Voters need finality

Published 6:54 pm Thursday, July 14, 2016

Federal lawsuits and state lawsuits concerning North Carolina laws regarding voting remain in the courts. Courts have made rulings concerning election laws passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013. Those rulings were appealed. Higher courts got involved. Yes. No. Yes. No. Court rulings left voters confused.

The saga continues. On Monday, Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan set Sept. 26 as the beginning of a state court challenge to North Carolina’s voter ID law. A challenge to North Carolina’s voter ID law — sound familiar? Well, this particular lawsuit is different from lawsuits in federal courts challenging the state’s voter ID requirements and other changes to voter-related laws made by the General Assembly three years ago. This lawsuit focuses on whether the voter ID requirement violates the state’s constitution.

Last month, a panel of the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments in June regarding whether a lower court’s decision upholding the changes should remain in effect.

A ruling in that case could some soon, but Morgan, a candidate for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court, said he couldn’t be concerned what other courts may decide.

Lawsuit after lawsuit. Court ruling after court ruling. Uncertainty after uncertainty. No doubt some North Carolina voters are confused. Do I or don’t I need an ID to vote? Is the same-day voter registration option available or not? Will out-of-precinct voting be allowed and will my vote be counted if I vote out of my precinct?

It’s a safe bet that when voters are confused many of them will decide not to vote. Any confusion voters face must be removed so they can participate in the election process. Stumbling blocks that hinder voters from marking ballots must be removed.

Voters deserve clarity and finality when it comes to the voting process. As soon as possible, the courts should provide that clarity and finality. When that happens, voters can concentrate on becoming informed about candidates instead of trying to figure out what they can and cannot do at the polls.

It’s way past time when it comes to keeping voters from dangling on a string.