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North Carolina judge strikes down law that criminalized voting by felons

The law was originally passed in 1877 and made it a Class 1 felony for North Carolina residents who are felons to vote. 

Published: April 23, 2024 1:16pm

A judge in North Carolina struck down a law that made it a crime for individuals with felony convictions to vote. 

U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs struck it down on Monday, writing that the law was, "enacted with discriminatory intent, has not been cleansed of its discriminatory taint, and continues to disproportionately impact Black voters."

She further contended that the law could be subject to inconsistent enforcement.

"Record evidence demonstrating this inconsistency in District Attorneys’ interpretation and enforcement of the Challenged Statute — that some believed that the Challenged Statute included a requirement of intent while others did not — compels the conclusion that the Challenged Statute permits a 'standardless sweep' that allows prosecutors to 'pursue their personal predilections' under the Challenged Statute," she wrote.

Passed in 1877, the law made it a Class 1 felony for North Carolina residents who are felons to vote. The state constitution currently doesn't allow felons to vote unless their rights have been restored, according to The Hill, though recent state law asserts that a felon must cast their vote knowing they are ineligible to do so in order to face another felony charge.

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