The Supreme Court of North Carolina passed down multiple election-related rulings on Friday which are expected to benefit the state’s Republican Party in upcoming elections.
Judges in the Tar Heel State reinstated a voter ID law, which had been struck down by the state’s previous Democrat-dominated court, requiring prospective voters to show identity in order to cast their ballots.
“The people of North Carolina overwhelmingly support voter identification and other efforts to promote greater integrity and confidence in our elections. Subjective tests and judicial sleight of hand have systematically thwarted the will of the people and the intent of the legislature,” says the court’s majority opinion.
The court made a ruing which would give Republicans the opportunity to draw the state’s congressional districts for the 2024 elections, overturning a previous ruling against gerrymandering that would have blocked the party’s attempts to create a more favorable map.
“Courts are not intended to meddle in policy matters,” wrote Chief Justice Paul Newby. “In its decision today, the Court returns to its tradition of honoring the constitutional roles assigned to each branch. This case is not about partisan politics but rather about realigning the proper roles of the judicial and legislative branches. Today we begin to correct course, returning the judiciary to its designated lane.”
Finally, the court ruled that felons must complete their probation and parole in order to re-acquire their right to vote. All three rulings are seen as wins for the Republican Party and have been condemned by North Carolinian Democrats.
The balance of power in the Court shifted last November, when the previous 4–3 balance favoring Democrats was replaced by a 5–2 balance favoring Republicans.
These rulings are significant on account of North Carolina’s propensity to flip political allegiances in federal-level elections. The state was carried by the Republican candidates in the last three presidential elections, but Barack Obama managed to win the state in 2008. In all four cases, the margin of victory came down to less than 2% of the vote, suggesting that North Carolina is very much up for grabs in 2024’s presidential contest.
“I think we are going to be ground zero for this election cycle, both at the presidential level and at the congressional level,” said state Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley in a statement to CBS-17. “I think that when you look at the narrow margins we have right now, every seat is going to be crucial. Every seat is going to be important.”
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