On Thursday, North Carolina Republicans introduced a proposal that would ask voters this November if they want to amend the state constitution to require citizens to present ID when they vote. This move comes just two years after a federal court struck down the voter ID statute the GOP passed in 2013 that was just one part of one of the most sweeping voter suppression laws ever enacted since the end of Jim Crow.
In crafting this package, Republican legislators ordered an analysis of which voting methods black voters used more than whites, then eliminated those very methods. They also included an ID requirement after finding black voters were more likely to lack an ID than whites. In striking down the law, the court said Republicans had “target[ed] African Americans with almost surgical precision.”
Thanks to gerrymanders that have since been ruled unconstitutional and redrawn, Republicans hold the three-fifths supermajorities needed to put amendments on the ballot without any Democratic votes, and they plan to do so by the end of June. GOP leaders may believe that putting the matter to a vote could insulate this second attempt from judicial review.
However, if North Carolinians pass this proposed amendment this fall, litigation is all but guaranteed. With study after study finding voter fraud to be practically nonexistent, North Carolina Republicans themselves have once again shown that their efforts to require voter ID are simply an attempt to keep black voters from exercising their rights—just as the federal court that rejected their first try said.