is North Carolina v. League of Women Voters, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-780.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley)