A lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s voter identification requirement should be allowed to continue even after the legislature added exceptions this summer easing the mandate that goes into effect next year, lawyers fighting the law told a state judge Monday. But a state attorney said the changes made to the 2013 law have addressed the accusations made in the litigation, giving registered voters who lack a qualifying photo ID a way to cast ballots in person anyway. “There is no question that the General Assembly in what they enacted answered the questions of unconstitutionality that the plaintiffs have raised,” Special Deputy Attorney General Alec Peters told Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan in a Raleigh courtroom. Peters said the lawsuit is moot and should be dismissed.
Morgan didn’t rule immediately on the state’s request, nor on motions by the voting rights groups and voters challenging the law. They want to delay the voter ID implementation until after the presidential primary election, likely in March. Otherwise, the photo ID requirement begins in early 2016. Morgan said he would issue his rulings in about three weeks.
The amendment signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in June allows those who suffered a “reasonable impediment” to getting a qualified ID — such as illness or the lack of transportation or a birth certificate — to fill out a form at the voting site. Their vote would count if they provided other identification, along with the last four digits on their Social Security number and their birthdate.