In new court filings, the N.C. NAACP and others said North Carolina’s photo ID requirement is still discriminatory, despite an amendment passed this summer that eased the restrictions. The filings come about two weeks after U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against North Carolina’s voter-identificiation requirement. Schroeder had ordered plaintiffs to file an amended claim in the case by Nov. 6. State Republican legislators passed a sweeping elections law, known as the Voter Information Verification Act, in 2013. The law did a number of things, including reducing early voting days from 17 to 10 days, eliminating same-day voter registration and getting rid of out-of-precinct provisional voting. The law also required voters to show photo ID in 2016. Just three weeks before a trial in federal court this summer, state Republican legislators passed an amendment that allows voters without a photo ID to sign an affidavit outlining “reasonable impediments” to them getting a photo ID. If the affidavit is accepted, voters would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.
Because of the amendment, Schroeder decided to exclude the photo ID requirement from the July trial and continue the matter to a later date. State attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the legal claim against the photo ID, saying that the amendment made the case moot. Schroeder disagreed after an Oct. 23 hearing.
In the new filings, plaintiffs argue that state elections officials have done little to publicize the amended photo ID requirement. Blacks are disproportionately more likely not to have a photo ID, they said. They also argue that the history of racial discrimination in North Carolina has resulted in lower literacy and English proficiency rates for blacks and Hispanics. Plaintiffs argue that blacks and Hispanics will have more difficulty in filling out a “reasonable impediment” declaration.