Voter ID

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

A federal court judge in Winston-Salem is scheduled to hear arguments Friday on whether to throw out parts of three lawsuits that challenge North Carolina’s 2013 election law changes.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder is expected to hear from attorneys on whether he should dismiss portions of the suits that challenge the state’s new requirement for voters to show qualifying photo identification at polling stations.

A picture of a voting sign.
Tom Arthur / Wikipedia

Volunteers hit the streets for National Voter Registration Day Tuesday, asking neighbors if their registration is current.

There are 6.3 million voters registered in North Carolina. Whether they are all registered in the counties they plan to vote in come Election Day is a different story.

Josh Lawson of the State Board of Elections says many voters have shown up at the polls in the past to find they weren't actually registered in the county they planned to vote in.

An image of a person rallying outside a voting rights trial in Winston-Salem
Kimberly Pierce Cartwright / WNCU Public Radio 90.7 FM

The first week of a federal trial challenging North Carolina’s voting regulations is wrapping up in Winston-Salem. The plaintiffs - a group including the U.S. Department of Justice,  the NAACP, and League of Women Voters - aim to prove whether House Bill 589, enacted in 2013 by a Republican-led state legislature discriminated against minority voters.

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

The federal trial challenging North Carolina's new voting regulations continues Tuesday morning in Winston-Salem.

Inside the courtroom yesterday were opening arguments and testimony from seven witnesses. An attorney for the plaintiffs, Penda Hare, called this case a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement, one she says will have a lasting and decisive impact on African American and Latino voters for years to come.

Outside the courthouse was a massive Moral Monday protest and a march through downtown.

Voting sign
Wikipedia

A lawsuit that challenges North Carolina's voting law is on hold after state lawmakers passed more changes to photo ID requirements. 

The delay in the case comes just days after the General Assembly approved a bill that eases some of the restrictions on which identifications are acceptable at the polls.

   

Both sides in the lawsuit asked for more time to figure out how the new rules might affect their cases, but they are racing against the countdown to North Carolina's 2016 primary elections coming up in March.

In the wake of events in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) leads the Congressional Black Caucus at a tumultuous time for race relations in the country.

The congressman told Frank Stasio of WUNC’s The State of Things that he sees racial and socioeconomic tensions across the U.S. “There are Fergusons and Baltimores all across this country. It’s not unique to these communities. It could even be here in North Carolina,” Rep. Butterfield said.

Photo: A voting ballot
Flickr Creative Commons/ Ken Zirkel

Voting rights advocates argued in a Wake County court on Friday that a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification at polling stations is unconstitutional because it will create a barrier to voting, keeping primarily minorities from the ballot.

Flickr user Jeffrey Cohen

More North Carolina voters cast their ballots early this year than did in the last mid-term elections, according to State Board of Elections figures released Sunday. A new election law limited the number of early voting days but increased the total hours.

Roughly 1.1 million people voted by mail or in person at polling stations by the end of early voting on Saturday, up 20 percent from 961,000 in 2010, the board of elections said.

Here are three possible causes for the increased turn-out:
 

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

A federal appeals court has suspended parts of North Carolina’s new voting law, saying it may disproportionately affect black voters. State lawmakers are already asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the decision.

The ruling will allow voters to register on the same day they cast a ballot during early voting, and to vote outside of their assigned precinct.

Early Voting
Leoneda Inge

A  federal appeals Court in Charlotte heard arguments Thursday on whether or not changes to North Carolina's voting law can go into effect before the November election. The changes were passed by the Republican-led General Assembly last year. Critics argue the laws restrict access to voting, particularly among minority groups.

The North Carolina NAACP has argued the changes are a violation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, and of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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