North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein | joshstein.org
A federal judge’s recent move to block a photo ID mandate for North Carolina voters has been met with plans to appeal by the state – and with criticism by Republican officials.
"It seems to me that it would be simple common sense to require a photo ID to vote," Clay County Republican Party Chairwoman Sissie Penland said following Judge Loretta Biggs’ action. "The law is a crucial way to protect every person's right to vote and the validity of that vote."
The impending appeal will not happen before the March 3 primary to avoid any voter confusion, and there will not be a photo ID requirement in place for the primary election, according to a statement from the office of Attorney General Josh Stein.
North Carolina voters were left to decide in 2018 if a photo ID should be required in order to cast a vote. The amendment passed with 55 percent of the vote, and the requirement was to begin this year.
"The people voted on this amendment to our constitution and we should uphold the community's wishes," Penland said "Going to court to block an amendment that was voted in by the people of North Carolina is basically telling those people that their vote doesn't count for much and that is a shame."
Biggs’ ruling determined that the effort in 2018 to mandate photo IDs was intentional racial discrimination, and ultimately no different than a state voter ID law that passed in 2013. That law was struck down by a federal appeals court in 2016 when the court found that legislators targeted African-American voters by using a breakdown of voter behavior by race.
"The requirement of a photo ID is truly a necessity in many walks of life and should not be excluded when it comes to voting requirements," Penland said.
President Barack Obama appointed Biggs in 2014.