Last Friday, a judge denied a preliminary injunction, which would have staved off the state’s voter suppression law, H.B. 589, from this November’s general elections. The ruling was a blow to the attorneys and supporters fighting against the law, but they have promised to regroup in response to the court’s ruling.
The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement has been active on the ground by combating one of the most-oppressive voting laws in state history. Judge Thomas D. Schroeder of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled that the plaintiffs in the case provided legal claims that will give way to a full trial to take place next summer.
The legal team who challenged H.B. 589 on behalf of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP appeared on a media call Monday to address Judge Schroeder’s decision and lay out plans for galvanizing voters ahead of the fall elections. Advancement Project co-chair Penda D. Hair, Kirkland and Ellis partner Daniel T. Donovan, and North Carolina Central University School Of Law professor Irving Joyner spoke about the case and took questions from the media.
“We are disappointed that the court’s failure to issue a preliminary injunction means that countless North Carolinians could be disenfranchised in this November’s election,” said Ms. Hair via a written statement. “With the elimination of same-day registration, the shortening of the early voting period by a week, and preventing out-of-precinct provisional ballots from being counted, this harmful law burdens the constitutional right to vote, especially for voters of color who used those positive reforms at a significantly higher rate than White voters.
North Carolina NAACP president Rev. Dr. William James Barber II, who couldn’t attend Monday’s media event, offered an even more pointed written statement.
From Rev. Barber:
The NC NAACP understood when we moved for a preliminary injunction, that the bar we had to jump over was quite high. We knew we had to persuade the Court the harm this cruel law would do to African Americans and other minorities would be irreparable if it were allowed to be enforced during the 2014 November election. The Court found that allowing election officials and others to ask voters whether they had a photo ID — even though such IDs are not required for two more years — would not cause irreparable harm.