Sam Hayes, a Republican candidate for Attorney General, took to Twitter on New Year’s Eve, calling on incumbent AG Josh Stein to appeal a ruling that blocked North Carolina from requiring voters to present an ID at the polls during the primary in March. In 2018 North Carolinians approved an amendment to the State Constitution requiring an ID by a vote of 55% to 44%. However, since the amendment was not self-executing, an accompanying bill had to be passed by the legislature. That bill was passed over the Governor’s veto in the form of S.B. 824. It is that law that has now been blocked by District Court Judge Loretta Biggs after previously stating her intention to do so last Friday.
The suspension of S.B. 824 has placed the spotlight on the Attorney General’s race where that office will have to decide whether or not to defend the voter ID law. Sam Hayes, who up until recently served as General Counsel to the Department of State Treasurer, shared an article from the Carolina Journal on Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and Speaker Tim Moore’s joint call for Stein to appeal.
In her order, Judge Biggs stated: “As the Fourth Circuit recognized in McCrory, and as earlier discussed here, North Carolina has a sordid history of racial discrimination and voter suppression stretching back to the time of slavery, through the era of Jim Crow, and, crucially, continuing up to the present day.”
House Speaker Moore also took to Twitter to call on the Attorney General to intercede.
Democratic Sen. Wiley Nickel—who previously worked on the advance teams of both Vice President Al Gore and President Barack Obama—called for a bipartisan approach to implementing Voter ID. He later shared a link to an editorial that called for looser restrictions on acceptable forms of identification, however, the author didn’t specify what forms they felt should be included.