The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday knocked down a 2018 voter-identification law it said discriminated against Black voters and ordered a state Senate map be redrawn due to Republican partisan gerrymandering.
Both were 4-3 decisions along party lines, with all the court’s Democratic justices voting in the majority and all Republican justices dissenting. The decisions come just before the court flips to GOP control on Jan. 1, when there will be five Republican justices and two Democrats.
The court upheld a lower court’s 2021 ruling that a 2018 law requiring voters to present photo ID was unconstitutional. The majority opinion said that the lower court correctly found that the law “was motivated by a racially discriminatory purpose.”
Republican-led legislatures in several states have passed similar voter ID laws in recent years, arguing they are needed to prevent voter fraud.
But critics including Democrats and voting rights advocates say the laws are likely to suppress votes from African Americans, who are both more likely to vote Democratic and lack the needed identity cards.