(Reuters) – On Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court rejected a voter-identification law for 2018 that it claimed discriminated against Black voters. It also ordered that a state Senate map be redrawn because of Republican partisan gerrymandering.
Both cases were 4-3 in favor of party lines. All the court’s Democratic justices voted for the majority while all Republican justices dissented. The court will flip to GOP control Jan. 1st, and the decisions are made shortly before that. There will be five Republican and two Democrats.
A 2021 ruling by a lower court that an 2018 law that required voters to show photo ID was invalid, was upheld by the court. The majority opinion stated that the lower court correctly concluded that the law was “motivated by a racially disparaging purpose.”
Recent years have seen similar voter ID laws passed by Republican-led legislatures across several states. These laws were designed to protect voters from fraud.
Critics, including Democrats and advocates for voting rights, say that the laws will likely suppress votes from African Americans. These people are more likely than others to vote Democratic and have the necessary identity cards.
The court ruled that the boundaries of state Senate districts unfairly favor Republicans, and that they disfavored Black voters by diluting the vote. The electoral map, which was used in November’s elections, was drawn by Republican legislators.
According to the court’s majority opinion, the map deprived voters of their fundamental right to equal voting rights.
According to the court, lower court judges were required to redraw state Senate maps in order for them meet constitutional requirements.
(Reporting from Brad Brooks in Lubbock Texas; Editing done by Cynthia Osterman