Durham News: Opinion

The conversation: Brenda Hyde Rogers

Voting rights misunderstood

The League of Women Voters and our partners have won our request for the injunction to protect our citizens’ constitutional right to vote! The Fourth Circuit Appeals Court ruled yesterday (Oct. 1) that same day registration and out of precinct provisional voting must be in place for the November election. Although our request to keep the week of early voting that the law eliminated was not granted, the appeals court left open the possibility for us winning that claim when the full trial is heard July 2015.

The appeals court found that the Fourth District Court had erred in its legal analysis, failing to consider North Carolina’s long history of racial discrimination and the cumulative impact of all of the measures in the new voting law. Furthermore, the district court totally misunderstood the Voting Rights Act, and although it did not go into our constitutional claims that the intent of the law is discriminatory, we are encouraged that we will win our case based on the argument that the constitutional rights of minorities are violated by the law. To quote from the ruling, “There can be no doubt that certain challenged measures in House Bill 589 disproportionately impact minority voters.”

As the state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend a flawed and unconstitutional law, we stand by our mission to protect the rights of all voters!

Brenda Hyde Rogers

League of Women Voters of North Carolina