The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid by North Carolina to reinstate several voting restrictions, including a requirement that people show identification at the polls for November’s elections, several news outlets reported Wednesday.
In a divided vote 4-4, the court rejected a request made by Republican Governor Pat McCrory after the Richmond, Virginia, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on July 29 that the law intentionally discriminated against minority voters. The same court refused to put its decision on hold for the Nov. 8 election. Five votes are needed for an emergency request to be granted.
Reuters reported that “the brief order noted that three of the court’s conservatives, including Chief Justice John Roberts, would have allowed the voter identification provision and limits on early voting to be in effect for the election. Justice Clarence Thomas agreed on that point, but was the only justice to say he would have also allowed a requirement blocking pre-registration of 16-year-olds to stay in place.”
Critics say such laws, passed in Republican-governed states, make voting harder for minorities such as African-Americans and Hispanics, who tend to support Democrats. Backers say the laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, despite not being able to produce any evidence to support his claim.