A Wake County judge will have to decide whether changes enacted this summer to soften North Carolina’s voter ID requirement should end a lawsuit that claims the state’s voting law violates the state constitution. Lawyers for the state and plaintiffs in the case, which include the League of Women Voters, squared off before Judge Michael Morgan Monday morning in Wake County Superior Court. “The statute the plaintiffs are challenging is no longer the statute that is on the books,” said Alec Peters, a special deputy attorney general in the North Carolina Attorney General’s office.
Pointing to a loophole lawmakers created this summer for those who don’t have photo identification, Peters said, “There can be no doubt it has been substantially amended in a way that has a direct impact on the plaintiffs’ claims.” He argued that, if the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs wanted to continue the case, they should have to file a new lawsuit.
But lawyers for the plaintiffs said the adjustments made in June don’t address their concerns and that they would be making the same arguments about the now-amended law they’ve been making all along. “The amended law is not a repeal of the photo ID requirement,” said Anita Earls, a lawyer and executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.