“In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees,” the Fourth Circuit panel said of the district court ruling that upheld the law passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. “This failure of perspective led the court to ignore critical facts bearing on legislative intent, including the inextricable link between race and politics in North Carolina.”

The appeals court added later, “Faced with this record, we can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”

In addition to an identification requirement, the law also abolished same-day voter registration and ended preregistration, which had permitted some teenagers to sign up for the voting rolls before they turned 18.