[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined to hear [order list, PDF] a challenge to North Carolina voting restrictions that opponents claim were intended to impede Democratic voters from casting ballots. The 2013 North Carolina law [bill, PDF] includes provisions that require photo identification, as well as the contested bar on same-day voter registration and provisional voting for voters casting their ballots outside of their normal precincts. The Republican-backed law is challenged on the basis that it makes it substantially more difficult for citizens more inclined to vote for Democratic candidates to cast their ballot by having a disproportionate impact on minorities and the young. The petition for certiorari sought to challenge a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] that provisionally banned the portions of the law banning voter registration and provisional voting until the conclusion of the trial. However, the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case will have limited impact as a full trial to decide the legality of the law will take place this summer.
Voting rights [JURIST backgrounder] have been hotly contested in recent months. Last month Oregon became the first state to institute automatic [JURIST report] voter registration, by using data acquired from the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Also in March the Supreme Court declined to rule on Wisconsin’s voter ID law, choosing to let the law stand and ignoring requests [JURIST reports] for review. In November Illinois voters approved [JURIST report] a constitutional amendment that would ban all voter discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or income. A few days later, a federal appeals court struck down [JURIST report] a Kansas rule that required voters to furnish proof of citizenship before they were allowed to use federal voter registration forms.