A federal judge on Monday granted a request from attorneys representing the Civitas Institute to dismiss a request for an injunction to keep same-day ballots from being certified, but the lawsuit requesting voter verification of same-day registrants will move forward.
The request was filed along with the lawsuit last month, asking the court to force the state to verify the addresses of registrants participating in one-stop voting the same way registration is verified for all other registrants, ensuring that all voters are treated equally under the law.
Civitas President Francis De Luca said that the decision was made to refrain from holding up the results of the protracted state election, in which ballots were cast nearly a month ago.
“Our decision to drop the request for the temporary injunction avoids any continued disruption to the conclusion of the election, given the political realities,” he said. “It is important to focus on the core issue of the suit, which seeks to ensure the equal treatment of voters under the law. To count ballots without proper verification of same-day registration information discriminates by treating one class of voters differently from another and ignores federal and state laws. We hope all can now focus on the important issue of voter verification. The federal lawsuit will move forward.”
Going into the week, three statewide races were still unsettled, but since then two of those statewide races have been decided. Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the election to Attorney General Roy Cooper, and state Sen. Buck Newton conceding the race for attorney general to former state Sen. Josh Stein.
The race for state auditor between incumbent State Auditor Beth Wood and Republican Chuck Stuber remains undecided, however.
While the request for the injunction has been withdrawn, the Civitas lawsuit requesting voter verification of same-day registrants in accordance with the law will move forward, the Raleigh nonprofit said.
The Civitas Center for Law and Freedom filed the lawsuit at the end of November with the Eastern District of the U.S. District Court. The lawsuit names the State Board of Elections and the director and board members of the SBE, in their official capacities, as defendants. De Luca was the plaintiff.
In the lawsuit, Civitas claims that the state did not have enough time to verify the registrations of absentee voters before their votes were counted, leaving their possible ineligible votes to “cancel out” the legitimate votes of other voters.