RALEIGH, NC (AP/WECT) - North Carolina's new Democratic governor and attorney general say they are ending state efforts to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to revive a GOP-backed voter ID law that was struck down by a lower court, but Republican lawmakers say they will continue pushing for the high court's review.
Former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last year asked the Supreme Court to review an appeals court ruling that the elections law was unconstitutional because it targeted minority voters with "almost surgical precision" to discourage Democratic support and protect Republican dominance.
Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein said Tuesday they're withdrawing the petition for a high court review.
"We need to make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote, not harder, and I will not continue to waste time and money appealing this unconstitutional law," Governor Cooper said in a statement from his office. "It's time for North Carolina to stop fighting for this unfair, unconstitutional law and work instead to improve equal access for voters."
"The right to vote is our most fundamental right," Stein said in an email news release from his office. "Voting is how people hold their government accountable. I support efforts to guarantee fair and honest elections, but those efforts should not be used as an excuse to make it harder for people to vote."
Republican legislative leaders said their attorneys would continue to push for it. The state elections board also could opt to continue.
"Roy Cooper's and Josh Stein's desperate and politically-motivated stunt to derail North Carolina's voter ID law is not only illegal, it also raises serious questions about whether they've allowed their own personal and political prejudices and conflicts of interest to cloud their professional judgment," said a joint statement released by Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland). "We expect the courts to reject this unethical stunt just as they did when Cooper tried the same trick in the 'Choose Life' license tag case."