A trial continues this week as voter rights attorneys try to strike down a North Carolina law that requires voters to present identification when casting ballots.
The trial, which began April 12, raises questions about whether N.C. Senate Bill 824 – passed in 2018 when the General Assembly overturned Gov. Roy Cooper's veto – intentionally discriminates against Black voters.
The photo ID law did not apply in the March primaries or November general election due to state and federal judges blocking the law's implementation.
Plaintiffs argue that the law causes an undue burden to the right to vote and disproportionately affects Black voters who may have difficulty obtaining the accepted identification.
“There’s a history of voter suppression in North Carolina that has been around for a very long time,” Mitchell Brown, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice involved with the case, said. “This is history that we can’t forget.”
The law came after a majority of North Carolina voters endorsed a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2018, requiring photo ID.
Jabari Holmes, one of the lead plaintiffs of the case, is a 42-year-old, bi-racial man with severe cerebral palsy that has confined him to a wheelchair.
Holmes was unsuccessful in obtaining a copy of his Social Security card before the 2016 election. He wouldn't have been able to get an ID from the Wake County Board of Elections because there’s no handicapped parking near its office, which is 30 minutes from his home.
Holmes had to cast a reasonable impediment professional ballot in March 2016 since he lacked an acceptable photo ID.