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The Daily Tar Heel

Court blocks parts of NC voting law

Voters can now use same-day registration.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that two provisions of the 2013 North Carolina voting law, commonly known as the voter ID law, cannot be enforced in the fall election, reversing a lower court decision in August.

Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement Wednesday that he has instructed the state’s lawyers to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the ruling is allowed to stand, same-day registration would resume, as would out-of-precinct voting, which allows voters to cast a ballot at any polling site in their county of residence. The panel of judges said the law’s provisions would disproportionately impact minority voters.

Early voting was unaffected and will still last for 10 days, said Josh Lawson, spokesman for the N.C. Board of Elections. The provision of the law requiring a photo ID to vote won’t take effect until 2016.

The board is working to keep voters informed on the situation and eliminate possible confusion, Lawson said.

“We encourage voters to stay tuned to possible changes,” he said.

In August, a judge refused to block parts of the law from impacting the election. Several groups, including the N.C. NAACP, the N.C. American Civil Liberties Union and the N.C. League of Women Voters, appealed the ruling, and the 4th Circuit took up the case in an expedited fashion, hearing arguments Sept. 25.

“The court’s order safeguards the vote for tens of thousands of North Carolinians,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, in a statement.

Amrithaa Gunabalan, secretary of the Young Democrats, said the group has been registering voters daily in advance of the Oct. 10 deadline.

Restoring out-of-precinct voting will help students, she said, because students living on campus fall into several different precincts. Students who voted at the wrong polling site on Election Day wouldn’t have had their vote counted, she said.

“Those provisions are really important for college students,” she said. “The decision has made it a lot easier for students all over North Carolina to have their voices heard.”

Students can vote early at North Carolina Hillel on Cameron Avenue.

Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections, said she hopes there won’t be any uncertainty for voters as a result of the debate surrounding the voting law.

“We’re very concerned there will be some confusion,” Lawson said, “but we will do our best to get information out to voters, and we’re hopeful that voters do their best to stay informed as this progresses.”

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