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Sanford Prof Has Role in Voter ID Case

May 15, 2017

Sanford Professor Charles Clotfelter’s expertise in North Carolina education played a role in today’s U.S. Supreme Court action on the state’s voter ID law. When the case was initially heard by the U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem last summer, his testimony lasted for more than an hour.

Clotfelter’s testimony drew on his expertise in public education. As an expert witness for the U.S. Justice Department, he had testified about the state’s history of “open and significant” discrimination in public education for blacks and whites, and about racial gaps in educational attainment and achievement. He said the Justice Department sought his testimony to show that there might be links between voting and educational attainment.

Clotfelter is the author of the book, “After Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation.”

The district court decision was appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found the voter-ID law -- that included a strict voter-ID requirement and restrictions on early voting and same-day registration -- had been enacted “with racially discriminatory intent" and purposefully restricted ballot access for minority voters.

The high court today refused to hear Republican state officials’ appeal of the Appeals Court ruling, which had overturned the voter ID law in North Carolina.