Law Rejected by North Carolina Judge

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( – A North Carolina law that would criminalize voting for those who have been convicted of felonies has been struck down by a judge. 

The law in question had first been passed in 1877 and it criminalized people voting in North Carolina after being convicted. This applied to cases of people who had not had their rights restored and ended up voting. In those cases, the people could be convicted of a Class I felony. 

However, U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs ruled on Monday that the law was originally enacted with discriminatory intent and that since then it has not been cleansed of its discriminatory nature. She added that this law was affecting Black voters at a disproportionate level. 

A 2017 report found that one-third of Black men had been convicted of one or more felonies. Demographically, Black Americans make up around 13 percent of the U.S. population. 

In North Carolina specifically, Black Americans account for around 53 percent of the state’s prison population, despite the fact that they are only 21.5 percent of the adult population in the state.

In 2020, Action NC and the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute Inc. brought forward the lawsuit to court where they argued that the law had been in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution and that it had been targeting Black voters.

Ahead of the November presidential election, the Congressional Black Caucus and other Black leaders have noted that voting rights were one of the main points of concern for them.

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