WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A federal court today ordered North Carolina state lawmakers to release some e-mails and other documents related to the passage of the state's sweeping voter suppression law. It also rejected North Carolina’s argument that legislators have absolute immunity to keep their documents from the public. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a motion to compel the release of that information after lawmakers refused to do so citing "legislative immunity."
"North Carolinians have a right to know what motivated their lawmakers to make it harder for them to vote," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "Legislators should not be shrouding their intentions in secrecy. The people deserve better."
Immediately after Gov. Pat McCrory signed the voter suppression bill into law last August, the ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed their legal challenge. The suit targets provisions that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. The groups charge that enacting these provisions would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.