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In this Oct. 20, 2016 file photo, voters line up during early voting at Chavis Community Center in Raleigh, N.C.  (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Thousands of voter registrations in North Carolina were wiped. A judge wants them back.


A federal judge ordered three North Carolina Counties must restore thousands of voter registrations that were canceled leading up to the election.

The NAACP alleged Cumberland, Beaufort and Moore counties' purges disproportionately targeted black voters.

Today is the last day for early voting in the swing state.

Voter enfranchisement cannot be sacrificed when citizens through no fault of their own have been removed from the voter rolls.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs

The voters' names were removed through challenges filed by activists like the Voter Integrity Project. But a federal law prevents mass removals of names from voter registration lists within 90 days of an election.  

U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs said the system was "insane."

Accusations of racially charged voter ID laws have been a hot topic in North Carolina this year. Earlier this year, the court found such a law racist, but Republicans in the state fought to save it.

In this case, Josh Lawson, attorney for the state board of elections, said the state has not yet decided whether or not it will appeal the court decision and may do so after the election.

Under North Carolina law, any voter can challenge another county resident's registration.

Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina Executive Director Jay DeLancy said late Friday he wasn't surprised by the ruling. He said the group wanted to draw attention to lists of registered voters that were bloated with people who didn't live there anymore, which he argued increased the risk of voter fraud.

Voter fraud has been a major concern in this election cycle, largely among Republicans. But the only documented case of in-person voter fraud this year was a Trump supporter.

But even Green Party candidate Jill Stein insists voter suppression is underway.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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