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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

North Carolina asks Supreme Court to restore voter ID law

By Reid Wilson - 08-16-16 09:46 AM EDT

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Monday asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a state voter identification law halted by a lower court ahead of November's elections.

In a statement released Monday, McCrory said North Carolina had requested a stay of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, handed down last month, that gutted much of a 2013 elections reform law.

"Allowing the Fourth Circuit's ruling to stand creates confusion among voters and poll workers and it disregards our successful rollout of Voter ID in the 2016 primary elections. The Fourth Circuit's ruling is just plain wrong and we cannot allow it to stand. We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold our state's law and reverse the Fourth Circuit," McCrory said in a statement.

The Fourth Circuit ruled against provisions requiring voters to show identification at the polls, cuts to early voting hours and other sections of the law. Its ruling overturned a U.S. District Court judge based in Winston-Salem, who had ruled earlier this year that the law passed constitutional muster.

The state will formally petition the Supreme Court to take up the Fourth Circuit's decision in their forthcoming term.

But the petition to the Supreme Court sews further uncertainty into North Carolina's already tumultuous elections process. Voters were required to show identification during the primary, though they will not have to during the general election, if the circuit court ruling is allowed to stand.

The legal fight over the 2013 reform bill, which passed on strict party-line votes, has also brought up new problems for county elections officials. The provision that cut early voting hours has those officials concerned because they do not know how to schedule early voting.

State elections director Kim Strach said earlier this month she expects heavy turnout in November. Strach said she expects 56 percent of the state's 6.6 million registered voters to show up at the polls, either during early voting or on Election Day.

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