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Judge Sides With NAACP; Orders Reinstatement of Canceled Voter Registrations

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Federal courthouse in Winston-Salem.

A federal judge has ordered North Carolina to reinstate roughly 3,500 voter registrations that were canceled within the past three months. The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP sued over the cancellations in three counties in the eastern half of the state.

A handful of private citizens challenged huge numbers of voter registrations, relying mainly on undeliverable mail. Almost all the cancellations were tied to one person in Cumberland County who’s affiliated with the Voter Integrity Project, a small group in Raleigh.

In her ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs wrote, "There is little question that the county boards’ process of allowing third parties to challenge hundreds and, in Cumberland County, thousands of voters within 90 days before the 2016 General Election constitutes the type of 'systematic' removal prohibited by the National Voter Registration Act."

She granted the North Carolina NAACP’s request for a preliminary injunction that will restore those voter registrations and forbid counties from allowing similar challenges.

"Voter enfranchisement cannot be sacrificed when citizens through no fault of their own have been removed from the voter rolls," Biggs wrote.