by Billy Ball
North Carolina's legal see-saw continues.
A majority of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a stay on a federal appeals court's decision last week to block key portions of GOP voting reforms. The Supreme Court decision allows the ban on same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting to be in place for this fall's election.
This means Friday—as in Oct. 10, as in tomorrow—is the last day to register to vote.
The state and a coalition of challengers, including the League of Women Voters and the NAACP, will challenge the law in court next year. For the moment, though, its controversial tenets, which include cutting seven days from the state's early voting period, are in effect.
"Thousands of North Carolinians will be left out of the upcoming election," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, on Wednesday. "More than 20,000 North Carolina voters used same-day registration in the last midterm election. While this order is not a final ruling on the merits, it does allow a law that undermines voter participation to be in effect as this case makes its way through the courts."
Shortly after the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals moved last week to block a pair of voting reforms, N.C. State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach issued a statement saying she believed the appeals court decision would confuse voters during this fall's election. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court came a day later.
Read more about the voting law changes in effect here.