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North Carolina fight over black votes is just beginning

North Carolina fight over black votes is just beginning

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When I learned that a three-judge panel of the Virginia-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals had struck down North Carolina’s restrictive voting law, I didn’t think of Rev. William Barber, the firebrand North Carolinian who electrified the Democratic National Convention with his call to revive the heart of our democracy.

I thought of Gloria Baker Goodwin, a delegate from Onslow, North Carolina who I’d spoken to several days before.

Baker Goodwin, a bespectacled woman wearing a sequined red white and blue hat, spoke softly when I asked her about the restrictive new voting law that her native state put in place after the Supreme Court scuttled the Voting Rights Act. But her words hit hard.

North Carolina’s voting law was “a form of racism,” she said. In an 83-page opinion, the federal appeals court agreed.

The law not only implemented a strict Voter ID requirement. It also eliminated same-day voter registration, cut early voting by one week, disallowed pre-registration for high-school students about to turn 18, and banned out-of-precinct voting.

Those provisions of the new law, wrote Judge Diana Motz of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

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