Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina's voter ID law is constitutional and should remain in effect, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled late Monday.
"Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that Defendants have violated § 2 of the VRA or the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, or Twenty-Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution," Schroeder ruled in a 485-page opinion.
The case was brought by the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP, a trio of churches and several individual plaintiffs. The Obama administration also sided with those who said that the new law would prevent voters qualified to vote from casting a ballot.
"I've not read the full opinion, but it appears the federal district court paid close attention to the evidence that was presented," said Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.
In addition to keeping North Carolina's voter ID law in effect, the federal court ruling also says other changes made by Republican lawmakers at the same time will stand. Most notably, Schroeder ruled that a prohibition on out-of-precinct voting – when a voter comes to the wrong polling place on Election Day – should take effect after the North Carolina's June primary. That means the strict in-precinct provisions will be in effect for the November election.
"Just like those who carried on before us, we will continue our movement challenging regressive and discriminatory voter suppression tactics on behalf of African Americans, Latinos, seniors, students and all those for whom democracy has been denied," said the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP.
Barber's group has scheduled a conference call for Tuesday to talk about next steps.
"The sweeping barriers imposed by this law undermine voter participation and have an overwhelmingly discriminatory impact on African-Americans. This ruling does not change that reality. We are already examining an appeal," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project.
Meanwhile, Gov. Pat McCrory hailed the ruling Monday night.
"This ruling further affirms that requiring a photo ID in order to vote is not only common-sense, it's constitutional," McCrory said. "Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID and thankfully a federal court has ensured our citizens will have the same protection for their basic right to vote."