North Carolina is locked in a battle between the Republican-dominated legislature and Democrat-dominated Supreme Court, and the upcoming midterm elections may hang in the balance.
Next month, the state Supreme Court will consider cases on the state’s voter identification law and the state’s legislative and congressional election maps, both of which were passed by the legislature.
There is not really much recourse after the Supreme Court’s ruling, likely to be against both voter ID and the maps.
“In both cases, the court took party-line 4-3 votes to schedule arguments in October. The court’s four Democrats supported speeding up the cases’ timelines to hold October arguments. The three Republican justices dissented. They raised concerns about confusing voters in the middle of an election campaign,” the Carolina Journal reported.
Impact on midterms unclear
It is unclear whether any October ruling would impact the midterms, but one has to think that scheduling the oral arguments so quickly means the court wants to see its ruling affect them.
Early voting begins October 20 in the state, and absentee ballots are already being requested by voters.
Theoretically, there is still time to change the current voter ID rules and not require ID to vote, but electoral map changes would probably have to take effect in the next election since primaries have already been held and ballots made under the current map.
Changing the electoral map at this late date would be problematic and could change which candidates are running in which areas.
A national debate
The battle is a microcosm of a national debate over voting rights and where to draw the line on voting accessibility.
Democrats argue that voter ID makes voting inaccessible to some voters who don’t have ID and don’t find it easy to get an ID, while 80% of Americans think people should have to show ID to vote.
ID is required for plenty of other things less important than voting, including buying alcohol and even concert tickets in some locations.
Republicans argue that not requiring ID opens the door to voter fraud, especially when it comes to mail-in ballots that can be easily duplicated and faked.