A federal judge refused to dismiss challenges to North Carolina’s Voter ID law during a court hearing on Friday, and set a new tentative hearing for Jan. 16.
The N.C. General Assembly passed the law two years ago, requiring voters to have photo ID when voting in-person. It would go into effect in 2016, possibly influencing the upcoming presidential primaries.
After the law passed, the North Carolina NAACP and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed claims that it would disproportionately affect African-American and Latino voters in the state.
In response to these challenges, the state offered reasonable impediment exceptions that exempt voters from having to show photo IDs. These exceptions include instances of stolen ID or lack of transportation.
The trial focused on whether these exemptions rendered the challenges moot.
“The court agreed with us that there are still issues and that we should have an opportunity to present those in court,” said Irving Joyner, a member of the legal council for the N.C. NAACP and a law professor at N.C. Central University.
Denise Lieberman, senior attorney with the Advancement Project and part of the litigation team challenging the photo ID trial, said those groups disproportionally impacted — including the elderly — face more challenges in paying for, or presenting supporting documents to receive photo IDs.
“The reasonable impediments exceptions addressed some of those issues but not all of them,” Joyner said.
He said the law had too many problems to fix.