North Carolina’s photo ID requirement will go on trial late this month in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, a federal judge said in court papers filed Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder signed an order modifying the deadlines for discovery in the case so a trial on the photo ID requirement can begin Jan. 25. The N.C. NAACP, the U.S. Department of Justice and others sued North Carolina in 2013 after state Republican legislators passed a sweeping elections law known as the Voter Information Verification Act. The law eliminated same-day voter registration, reduced the days of early voting from 17 to 10 and prohibited county elections officials from counting ballots that were cast in the wrong precinct but right county. The law also included a photo ID requirement.
The N.C. NAACP has also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to keep the photo ID requirement from taking effect during the March primaries. Victoria Wenger, a spokeswoman for some of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said in an email Schroeder has not indicated whether he will hold a hearing on the preliminary injunction. She said that the trial is tentatively scheduled to last four days.
The N.C. NAACP and others have argued that the photo ID requirement as well as the entire new elections law places undue burdens on black and Hispanic voters. A three-week trial was held in July on the other provisions of the state’s election law. Plaintiffs argued then that state Republican legislators had discriminatory intent when they passed the law.