A federal district court said Thursday it will issue a preliminary injunction next week that would prohibit North Carolina from requiring a photo ID to vote in the state’s March 3 primary.
The court acted because the State Board of Elections had said it was going to issue a statewide mailing to voters on December 31, educating them about the new photo ID requirement. The notice gives the board of elections time to stop the mailing.
The notice said that, "based on the State Board's representation at the Preliminary Injunction hearing held December 3, 2019 that the Board plans a very large statewide mailing on December 31, 2019 to educate the voters on the Photo ID provisions of S.B 824, the Court hereby informs the parties that the Court will file an Order granting Plaintiffs' request for injunction related to the Voter Photo ID and Ballot Challenge provisions of the Act the week of December 30, 2019."
Mecklenburg elections director Michael Dickerson said his office is not planning to train its poll workers to ask for photo ID for the primary.
"This ruling was sort of a notice by the court that said hey state if you are going to do this, then hold up because we’re getting ready to issue a temporary restraining order," he said.
The state board of elections told county election directors in an email that the court has not made a final decision on photo ID. That means that the court could ultimately allow photo ID for the general election in November, or even possibly for the primary.
In November 2018, 55% of North Carolina voters approved an amendment to the state constitution requiring a photo ID to vote.
Democratic Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the enacting legislation, but Republicans in the General Assembly used their super majorities in 2018 to over-ride that veto.
The NAACP sued to stop the law.
The North Carolina Republican Party issued a statement saying the injunction is “yet another example of judges legislating from the bench.”
The party added that, if it’s allowed to stand, the action “will invalidate the votes of millions of North Carolinians who voted overwhelmingly to implement voter ID and strengthen the integrity of N.C. elections.”