Monday, January 22, 2024

Schroeder Grants Injunction Against Part of S 747


The lawsuit against part of S 747, "Same-Day Voter Registration," which the Watauga Voting Rights Task Force initiated (background here) was finally concluded late yesterday when Federal Judge Thomas Schroeder issued an injunction against the mail verification part of that law -- until the General Assembly fixes it by giving a voter "notice and an opportunity to be heard" for why their legitimate vote should not be thrown out.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with them, are HEREBY ENJOINED from utilizing the procedures of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 163-82.6B(d) to remove from the official count the votes of the ballot of any voter who has provided contact information in the registration process and whose first notice required under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 163-82.7(c) is returned by the Postal Service as undeliverable before the close of business on the business day before the canvass, without first providing such voter notice and an opportunity to be heard, and, only to this extent, Voto Latino Plaintiff’s motion (VL Doc. 44) and Party Plaintiff’s motion (DNC Doc. 6) are GRANTED. This injunction shall remain in force until such time as a procedure for notice and opportunity to be heard is implemented in accordance therewith.

The judge was obviously moved by the examples provided by Watauga County of valid voters who same-day registered and voted but who did not receive their mandated verification mailing because of clerical or post office error and through no fault of their own. The new law would have canceled their vote and their voter registration with no provision for notifying the voter and allowing them to confirm their true address.

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