All five restrictions disproportionately affected African Americans

A bad thing didn’t happen:

A deadlocked Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to revive parts of a restrictive North Carolina voting law that a federal appeals court had struck down as an unconstitutional effort to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The court was divided 4 to 4, with the court’s more conservative members voting to revive parts of the law.

That includes Clarence Thomas, of course – voting to weaken the Voting Rights Act.

North Carolina’s law, which imposed an array of voting restrictions, including new voter identification requirements, was enacted by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2013. It was part of a wave of voting restrictions enacted after a 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision that effectively struck down a central part of the federal Voting Rights Act, weakening federal oversight of voting rights.

So that states could claw back a little racism in their voting laws.

Civil rights groups joined with the Obama administration in filing suit against the law, arguing that, several parts of the law violated the Constitution and what remained of the Voting Rights Act. A trial judge rejected those claims in April, but in July a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., disagreed.

The appeals court ruling struck down five parts of the law: its voter ID requirements, a rollback of early voting to 10 days from 17, an elimination of same-day registration and of preregistration of some teenagers, and its ban on counting votes cast in the wrong precinct.

The court found that all five restrictions “disproportionately affected African Americans.” The law’s voter identification provision, for instance, “retained only those types of photo ID disproportionately held by whites and excluded those disproportionately held by African Americans.”

This was so, the court said, even though the state had “failed to identify even a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.” But it did find that there is evidence of fraud in absentee voting by mail, a method used disproportionately by white voters. But the Legislature exempted absentee voting from the photo ID requirement.

But we were assured it was all about preventing voter fraud. Assured.

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