If a bill to move up the date of North Carolina’s presidential primary wins approval from both houses and the governor this legislative session, North Carolina voters could go to the polls as soon as March 15 in 2016. As that scheduling uncertainty hangs over the state, so does the constitutionality of a voter ID requirement set to go into effect in 2016. On Monday morning, a Wake County judge is scheduled to hold a hearing on whether to dismiss a challenge in state court to the 2013 change in election law that requires voters to show one of seven state-approved forms of photo identification before casting a ballot. Attorneys for state lawmakers and the governor contend that a legislative amendment to the requirement earlier this summer – offering voters without an approved ID the option of using a provisional ballot – made the lawsuit moot. Attorneys for the challengers disagree.
In a court document filed late last week, the challengers contend that the state constitutional questions posed before the lawmakers added the provisional ballot option remain. The so-called “reasonable impediment” amendment, they argue, raises additional legal questions, and if the judge is considering “mootness” as a reason for dismissal, the challengers are seeking a temporary halt on the court proceedings to give them time to amend their lawsuit and view the practical effects of the ID rule in the N.C. presidential primary.
The proceedings scheduled for Monday in front of Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan are part of a lawsuit filed in 2013 by the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute and five women voters.
They argue that lawmakers overstepped the bounds of the state constitution when they added the ID requirement.