Background: the case is Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. In 2018, voters in North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment to require voter ID. Later that year the legislature adopted a voter ID law. The governor vetoed the law, but the legislature overrode it. The NAACP challenged the law. Though the state Attorney General is defending the statute, lawmakers contend it is a half-hearted effort and that he is making no effort to rebut claims that the legislature acted with intentional discrimination. North Carolina law grants the legislature the right to intervene to defend the law.
This lawsuit is part of a broader national trend among state legislatures to ensure that election laws are properly defended in court. In 2020, more than 200 lawsuits challenging election safeguards and procedures were filed by progressive groups before Election Day. In many cases, state attorneys general or secretaries of state simply settled cases, effectively rewriting election laws unilaterally.
Jason Snead, Executive Director of Honest Elections Project
“This case is about one thing: the rule of law. The Constitution makes state legislatures—not courts, and not governors—the key players in regulating elections. In North Carolina, lawmakers adopted a voter ID law after voters passed a constitutional amendment to require it. Now, that law is under attack in the courts, just like so many other commonsense election safeguards. So long as progressive groups continue to endlessly challenge election safeguards, it is essential that legislatures be permitted to defend the laws they pass. The public deserves an election system where the rules are written in public by the lawmakers they elect, not behind closed doors by courts and partisan activists.”