On Friday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections announced that voters will be required to show valid identification in order to vote in the 2023 municipal elections.

The North Carolina Supreme Court released its groundbreaking 5-2 decision on the state’s voter ID court case, Holmes v. Moore, earlier on Friday.

“State Board of Elections staff will start working immediately to put the necessary processes in place to ensure a smooth rollout of the voter photo identification requirement in 2023 elections, as required by the court order,” said Patrick Gannon, a spokesperson for the board.

“This includes informing voters about the change and the acceptable forms of identification for voting, ensuring any voter without an ID can get one, training the county boards on its implementation, updating forms and envelopes for absentee voting, creating and printing new signage for polling places and many other efforts.”

In the case of Holmes v. Moore, the state’s highest court overturned a previous ruling by the outgoing Supreme Court, which at the time consisted of a lame-duck 4-3 Democratic majority. The previous ruling had affirmed the decision of a lower court to invalidate a 2018 voter identification law, citing racial discrimination as the reason for its dismissal.

Holmes v. Moore was a debate over “whether the trial court’s order finding that a law imposing a photo identification requirement for voters violates the equal protection guarantee of Art. I, section 19 of the North Carolina Constitution was supported by evidence in the record and properly applied governing legal standards,” according to the N.C. Judicial Branch website.

Richard Dietz takes his oath of office from Paul Newby
Chief Justice Paul Newby administers the oath of office in January to newly elected N.C. Supreme Court Justice Richard Dietz. Kelley Dietz holds the Bible during the ceremony.

In the 2018 general election, North Carolina voters voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to require showing valid identification at the ballot box by a wide margin for Tar Heel state standards — 55% in favor, to 45% against.

The vote outcome happened in spite of at least one key Democratic-aligned group spending more than $7.7 million against voter ID and the other 2018 ballot amendments.

The General Assembly enacted the voter ID law, originally Senate Bill 824, a few weeks after North Carolina voters approved adding an ID requirement to the state constitution.

“Nearly five years after the voters of this state overwhelmingly voted in favor of photo ID at the polls, it has finally become the law of the land,” said House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland. “We will fulfill our constitutional duty to redraw state house, senate, and congressional maps.”

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, released a statement expressing similar sentiment over the decision.

“For years, plaintiffs and activist courts have manipulated our Constitution to achieve policy outcomes that could not be won at the ballot box,” Berger said. “Today’s rulings affirm that our Constitution cannot be exploited to fit the political whims of left-wing Democrats.” 

North Carolina’s top two elected Democrats — Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein — did not release a statement on the Holmes v. Moore voter ID decision but released statements on another court decision.

In a trio of rulings, the N.C. Supreme Court restored the state’s voter ID law, took state courts out of partisan gerrymandering disputes, and ended voting for felons who have not completed their sentences.

Moore agreed with all three of the Court’s decisions.

“The decisions handed down today by the NC Supreme Court have ensured that our constitution and the will of the people of North Carolina are honored.”