A group of plaintiffs in a voting rights case that rocked North Carolina politics earlier this year filed a further court motion on Saturday to peel back remaining restrictions on early voting times and locations in five counties, a person with knowledge of the move told POLITICO. Filed in the battleground state’s Middle District, the motion seeks to build on wide-reaching victories won by voting rights activists — and cheered by Democrats — earlier this summer when the Fourth Circuit court ruled that the 2013 rules adopted by North Carolina’s Republican-heavy legislature purposely sought to limit the influence of African-American voters there. The suit is led by Marc Elias, the Washington attorney who — in addition to working on high-profile voting rights cases across the country — is Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer.
Voting by mail-in ballot has already begun in North Carolina, where Donald Trump narrowly leads Clinton in most polls, but where the Democrat’s campaign sees an opportunity to all-but-eliminate the Republican’s path to 270 electoral votes. Both candidates regularly visit the state, which is a top tier priority for both of them.
Allies of Clinton, Democratic Senate candidate Deborah Ross and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper — each of whom is within striking distance in their respective races in the traditionally Republican state — have already seen the summer’s developments as major steps forward, even before Saturday’s motion.
Statewide Democrats expect to rely largely on high turnout from African-Americans in addition to college-educated young white voters in the major cities, and they’ve seen the reintroduction of one-stop early voting — in which voters can register and cast a ballot simultaneously — as a considerable advantage, particularly when it comes to African-American voters in rural areas.