The North Carolina legislative leaders who led the crafting of the state’s new voter ID law will have to turn over some of their correspondence and email messages to voters and organizations challenging the wide-ranging amendments, according to a federal court ruling. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake issued a ruling on Thursday that addresses an attempt by lawmakers to quash subpoenas seeking email, correspondence and other documents exchanged while transforming the state’s voting process. In a court hearing earlier this year, attorneys for 13 Republican legislators tried to turn back efforts to get the correspondence released.
The NAACP, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Justice Department and others sued the governor, state legislators and N.C. election board members to obtain the records.
Among the 13 lawmakers were: Sen. Phil Berger, leader of the state Senate; House Speaker Thom Tillis; Sen. Bob Rucho, a Republican from Matthews; and Republican Reps. Ruth Samuelson of Charlotte, Larry Pittman of Concord and David Lewis of Dunn.
Their attorneys contended that the lawmakers were protected by legislative immunity and should be free from “arrest or civil process” related to their actions as General Assembly members.