The North Carolina state Supreme Court on Friday threw out a previous ruling against gerrymandered voting maps, while it simultaneously upheld a voter photo I.D. law that had previously been struck down as racially biased.
The ruling is being perceived as a massive win for state Republicans as it will likely give the GOP-majority legislature the ability to rework the congressional map for next year to help their party gain seats in the narrowly-divided U.S. Congress. In last November’s midterm elections under the previous map, Democrats won seven of the state’s 14 congressional seats.
Earlier this year, North Carolna’s state Supreme Court became Republican-majority when two GOP justices were elected. Then the justices in March took up the unusual act of re-hearing opinions made in December when the court was 4-3 Democratic-majority.
Along with the decisions on gerrymandering and voter I.D., the court also overturned a trial court decision on when voting rights of convicted felons can be restored. Their ruling means that potentially tens of thousands of people will have to keep waiting until they complete their probation or parole, or pay fines, before they can qualify to vote again.