The voter ID provision of North Carolina’s controversial Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA) will be the subject of a hearing in federal court next week. Lawyers for both sides will return to court on October 23 to update U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder on negotiations meant to settle legal challenges to VIVA’s voter ID provision out of court, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. The photo ID requirement is one of the most controversial provisions of VIVA, a comprehensive overhaul of North Carolina voting law signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory on August 12, 2013. In its original form, the ID provision required voters to present one of eight state-approved photo IDs before casting a ballot, starting in 2016. Critics of the law have argued the photo ID requirement unfairly burdens poor, elderly, minority and student voters who are more likely to lack one of the eight approved IDs.
By September 30, 2013, three lawsuits aiming to overturn VIVA had been filed in federal court by the United States Department of Justice, the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs, who claimed the law violated the United States Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. The three lawsuits were combined for trial purposes, with a trial slated to begin July 13, 2015.
On June 18, three weeks before the trial began, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill easing VIVA’s strict photo ID requirement. Under the new legislation, any voter lacking the required ID can sign an affidavit declaring a “reasonable impediment” kept them from obtaining an ID.
Acceptable “impediments” include travel problems, family responsibilities and work schedule conflicts. Voters completing the affidavit would be need to show a voter registration card or provide the final four digits of their Social Security number. They would then be offered a provisional ballot.
Full Article: Voter ID law goes back to court in North Carolina.