Plaintiffs in a trio of suits challenging a voter law passed last year are contending that the governor’s office and the state Board of Elections have failed to turn over documents pertinent to their cases. Attorneys will gather in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem Friday for a hearing to determine whether the defendants should produce the materials. A federal judge will also hear arguments about whether subpoenas seeking documents from 13 legislators should be quashed. The documents in question relate to “the consideration and implementation” as well as “the costs and other impacts” of the Voter Identification Verification Act (VIVA). The act, signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in August, requires that voters show a government-issued photo ID at the polls beginning in 2016.
It also shortens the early voting period from 17 days to 10 days, and eliminates the counting of provisional ballots cast by those who voted in the wrong districts. Defenders of the law say it will help prevent voter fraud.
A group of individuals, churches and civil rights groups filed a pair of suits right after the law passed, contending the new provisions would disproportionately hurt black voters.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed its own suit in September.