The Latest: Trial over on North Carolina voter ID lawsuits

AP News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2016 4:43 PM

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — The latest on a federal trial over North Carolina's law requiring voters to provide a picture ID to cast a ballot. (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

A federal judge is now weighing evidence and arguments over the legality of North Carolina's photo identification requirement for voters at the polls.

Attorneys for the state, who defended the law, and lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice and state NAACP, which challenged it, made closing statements Monday as the six-day trial ended in Winston-Salem.

Attorney Penda Hair, representing the NAACP, told Judge Thomas Schroeder that an amendment to the voter ID law allowing more people to vote without a qualifying ID doesn't eliminate the law's additional burden on black and Latino citizens.

But state's attorney Thomas Farr said plaintiffs have offered no hard evidence that any registered voter will be stopped from casting a ballot.

A ruling is at least several weeks away. The law is supposed to take effect in time for the March 15 primary.

9:50 a.m.

Closing arguments are expected in the federal trial on North Carolina's requirement that voters provide a picture ID to cast a ballot.

The trial is expected to conclude Monday, but the judge isn't expected to rule immediately. The trial began Jan. 25 in Winston-Salem as the U.S. Justice Department and the North Carolina NAACP challenged the requirement approved by North Carolina lawmakers.

The Justice Department and the civil rights group say the law discriminates against minority voters, who are less likely to have photo IDs.

Attorneys for the state disagree.

Much of the discussion in the trial as focused on whether voter fraud exists in North Carolina. That was one of the arguments lawmakers used in including the photo ID requirement.