North Carolina’s upcoming photo identification requirement to vote received a full day in court Friday but no decision from a judge on whether the mandate is lawful to begin in 2016 or unconstitutionally harms the poor or older adults who lack IDs. Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan didn’t immediately rule on motions by each side that would essentially declare a winner, and said it may take him up to three weeks to do so. A summer trial is scheduled unless Morgan strikes down the requirement as unconstitutional or rejects all the claims of those who sued. Attorneys representing state officials sat at one table in a Wake County courtroom while lawyers for some voters and two advocacy groups sat at another making oral arguments on top of written briefs already filed since the August 2013 lawsuit. The litigation is one of four complaints filed soon after Gov. Pat McCrory signed an elections overhaul law that contained several voting changes. In additional to photo ID, the law reduced the number of early-voting period days by one week, repealed same-day registration and prohibited voting outside one’s home precinct on Election Day.
Three of the four lawsuits are in federal court and address several voting changes. A summer trial is also expected on the three lawsuits combined.
The state lawsuit targets alone photo ID, in which registered voters who choose to vote in person will have to show one of six types of qualified identification cards. Older adults can use expired IDs, and those without them can apply for a free ID card from the Division of Motor Vehicles.