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North Carolina voters ask Supreme Court to uphold redistricting order

[JURIST] North Carolina voters in two racially formulated voting districts filed a response [text, PDF] in the US Supreme Court [official website] Tuesday rejecting the merits of the state's request to a stay a district court order to redistrict prior to the 2016 primary on March 16. The US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina [official website] previously ordered [text] the state to enact a remedial redistricting plan before a February 19 deadline. Last week the state filed [text, PDF] an emergency request in the Supreme Court to stay the order based on probable complications with absentee ballots and the potential for the sudden redistricting to create a chaotic voting process culminating in irreparable harm to the voters. The response by voters urged the court to deny the request so as not to subject voters to another election under unconstitutional conditions.

Voting rights remain a controversial legal issue in the US. Earlier this month, a partnership of voting rights groups filed suit against the executive director for the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) [official website], alleging that his recent decision limiting the use of national voter registration [JURIST report] in Alabama, Kansas and Georgia deprives eligible voters of the right to vote. Last month a judge for the US District Court of the Middle District of North Carolina granted [JURIST report] a motion by the NAACP and other plaintiffs that would have kept the state from implementing a voter identification law in the upcoming March elections. In May the New Hampshire Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] a 2012 law requiring voters to be state residents, not just domiciled in the state. In March the US Supreme Court denied certiorari [JURIST report] to hear challenges to Wisconsin's voter ID law. Also in March Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a new law [JURIST report] that made Oregon the first state in the nation to institute automatic voter registration.

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