RALEIGH — The North Carolina Court of Appeals has granted lawmakers’ motion to stay an order issued by a 3-judge panel that would allow some 55,000 felons not currently incarcerated to be able to vote in any election .
“The “Final Judgment and Order” entered by a divided panel of three judges of the Wake County Superior Court on March 28, 2022 is hereby stayed pending the determination of this Court on the Motion for Writ of Replacement “, said the Court of Appeal. ordered bed.
According to the stay order, the state Board of Elections “will not order the denial of voter registration applications received pursuant to the ‘Final Judgment and Order’ but will direct that such applications be held and not proceeded with.” until further order of this Court”,
On Monday, March 28, a 3-judge panel voted 2-1 to allow felons to vote, bypassing the state constitution that prohibits felons from voting “unless that person is first restored to their rights.” of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law.”
“This is an unprecedented attempt by judges to legislate from the bench,” Sen. Warren Daniel (R-Burke) said in a press release. “Piece by piece, the courts are diminishing the constitutional duty of the legislature to set electoral policy in this state and to seize that authority for themselves.”
The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) has yet to act, citing an ‘imminent’ appeal in a March 29 memo to county election officials ordering them not to grant registrations yet. on the electoral lists to criminals.
On March 31, the NCSBE called an emergency meeting in which the board went almost straight into a closed session to speak with its legal counsel. Board Chairman Damon Circosta released the following statement:
“This morning, the five members of the State Board of Elections met behind closed doors with counsel for the Board to discuss Community Success Initiative v. Moore. The Commission voted unanimously to order the Office of the Attorney General, the Commission’s litigation counsel, to file a response as soon as possible to a pending motion to stay this case. He will ask the court how to proceed under the trial court’s order. In that response, the Council will establish for the court the urgency of the situation and the timelines that should be considered in light of the April 22 voter registration deadline for the May 17 primary. All applications for registration on the electoral lists submitted by the persons concerned are pending. We will take action against those who follow court instructions.
The Senate Republicans’ press release called the decision to substitute “two county judges’ favorite policy over state law.”
Despite the nearly 50-year-old law treating all offenders equally, writing a majority in the 3-judge panel’s decision, Justices Lisa Bell and Keith Gregory said the law passed by the legislature then under scrutiny democracy to deny criminals the ability to vote was racist.
“Parliament cannot purge by the mere passage of time an impermissible intent to racially discriminate,” Bell and Gregory wrote. “The decision of the legislator in the 1970s to preserve [the law’s] the denial of voting rights to people living in the community was itself independently motivated by racism.
The ruling came as postal voting in the primaries had begun and sticks to a model for that same panel to halt the election. The same three-judge panel issued a verbal order allowing some 55,000 felons to register to vote as the NC finalized voting materials in late August 2021.
“The people of North Carolina are tired of leftist judges ignoring the law to get the results they want. The constitution could not be clearer: convicted felons must repay their debt to society before their civil rights are restored,” Sam Hayes, general counsel for House Speaker Tim Moore, said in a statement.
“Granting convicted felons, including rapists and murderers, the right to vote is an affront to all law-abiding voters in our state, and it will not stand,” Hayes said. “We are now asking for a stay pending appeal to prevent this order from coming into effect, and we will continue the General Assembly’s fight to preserve the security of our elections.”
In 1973, North Carolina passed a law dictating how felons can restore their access to the vote. The requirements to restore citizenship reside in Chapter 13 of the state statutes which includes an unconditional pardon or the “unconditional discharge of an inmate, probationer or parolee by the agency of the state having jurisdiction over that person or an accused. under a suspended sentence imposed by the court.