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A Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act opened the floodgates for new restrictions


October 8, 2020

Activists attend a Voting Rights Amendment Act rally in Capitol Hill June 25, 2014, in Washington, DC. The rally marked the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder which held a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional. Photo by Win McNamee | Getty Images

It hadn't even been a day since the U.S. Supreme Court dismantled one of the pillars of voting rights in America, and North Carolina lawmakers weren't wasting any time.

Republican legislators had been contemplating a bill that would require photo identification to vote. The bill had plenty of support, but it had spent the past two months sitting in committee while lawmakers waited for the Supreme Court to determine whether the state could go much further.

North Carolina was among a handful of states that couldn't change its election laws or procedures without approval from the U.S. Department of Justice. Preclearance, as the practice was known, was part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and applied only to a handful of states and counties deemed to have exceptionally troubling records when it came to disenfranchising minority voters.


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