Voter ID ruling a win for minorities

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In the aftermath of a big win for the people in federal court, N.C. residents will not be required to show ID to vote in the March 2020 primary election. Thanks to the North Carolina NAACP for filing a lawsuit to stop this Republican-backed voter ID Law which serves as a vote suppression tactic designed to rob people of color of their right to vote. This strategy by Republicans along with the infamous tactic of gerrymandering are meant to control the balance of power.

Gerrymandering is when a political group tries to change a voting district to create a result that helps or hurts the group who is against them. Gerrymandering works by wasting a vote. In order to make our vote count, we can not waste a single vote in an era where every vote counts and must therefore be aimed at the intended choice.

As you recall, the voter ID law was struck down in federal court for targeting “African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” That “surgical precision” is the result of Republican lawmakers in the N.C. Legislature designing voting districts that target the votes of African-Americans through the practice of gerrymandering.

The State Board of Elections was prepared to implement voter ID requirements which were slated to go into effect at the beginning of 2020. However, both state and local chapters of the NAACP filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutional amendment which North Carolina voters approved in a referendum in 2018, just a day after state lawmakers passed the resulting legislation. The NAACP alleged that the ID requirements were racially biased against black and Latino voters, placing them at a significant disadvantage to vote with the ID requirement. Less than a month ago, the State Board of Elections approved identification cards for UNC system students and employees as valid forms of ID. The NAACP further contended that the lack of approval of government IDs from public assistance programs disproportionately affects minorities.

In a press conference Dec. 27, 2019, NAACP President, Rev Anthony Spearman called the decision a “victory for voting rights.”

The amendment passed in 2018 is not North Carolina’s first attempt at passing a voter ID requirement. After initially being passed as a law in 2013, it was struck down by a federal court in 2016 as being unconstitutional and deemed a racially discriminatory law in courts. Two additional cases against the voter ID requirements are still pending in court which means the fight for equality begins anew as we usher in a new and most consequential decade. Safeguarding our right to a fair and equitable vote is even more crucial and the fight continues.

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