Parties who are a gulf apart over what laws should be in place to ensure fair and open elections are just as widely divided about how quickly a lawsuit challenging new voter laws should be heard in federal court. On Thursday, attorneys for the NAACP, League of Women Voters, the ACLU of North Carolina and other voter rights advocates will gather in a federal courtroom in Winston-Salem to talk about one early point of contention – whether the trial will happen before or after the 2014 elections. Attorneys representing Gov. Pat McCrory, the N.C. Board of Elections and other state officials have laid out a proposed schedule in a report to the federal court, suggesting that a two- to three-week trial could be held no sooner than the summer of 2015.
But the organizations challenging the extensive changes to North Carolina’s voting rules signed into law by McCrory this summer want their arguments heard much sooner. They are pushing for trial before the midterm elections on Nov. 4, 2014.
The League of Women Voters suggests a trial in mid-August, arguing that such a timetable would give counties the needed time to reinstate early voting and same-day registration by Election Day if the court agreed.
The state NAACP has asked for an even earlier trial – no later than June.