Voter ID Laws Struck Down in Four States

In the past month, strict voter ID laws passed by Republican legislatures have been struck down in North Dakota, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. Like in Ohio, laws were passed in these states supposedly to prevent voter fraud. In all four cases it was found that the laws were discriminatory and in turn ruled unconstitutional.

North Dakota

In 2013 and 2015, laws were passed in North Dakota which required voters to present a photo ID. Seven Native American voters sued the state, arguing that there were too many barriers to obtaining a photo ID, including the fact that there are no DMV offices on reservations and that many Native Americans can’t afford ID. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland ruled that the voter ID law adds "substantial and disproportionate burdens" for Native American voters. Judge Hovland issued an injunction against the law Monday August 1. North Dakota Secretary of State Alvin Jaeger announced that he would not appeal the ruling and stated that North Dakota will return to less restrictive measured enforced before 2013.
Read more here and here

North Carolina

On Friday, July 29, a three-judge panel on a U.S. Court of Appeals struck down a voter ID law in North Carolina, ruling that it had discriminatory intent as it would primarily affect minority and low-income populations. Judge Diana Motz wrote that the law passed in 2013 “[targeted] African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” The laws not only added a photo ID requirement to voting, but also eliminated same-day voter registration and pre-registration for high-school students about to turn 18, curtailed early voting by one week and banned out-of-precinct voting. The laws specifically prohibited alternative forms of photo ID commonly used by African Americans, and all of the other changes disproportionately affected black voters as well. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory promised to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Read more here 

Texas

On Wednesday, July 20 a federal appeals court found that a Texas voter ID law discriminated against African American and Hispanic voters and thus violated the Voting Rights Act. While the ruling did not overturn the law, they ordered a District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to put in place temporary remedies in time for the November Election. The appellate judges upheld the District Court’s finding that 600,000 people, disproportionately minorities, lacked the kinds of photo ID required and would have a difficult time obtaining it. In her opinion, Judge Catharina Haynes noted that there have only been two convictions for in-person voter fraud (out of 20 million voters) in the past decade, whereas absentee fraud is more likely, yet unaddressed in the Texas laws. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has stated that he is disappointed in the ruling.
Read more here and here 

Wisconsin

Wisconsin voter ID laws were struck down on Friday, July 29 as unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge James Peterson ruled that the requirement of photo ID would lead to “disenfranchisement… particularly in minority communities.” He ordered the state to revamp the voter ID rules before the November Elections, but allowed them to remain intact for the August 9 primary elections. Judge Peterson also struck down as unconstitutional limits on in-person absentee voting, residency requirements and a ban on using expired student identification. Governor Scott Walker tweeted that he was disappointed in the decision and plans on filing an appeal.
Read more here

by Megan Shanklin