In a strongly-worded ruling striking down North Carolina's voter ID laws last month, a panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit wrote that the laws were discriminatory and "[targeted] African Americans with almost surgical precision."
So, of course, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory wants the law back.
Weeks after the court's ruling, North Carolina has applied to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to restore the state's voting restrictions for the upcoming election.
“The 4th Circuit’s ruling is just plain wrong and we cannot allow it to stand," McCrory stated in a news release issued by his office. "We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold our state’s law and reverse the 4th Circuit.”
McCrory is specifically asking that Roberts restore the state's voter ID requirements and halt a planned expansion of early voting from the current ten days to 17 before the election.
These are both aspects of North Carolina's law that the appeals court found to be blatantly discriminatory against black voters. The court noted in particular that the state legislature specifically chose to limit early voting after receiving data that showed black voters disproportionately voted during the first seven days of early voting. They cut early voting by exactly seven days.
The application also seeks to prevent 16-year-olds from pre-registering to vote once they are of age. It does not touch on the court's requirements that the state resume same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting.
McCrory waited 17 days to submit the state's application, which was prepared by former Bush administration Solicitor General Paul Clement. The state's attorney general, Democrat Roy Cooper, who is running for governor against McCrory, has refused to defend the law.
Roberts can rule on the application himself or refer it to the full court, which is currently operating with 8 judges due to the Senate's refusal to confirm Obama nominee Merrick Garland.
Bob Hall of Democracy North Carolina, an activist group that opposes voter ID, told The News & Observer that it was probably too late to restore the provisions and elections officials have already moved on.
“The reality is that they should have been in intensive training about the ID and the exemptions between the primary and the general election, and that has stopped,” Hall said to the News & Observer.