Supreme Court Denies Review of NC Voting Law, Restores Key Voting Provisions as Case Continues

April 6, 2015 

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of key provisions of North Carolina’s voter suppression law, denying the state’s petition for review of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The Fourth Circuit October 2014 decision (which was stayed by the Supreme Court pending the ruling on this petition), preliminarily blocked two parts of the new suppression law – the elimination of same-day registration and the prohibition of out-of-precinct ballots from being counted – while the case continues. A full trial on the merits of the law is scheduled for July in district court. Until the district court makes a ruling, the Fourth Circuit’s decision is the governing law in the state and its ordered injunction in place, with same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting restored. The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Advancement Project and Kirkland & Ellis LLP, which are challenging North Carolina’s voter suppression law, along with North Carolina lawyers Adam Stein and Irving Joyner, issued the following statement:

“The evidence is clear that the elimination of same-day registration, and the prohibition of counting out-of-precinct ballots, make it disproportionately harder for African Americans in North Carolina to vote,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. “When the Fourth Circuit made this ruling last year, it was a critical step toward ensuring that elections are free, fair and accessible to all voters. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the State’s appeal allows the Fourth Circuit decision to stand. But our fight continues. Other provisions of North Carolina’s voter suppression law – including the shortening of the early voting period, the implementation of a strict photo ID requirement, and the elimination of a successful pre-registration program for 16- and 17-year-olds – also disproportionately hurt voters of color. We are ready to head to trial this summer and make sure that all parts of this harmful law are permanently overturned.”

“We are pleased that the Fourth Circuit decision stands, and it’s a promising step toward the full trial on North Carolina’s voter suppression law in July,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “Last year, we showed that these damaging measures are part of a calculated effort by politicians to manipulate the voting rules. This summer, we move forward in defending the rights of North Carolinians in district court, with even more evidence on how the law burdens voters of color. We are encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision today, committed to the fight for a just democracy in North Carolina, and confident for another victory.”

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