The U.S. Supreme Court is teeing up the issue of voter ID laws, and every indication is that the fear of voter fraud is going to prevail over the fear of voter suppression.
On May 15, the justices declined to hear a case about North Carolina’s 2013 voter ID law, leaving in place, for now, an appeals court ruling that said the law was unconstitutional.
Breaking with the usual practice of not commenting on cases the justices decide not to hear, Chief Justice John Roberts explained in a two-page order that the court’s decision was not “an expression of opinion upon the merits of the case.”
North Carolina’s law contained five provisions: It required voters to present an approved form of photo identification before casting a valid ballot; it reduced the early voting period from 17 to 10 days; it ended out-of-precinct voting; it prohibited registering and voting on the same day; and it eliminated pre-registration by 16-year-olds.
The law was challenged, and the federal district court upheld it in a nearly 500-page ruling that said the challengers failed to establish discriminatory intent or impact. But on appeal, the 4th Circuit reversed that decision.
The Supreme Court has also deferred a case about a voter ID law in Texas. Earlier this year, Chief Justice Roberts said “the issues will be better suited” for the court’s review after lower courts complete their work on the law.
Roberts was part of the majority that upheld an Indiana voter ID law in 2008. But the most recent disputes over election integrity…
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