The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday upheld a lower court ruling that struck down the state’s 2018 voter ID law, agreeing with the lower court that it had been passed with the intent of targeting Black voters who were unlikely to vote for Republicans.
“We hold that the three-judge panel’s findings of fact are supported by competent evidence showing that the statute was motivated by a racially discriminatory purpose,” the Democratic-majority court said, adding that the lower court also correctly applied the relevant precedent.
The state Supreme Court’s three Republican members dissented from the ruling Friday.
The law, known as SB 824, was passed in 2018 after Republicans lost their supermajority in the legislature but before the new legislature took over. The law was put on hold under a preliminary injunction, after North Carolina’s Court of Appeals said in 2020 that voter ID provisions could negatively impact Black voters. A three-judge state court panel then permanently blocked the law in September 2021.
Republicans will regain control of the North Carolina Supreme Court in the coming weeks, after the party flipped two seats on the court in last month’s midterm elections.