CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina governor Pat McCrory has formally requested that the Supreme Court weigh in on the voter ID law, by requesting a stay of a ruling by the Fourth Circuit.
McCrory announced last week during a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in Wilmington, that he would make the request last Wednesday.
Monday evening, the governor's office issued a release saying he had formally made the request.
"Today we have asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stay the Fourth Circuit's ruling and reinstate North Carolina's Voter ID law," said Governor McCrory. "This common sense law was upheld by the U.S. District Court. Our Voter ID law has been cited as a model and other states are using similar laws without challenges."
"Allowing the Fourth Circuit's ruling to stand creates confusion among voters and poll workers and it disregards our successful rollout of Voter ID in the 2016 primary elections," McCrory continued. "The Fourth Circuit's ruling is just plain wrong and we cannot allow it to stand. We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold our state's law and reverse the Fourth Circuit."
The request comes after an appeals court decided it won't delay enforcement of its ruling striking down the state's photo identification requirement and other election restrictions, including reducing early in-person voting by seven days.
Two weeks ago, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the stay after state leaders' attorneys requested that the ruling be set aside as they ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.
A 4th Circuit panel had determined a 2013 law Republicans approved amounted to intentional discrimination of black voters.
The order says the harm to disenfranchised voters outweighs granting a delay. The injunction currently means no voter ID mandate and 17 days of early voting with same-day registration.
"Mere months before a general presidential election, the Fourth Circuit has invalidated several provisions of North Carolina election law as intentionally discriminatory even though the court did not disturb the District Court's extensive and exhaustive factual findings that those provisions will not actually have a discriminatory impact on minority voters," part of the filing reads. "To our knowledge, that marks the first time in the past half century that a court of appeals has reversed a fact-finder's finding that a State did not enact an election law with discriminatory intent, and the first time in history that a court has invalidated as intentionally discriminatory an election law that has been affirmatively found to have no discriminatory effect."
"To make matters worse, the Fourth Circuit reached these unprecedented results in the context of a voting reform this Court has already held to be constitutional," it continued. "Moreover, the Fourth Circuit based its discriminatory intent finding almost exclusively on evidence that the challenged provisions could have a disparate impact on minorities, even though it did not disturb the District Court's finding that they will not actually do so."
The filing say the "ultimate result" is that the Fourth Circuit has prohibited North Carolina from enforcing a voter-ID law "that is actually more sensitive to disparate impact concerns than those in force in many of its sister States, and simultaneously compelled North Carolina to reinstate several other voting practices that most other States do not permit at all."
Attorney General Roy Cooper told reporters two weeks ago that he expected the voter ID decision to stand and said he thought the boards of election across the state would have time to adjust to the ruling.
"I think this is what we are going to have," he said. "It was a pointed ruling and the board of elections needs to get to work."
"Attorneys with our office put forward their best arguments but the court found that the law was intentional discrimination and we will not appeal," Noelle Talley, Public Information Officer for the N.C. Department of Justice said. "Other parties are adequately represented if they choose to appeal further, although additional appeals would only incur more expense and foster uncertainty with the approaching election and early voting."
"The 4th Circuit has unanimously said that the governor and legislature have engaged in intentional discrimination to make it harder to register and vote, and two other Circuits have struck down similar laws. The governor is wasting taxpayer money in trying to defend the indefensible," Ford Porter, communications director for Cooper for North Carolina said.
McCrory is expected to issue a formal petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case following this request for a stay.