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NC AG Moves to Dismiss Case on Voting Law

NC Voting Law

Raleigh, NC – NC Attorney General Josh Stein today (Feb. 21) moved to dismiss the pending petition to the U.S. Supreme Court on the voting law passed in 2013.

NC AG Josh stein
NC AG Josh Stein

“The right to vote is our most fundamental right,” said AG Stein. “Voting is how people hold their government accountable. I support efforts to guarantee fair and honest elections, but those efforts should not be used as an excuse to make it harder for people to vote.”

In addition to protecting voting rights for North Carolinians, AG Stein’s action seeks to save the state up to $12 million in potential liability. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs have agreed to waive up to $12 million of legal fees from the more than three-year litigation if the petition is dismissed and the litigation ends.

In response to Governor Cooper and Attorney General Stein’s decision to withdraw a pending appeal regarding North Carolina’s voter ID law, NCDP Chair Wayne Goodwin released the following statement:

“I applaud Governor Cooper and Attorney General Stein’s decision today to drop this costly and unnecessary appeal. A wide body of evidence, including a federal

court ruling, has conclusively shown that the voting law passed by the General Assembly was racially targeted and motivated solely by a desire to consolidate political power.”

Wayne Goodwin
Wayne Goodwin

“It is my sincere hope that Republican leaders in the General Assembly will put the ugly legacy of voter suppression behind them and work with Governor Cooper on common sense measures to increase teacher pay, invest in the middle class and get our economy moving.”

Bob Hall, executive director of the voting rights organization Democracy North Carolina, applauded the wise decision of Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein to stop defending a bad law designed to make voting harder.  The decision will save taxpayers millions of dollars and save millions of voters from needless cuts to early voting and the elimination of safety-net protections (like same-day registration) that improve the elections system for everyone.

Bob Hall
Bob Hall

Hall explains the incongruity of the law, “The Monster Law (H589) disproportionately hurt African Americans, other voters of color, and youth – but in raw numbers, it actually hurt more white voters, including those who backed the Republican legislators who passed it.  For example, research by Democracy North Carolina shows that only one in three (35%) of the voters using same-day registration in 2016 were Democrats.  Most were white Republicans and unaffiliated voters, and our research indicates that most of them supported Donald Trump and other Republican candidates.”

Ironically, had Republicans prevailed in the US Court of Appeals, there would be no same-day registration in 2016 to help their candidates.

“The message is clear: passing laws to make voting more difficult winds up hurting everyone, especially infrequent voters of all political persuasions who may not focus on the changing rules. Laws like H589 lead to an elitist voting system. The better path to achieve a representative democracy is to adopt laws that make the elections system fair, secure and more accessible for all citizens,” says Hall.

Background on this case:

  • After the 2013 law was enacted, a unanimous panel of judges of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck it down, writing that “the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”
  • Shortly before he left office, Gov. Pat McCrory filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Fourth Circuit Court’s ruling.
  • AG Stein’s action today moved to dismiss that petition, which if granted would mean that the Fourth Circuit Court’s ruling against the legislation would be final.

For more information on this case please view the Voting Law fact sheet. AGSteinVotingLawFactSheet

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