CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It's business as usual at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, but Director Michael Dickerson said a judge's recent ruling to deny a preliminary injunction to block a new voting law from being applied for the general election in November means his staff can more forward with more clarity.
“We were moving forward with the law that passed we have to do that, moving forward full force now because we know the judge has denied the stay so we can continue on for what we are going with for November,” Dickerson said.
Under the new law:
- early voting is reduced from 17 days to 10 although the total number of hours will be the same as the before. There will also be more voting sites and longer hours.
- no straight party voting
- no same-day registration
- changes the process casting absentee and out of precinct ballots
- starting in 2016, you will need a photo ID to vote.
They are changes that attorneys fighting the GOP-backed voting law they said disenfranchises minority voters.
The NAACP said in 2012, 70 percent of African-Americans used early voting and made up 41 percent of voters who used same-day registration.
During a preliminary ruling Friday, a federal judge denied a request to block the new law for the November election saying challengers didn't show that the new law will cause irreparable harm. The judge also denied the state's motion to dismiss the case, so it will head to trial next July.
During a conference call Monday, attorney Daniel Donovan said the full trial will allow the plaintiffs to present extensive evidence he believes will put a stop to the new law.
“In addition to presenting evidence on how North Carolina's voting law really results in less opportunity for African-Americans to vote, we're also going to present evidence showing what the General Assembly knew and what they intended,” Donovan said.
In the meantime, attorneys said they will spend the next few days deciding whether to appeal this latest ruling. The NAACP has mass mobilization events underway right now to get minority voters registered and to the polls.
The judge also denied a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to have federal observers during this year's election.