U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs has delayed a decision on North Carolina voter ID legislation until next week.
Judge Biggs, an Obama appointee, has temporarily blocked measures that would require legal identification at the ballot box in 2020. Notification of the delay was appended to NAACP et al v. Cooper, one of two lawsuits challenging the new restrictions. The decision comes just before a statewide mailing which would explain them.
“The court gave advance notice that it will rule with plaintiffs and preliminarily enjoin the photo voter ID law next week,” Caitlin Swain, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in an e-mail statement. “We are awaiting the full order, gratified that the court is intervening to prevent this discriminatory law from impeding North Carolinians equal access to the ballot.”
North Carolina’s State Board of Elections opposed the injunction when it was originally requested in September, but State Board spokesperson Patrick Gannon said Friday morning that it will be up to Attorney General Josh Stein to decide what action, if any, will be taken. Meanwhile, Stein spokesperson Laura Brewer indicated the Attorney General’s Office will not decide on its approach until the full order is released.
Speaker of the House Tim Moore called on the Board to fight “this last-minute attempt by an activist federal judge to overturn the will of North Carolina voters.” In a statement e-mailed to WRAL News, the Speaker said:
To issue an injunction against one of the nation’s most lenient voter ID laws — which 34 states already have — without providing an opinion is an outrageous affront to due process, the rights of North Carolina voters, and the rule of law.
Via text, WRAL reports that House Rules Chairman David Lewis said the General Assembly will also “explore additional options to ensure that the people’s vote for voter ID is respected.”