Republicans in North Carolina have unveiled their proposal for new voter ID legislation that lawmakers are expected to pass during the lame-duck sessions. They propose implementing a ballot initiative that North Carolina voters passed this month to enshrine voter ID in the state’s constitution. It resembles the voter ID requirement that was invalidated when a federal appeals court in 2016 struck down an omnibus voter restriction law for being intentionally discriminatory. There are a few tweaks however: IDs issued by state universities will be acceptable under the proposal, and county boards of elections will offer free voter IDs. (That would replace current North Carolina law requiring DMVs to offer free IDs.) The legislature is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal Monday. Democrats will argue that passing the legislation should wait until next year, with the incoming legislature, which will have more Democrats (though they’re still a minority). For now, Republicans have a supermajority in both chambers, meaning they can override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.
Remember when Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, in the days before an election where he was on the ballot for governor, claimed without evidence that Georgia’s Democrats attempted to hack the state’s election systems? And his office said the matter was being referred for criminal investigation? Well, more than two weeks later, the Georgia Democratic Party has not heard from investigators. Meanwhile Kemp narrowly avoided a run-off in his gubernatorial race against Democrat Stacey Abrams.
The Justice Department’s norm-breaking approach to defending the census citizenship question has clearly frustrated a federal judge. An appeals court is not too happy about it either. As I wrote on Tuesday, the Trump administration has made a habit of fast-tracking the typical judicial process to get its most controversial cases in front of the Supreme Court, and the census case is perhaps the best example. After the Supreme Court announced it was hearing arguments in a discovery dispute stemming from the case, the DOJ used the announcement to argued that the post-trial proceedings should wait for that review. It even took its delay request to an appeals courts before the district court had a chance to rule on it. The appeals court called the move “premature.” The district judge ripped the Justice Department for seeming to “cross” the “sanctionable line.” Sure enough, once that ruling was properly appealed to the appeals court, it was denied. We’re waiting to see if the Justice Department will try for the Supreme Court again.
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