An expert testified today that voters would have encountered drastically longer lines in 2012 had many of the provisions of North Carolina’s controversial election law been in effect. Theodore Allen, a professor of integrated systems engineering at Ohio State University, testified this morning in a federal trial in which plaintiffs — including the N.C. NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice — are challenging North Carolina’s Voter Information Verification Act. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the legislation into law in August 2013. The plaintiffs are suing the state and McCrory. The law eliminated seven days of early voting, got rid of same-day voter registration and prohibited out-of-precinct provisional voting, among other changes. The law also required registered voters to have one out of eight qualifying photo IDs by 2016, though state legislators passed an amendment easing the restriction last month. The photo ID is not a part of the federal trial.
About 900,000 people cast ballots during the first seven days of early voting in 2012 — in effect, the seven days that state Republican legislators eliminated as part of the new election law. Allen said that if that provision had been in place in 2012, some of those 900,000 would have tried to vote on Election Day, resulting in longer lines. Some may have not voted at all, he said.
But if a portion of the 900,000 people did try to vote on Election Day, the waiting times at many precincts would have increased to as much as 27 minutes, he said. That would have likely deterred other voters from casting ballots, Allen testified.