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Supreme Court Blocks Appeals Court Order, Obstructs Access to Ballot by Reinstating Restrictive Voting Measures

A Statement from the North Carolina NAACP and Advancement Project

NAACPWASHINGTON – Today, the Supreme Court blocked the mandate issued by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to instate a preliminary injunction on key provisions of North Carolina’s H.B. 589, a massive voter suppression law. By granting a stay on the injunction, the Supreme Court’s ruling means that voters will no longer be able to benefit from same-day registration and out-of-precinct provisional voting this election cycle.

The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and Advancement Project, which challenged H.B. 589, along with the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and North Carolina lawyers Adam Stein and Irving Joyner, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling:

“We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling today,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. “Tens of thousands of North Carolina voters, especially African-American voters, have relied on same-day registration, as well as the counting of ballots that were cast out of precinct, for years. As the appeals court correctly concluded, eliminating these measures will cause irreparable harm of denying citizens their right to vote in the November election – a right that, once lost, can never be recovered.

The Forward Together Moral Movement will continue our fight for voting rights, making sure that, county by county, as many votes as possible are counted despite the barriers posed by the Supreme Court’s ruling. We will also charge onward in court, in the full trial next summer, to ensure that this restrictive and discriminatory law is permanently overturned.”

“North Carolina lost vital tools for expanding the franchise today,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “Abridging the voting rights of African Americans by eliminating same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting is a far greater burden than any administrative changes that the State would have had to make by simply preserving those measures— which tens of thousands of North Carolina voters have already been using for the past three general elections.

Same-day registration had provided a safety net for voters who go to the polls during early voting but find there is a problem with their registration. Out-of-precinct voting provided the same assurance for voters who did everything necessary to participate, but mistakenly voted at the wrong location within their county. With the Supreme Court’s decision blocking the injunction ordered by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, voters of color, who used these measures at significantly higher rates than White voters, will face higher barriers to the ballot box this November.

And as Justice Ginsburg indicated in her dissent, North Carolina’s H.B. 589 would have never passed under the federal pre-clearance of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. We will continue working to restore the rights of North Carolina voters and to ensure that elections are free, fair and accessible for all.”

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