Supreme Court allows tough North Carolina voting law to go into effect
A view of the U.S. Supreme Court seen from the top of the U.S. Capitol dome (AFP)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed new voting restrictions in North Carolina to go into effect.

The court, with two of the nine justices dissenting, granted a last-minute request by state officials seeking to block an appeals court ruling that suspended parts of a new state voting law.

The state objected to the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' conclusion that same-day registration should be restored and provisional voting reinstated for voters casting ballots outside their normal precincts.

The high court's action means the appeals court's decision will not go into effect and the two provisions will not be available to voters in the Nov. 4 elections.

The high court's order did not indicate how many justices voted to grant the stay. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

In her dissent, Ginsburg noted that North Carolina enacted the new law after the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision issued in June 2013, struck down a key part of the federal Voting Rights Act, which was aimed at protecting minority voting rights.

She wrote that North Carolina's "heavy reliance" in its court filings on high African-American turnout in the 2014 primary elections was of limited significance, in part because one of the three open congressional seats is a majority-nonwhite district.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Walsh)