North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory

On August 12, 2013, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law H.B. 589, which enacted sweeping new restrictions on voting in North Carolina. Soon after, Advancement Project, along with North Carolina attorneys Adam Stein and Irv Joyner, and pro bono counsel Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, filed a complaint in federal district court on behalf of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and other plaintiffs. The suit alleges that H.B. 589 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15thAmendments of the U.S. Constitution by imposing intentional and disproportionate burdens on voters of color.

H.B. 589 shortened the early voting period by a full week, eliminated same-day registration, prohibited provisional ballots cast out of precinct from being counted, expanded the ability to challenge voters, eliminated a pre-registration program for 16- and 17-year olds, and implemented a strict photo ID requirement. Each regulation is evidenced to have a statistically disparate impact on voters of color. The combination of these provisions constitutes the largest voter suppression law in the nation. 

In July of 2014, a preliminary injunction hearing was held in Winston-Salem, NC to determine whether certain provisions of the law should be halted prior to the midterm elections. Federal District Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina Thomas D. Schroeder denied the injunction, though a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately enjoined two provisions of the law: the elimination of same-day registration and the prohibition on counting out-of-precinct ballots. The U.S. Supreme Court stayed this decision due to its proximity to Election Day. Aside from the rollout of the strict ID requirement, which is set for 2016, all provisions of H.B. 589 were in effect for the 2014 midterm elections.

In July of 2015, a full trial on the merits of the law was argued before Judge Thomas D. Schroeder. His ruling will have sweeping consequences for the state of voting rights nationwide.

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