As soon as the Supreme Court ended the federal supervision of voting laws enacted in the Voting Rights Act in states that used to prevent voting by African Americans, North Carolina proposed a raft of voter suppression provisions.
A federal panel reviewed the history of how the law was made, and concluded that the legislature blatantly sought to suppress those, and only those, methods of voting and voter identification most favored by African Americans.
Before enacting that law, moreover, “the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices.” After receiving that data, “the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.” Indeed, this data appears to have guided the state’s lawmakers in drafting a law that would have maximal impact on African-Americans.
This decision is good for democracy in itself. It is also a good step in restoring the wisdom behind the Voting Rights Act that our country has had a pernicious pattern of suppressing black voting.