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Voter ID case, more than 5 years old, has a new trial date

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(The Center Square) – More than five years after North Carolina voters affirmed support of presenting photo identification when voting, the fight against it continues in the courtroom of Judge Loretta Biggs.

She said Monday a nonjury trial shall convene in the U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem on May 6, the week before a potential runoff primary for candidates not collecting at least 30% of the votes cast on March 5.

Three weeks are set aside for the trial. Plaintiffs seek relief, saying the law violates the Voting Rights Act because of discrimination against Black and Latino voters. More than 100 kinds of photo ID can be used, even if expired for one year or less.

Republicans gained majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly in the 2010 midterms, ending 12 years of a government trifecta by Democrats. Their 2013 voter ID law was implemented briefly in 2016 before being struck down.

In 2018, more than 3.6 million voters cast their choice on the matter and the measure won 55.5%-44.5%.

Biggs issued a preliminary injunction in 2019, a decision overturned by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2020. Trial dates in 2021 and 2022 were postponed, one of which was while awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision. The nation’s highest court said she was wrong to refuse Republican lawmakers to intervene in the case.

The state Board of Elections has stepped up awareness efforts that next month’s primaries for Democrats and Republicans do require photo ID. One such postcard mailer was sent last week.

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