A federal judge barred North Dakota from enforcing the strict voter ID law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, finding “concrete evidence of significant burdens imposed on Native American voters attempting to exercise their right to vote.” The plaintiffs argued that many Native Americans did not have addresses and lacked either the money or required proofs of identity to obtain the identification needed to vote. Democratic legislators asserted the law’s primary aim was to suppress voting among traditionally Democratic constituencies.
The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals speedily issued its decision not to delay the enforcement of its ruling striking down North Carolina’s strict voter ID requirement and other voting restrictions. The same court recently determined that a 2013 Republican law amounted to intentional discrimination against African-American voters. The court's injunction will result in no suppressive voter ID requirements during the 2016 general election, and voters can take advantage of 17 days of early voting and same-day registration.
In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled legislature and Governor Pat McCrory are continuing their fight against LGBT rights. This time, Gov. Pat McCrory let a bill become law without his signature that will transfer $500,000 from the state’s Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund to an account that funds the defense of HB2. HB2 – otherwise known as the “bathroom bill” – has caused an uproar nationwide over its discriminatory impact on the LGBT community, caused the NBA to withdraw the All-Star game from Charlotte, spurred the White House to issue a directive regarding bathroom use in public schools, and led the U.S. Attorney General’s office to sue the state of North Carolina for discrimination. North Carolina Republican lawmakers are effectively using state money that was earmarked for disaster relief to instead defend a hateful, unpopular bill.
An Ohio state appellate court upheld the decision by a lower court that Republican-enacted regulations governing Ohio abortion clinics were unconstitutional. The court found that the GOP law, which required abortion clinic physicians to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, created an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion that clearly outweighed the “virtually non-existent health benefits” created by the legislation. Additionally, the court found that the Republican-backed regulations violated the Ohio constitution’s requirement that legislation be confined to a single subject.
In the battleground state of Nevada, Democrats saw a surge in their voter base this past July as the number of registered Democrats outnumbered registered Republicans by 72,000. According to Nevada’s Secretary of State’s Office, Republicans added 5,900 new voters to their ranks in July, while Democrats added nearly 8,600. This increase in Democratic voter registration, particularly among the state’s Hispanic population, has been seen as a response to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. During the course of his campaign, Trump has spouted numerous bigoted and racially-charged statements targeting Mexicans and immigrants and has made building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and the deportation of millions of immigrants a key part of his policy platform.