Challenges to North Carolina’s new voter regulations that limit early voting and require voters to show photo identification at the polls will not go to trial until after the 2014 mid-term elections, a federal judge ruled on Thursday. The groups protesting the state’s new law will have a chance, however, to argue for some of its provisions to be blocked before the full case is heard, Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake said at a hearing in Winston-Salem. The law’s opponents had sought a quicker resolution to the legal battle. A trial ahead of next November’s elections would help prevent “irreparable loss” for some voters, said an attorney for the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “It’s going to determine whether people actually have the right to vote,” said NAACP lawyer Daniel Donovan. “The clock is ticking.”
Despite being on opposite sides of the case, attorneys for both the state and federal government asked for the trial to be held in 2015, saying the complex and data-intensive nature of the case required more time to prepare.
The state takes seriously any potential infringement of voting rights but also the right for laws passed by elected leaders to be put into effect, said Senior Deputy Attorney General Alexander Peters.