Attorneys behind the lawsuit that struck down a sweeping North Carolina election reform measure filed an emergency motion on Saturday to extend early voting hours in five key counties. The new motion, filed by Marc Elias, the top lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, seeks to extend early voting hours in Nash, New Hanover, Mecklenburg, Guilford and Forsyth counties. President Obama won four of those five counties in 2012. The motion comes after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that a 2013 state election reform law disproportionately impacted low-income and minority voters. The three-judge panel that struck down the law said it had been enacted by the legislature with intent to discriminate against voters who typically back Democrats.
In an email, Elias said the state’s election officials are still erecting barriers to voting access. “It’s unfortunate that even after losing in court before, North Carolina continues to find ways to make voting more difficult,” Elias said. “That is why we brought this emergency motion.”
Each county in North Carolina sets its own plan for early voting hours and locations, subject to approval by a state board. The governor’s party controls two of three seats on each county’s board of elections, so Republicans controlled early vote decisions in all five counties this year.