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The Republican leaders of North Carolina’s state legislature vowed to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a joint statement they argued the decision ignored legal precedent.

“We can only wonder if the intent is to reopen the door for voter fraud, potentially allowing fellow Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton and (state Attorney General) Roy Cooper to steal the election,” said the statement from state lawmakers Phil Berger and Tim Moore.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican who is up for re-election in November, also said the state would appeal the ruling and “review other potential options.”

The chances of any appeal being heard before the election appeared slim. The state’s board of elections said the law’s voting rules would not be in effect in November, “absent alternative guidance from the courts.”

Voting rights advocates heralded the court’s decision as a major victory.

“This ruling is a stinging rebuke of the state’s attempt to undermine African-American voter participation, which had surged over the last decade,” Dale Ho, director of the Voting Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

Also on Friday, a federal judge ruled that parts of Wisconsin's voter ID law passed by the Republican-led legislature were unconstitutional. The judge ordered the state to revamp its voter ID rules, finding that they disenfranchised minority voters.

North Carolina’s legislature passed the voting law weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 in June 2013 to eliminate a requirement that states with a history of discrimination, including North Carolina, receive federal approval before changing election laws.

A campaign spokesman for Cooper said on Friday that the attorney general had “urged the Governor to veto this legislation before he signed it because he knew it would be bad for North Carolina.”

A Reuters review of the law indicated that as many as 29,000 voters might not have been counted in this November’s election if the bans on same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting had remained in effect.


(Additional reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Editing by Frances Kerry)


Read the court’s full ruling below:

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