In the past 10 days, courts have issued six major decisions against GOP-backed voting restrictions in five different states.
On Friday, an array of new voting restrictions were struck down in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Kansas. This followed rulings the previous week softening voter ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin and striking down Michigan’s ban on straight-ticket voting. When you include a court decision in Ohio from May reinstating a week of early voting and same-day registration, anti-voting laws in six states have been blocked so far in 2016.
Here are the recent decisions:
In North Carolina, the US Appeals Court for the Fourth Circuit struck down the state’s voter-ID law and reinstated a week of early voting, same-day voter registration, out-of-precinct voting, and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds.
In Wisconsin, a federal district court overturned harsh residency requirements and restrictions on early voting and casting absentee ballots, and said the state must accept student IDs to vote. A week earlier, another federal court said that those who are unable to obtain a voter ID could instead vote by signing an affidavit.
In Kansas, a federal district court ruled that the state’s burdensome proof of citizenship law for voter registration couldn’t prevent 17,500 people from voting in federal elections.
In Texas, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against the state’s strict voter-ID law, which it said had a “discriminatory effect on minorities’ voting rights.” Like in Wisconsin, the court said those without strict ID needed to be able to vote.
In Michigan, a federal court overturned the state’s ban on straight-ticket voting, which it said would lead to longer lines at the polls and disproportionately harm African-American voters.
In North Carolina, the court said that Republicans targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision” and that the evidence was “as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times.”