N.C. Lawmakers Ask Court to Reinstate Voter ID, Allow Free IDs, and Let Them Defend the Law they Passed 

Raleigh, N.C. – State lawmakers requested an immediate stay of an injunction blocking voter ID in North Carolina on Friday, and asked a federal court to let the General Assembly leaders who approved and support the voter ID law to defend it in court.

The court filing further requested Judge Loretta Biggs compel the State Board of Elections to continue providing free photo IDs to “not deprive citizens of North Carolina of their right to obtain a free photo ID from their county board of elections,” because “there is no reason to halt the issuance of free IDs.”

“North Carolina’s constitutional amendment (which is valid and unchallenged in this litigation) requires voter ID, so whether S.B. 824 is ultimately upheld or invalidated North Carolinians will have a voter ID law in place at some point in the future,” attorneys for state lawmakers wrote on Friday. 

“It is highly likely that that law will incorporate free county board IDs. This Court should ensure that its preliminary injunction order does not stand in the way of the issuance of free IDs that will help voters in upcoming elections.”

Lawmakers had urged the state Department of Justice to seek an immediate stay of the court’s injunction blocking voter ID, but Attorney General Josh Stein refused.  The court is only allowing Stein to defend the case on behalf of Governor Cooper’s State Board of Elections, even though both Democrats have publicly opposed voter ID. 

State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said the rights of the people of North Carolina were harmed by the court’s orders, including its refusal to allow lawmakers to intervene in the case.

“The State Board of Elections and local counties should not have stopped issuing free IDs to North Carolinians, and today we urged the court to compel those agencies to continue providing free photo IDs to citizens in preparation for North Carolina’s compliance with its constitutional amendment requiring voter ID,” Speaker Moore said.  

“The people of North Carolina have a right to those free public IDs under state law, just as they have a right to add voter ID to their state constitution.  It is well documented that North Carolina’s voter ID law is one of the most lenient in the nation, and we urge this court to let it move forward, to let us defend it, and to restore to the people have lawful access to free photo IDs.”