N.C. Supreme Court reverses previous opinion, deems voter ID law constitutional

The NC Supreme Court reversed a decision released in December of 2022 and determined a state law requiring voter ID is not unconstitutional.
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 1:24 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV) - Requiring voters to show photographic identification before casting their ballots is not unconstitutional --- that’s according to a North Carolina Supreme Court ruling issued on Friday in the case of Holmes v. Moore.

It’s the second time the high court issued an opinion on the suit.

Voter ID laws have been topics of fierce debate in North Carolina for years and the latest decision from North Carolina’s highest court remands this case back to a lower trial court for dismissal.

In November of 2018, North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring all voters to present photographic identification before casting their ballot. A subsequent law, Senate Bill 824 would have implemented the amendment into law. Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the bill which was then overridden by the General Assembly.

Following the veto override, several voters challenged the law in court arguing the law was discriminatory.

The future of voter ID in North Carolina has remained uncertain but in December of 2022, the North Carolina Supreme Court affirmed a ruling from a three-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court which held the law violated the North Carolina Constitution.

RELATED>>> Cooper vetoes latest NC voter ID legislation

“On discretionary review pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7A-31 from the judgment entered on 17 September 2021 by a divided three-judge panel of the Superior Court, Wake County, holding that S.B. 824 violates Article I, Section 19 of the North Carolina Constitution and permanently enjoining that law. On 16 December 2022, this Court affirmed the judgment, and that mandate was issued on 5 January 2023,” the April 2023 opinion reads.

But after the General Election in November, Republicans obtained a majority in the high court and agreed to revisit the case which led to the opinion issued Friday.

“We are confronted here with a simple question: does S.B. 824 violate the meaningful protections set forth in Article I, Section 19 of the North Carolina Constitution? Because it does not, we reverse and remand to the trial court for dismissal of this action with prejudice,” the court’s latest majority opinion reads.

On Friday afternoon, the North Carolina State Board of Elections website reflects the decision of the December 2022 ruling regarding voter ID.

“On December 16, 2022, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in the Holmes v. Moore case that Senate Bill 824, the 2018 legislation implementing voter ID, violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause. This means that voters are not required to show photo ID in elections in North Carolina,” the site reads.

The North Carolina Republican Party issued a statement on Friday afternoon applauding the decision.

“A strong majority of North Carolina voters voted to replace those judicial activists last fall, just like they voted to adopt Voter ID requirements. For the last decade, Democrats have obstructed the Will of the People, but now North Carolina will be among the three dozen states requiring some form of ID to vote,” the statement reads, in part.

House Democratic Leader Robert Reives also issued a statement condemning the court’s reversal.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of North Carolina further erodes the trust North Carolinians have in fair elections. Our state needs independent redistricting to ensure that voters can choose their politicians rather than politicians choosing their voters,” he said.

Download the free WBTV News app for updates and breaking news.