Michael Tomsic

Reporter

Michael Tomsic became a full-time reporter for WFAE in August 2012. Before that, he reported for the station as a freelancer and intern while he finished his senior year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s covered everything from a U.S. presidential visit and a shortage of life-saving cancer drugs to a college football scandal and a cutting-edge art exhibit. Michael has interned with Weekends on All Things Considered in Washington, D.C., where he contributed to the show’s cover stories, produced interviews with Nas and Branford Marsalis, and reported a story about a surge of college graduates joining the military. At UNC, he was the managing editor of the student radio newscast, Carolina Connection. He got his start in public radio as an intern with WHQR in Wilmington, N.C., where he grew up.

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The federal trial over North Carolina's sweeping election overhaul wraps up Friday in Winston-Salem. The U.S. Justice Department, the North Carolina NAACP and others have built their case against the state over the past three weeks of trial. 

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North Carolina's attorneys continue their defense of the state's sweeping election overhaul in federal court Thursday morning. On day 12 of the trial Tuesday, they offered expert testimony that the 2013 changes put North Carolina in line with the majority of states. WFAE's Michael Tomsic was in the courtroom in Winston-Salem and joined Marshall Terry to discuss the latest.

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Voter fraud, the DMV and North Carolina's chief justice were all part of the arguments Thursday in the federal trial over the state's election overhaul.  The U.S. Justice Department, the North Carolina NAACP and other plaintiffs are suing the state over the 2013 changes, which included cuts to early voting and the elimination of same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. WFAE's Michael Tomsic was in Winston-Salem for day nine of the trial and discussed it with Marshall Terry.

Michael Tomsic

As the federal trial over North Carolina's election overhaul continues in Winston-Salem this week, one word has come up over and over again: disenfranchised. The U.S. Justice Department, the state NAACP and others contend the changes disenfranchised some African-Americans in 2014.

Lawyers suing North Carolina have called more than a dozen witnesses to testify about how they were deprived of their right to vote.

Reverend Moses Colbert from Cleveland County was one of them. The 60-year-old African-American went to vote early during last year's midterm election.

On day two, the trial over North Carolina's election overhaul touched on the state's long history of racial discrimination and its brief debate over sweeping voting changes. The U.S. Justice Department, the League of Women Voters and others suing North Carolina used a mix of personal stories and expert testimony in Winston-Salem on Tuesday.

One of the major accusations is that state lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities when they passed the changes two years ago. How did that argument play out in court yesterday?

Michael Tomsic / WFAE

The federal trial over North Carolina’s sweeping election overhaul began Monday in Winston-Salem with pointed accusations in court and a massive march right outside it. The U.S. Justice Department, the North Carolina NAACP and others are suing the state. They accuse Republican lawmakers of taking aim at several voting methods that minorities disproportionately relied on.

Kandice Phelps and about 70 other young people rode buses from Salisbury to the march. Phelps is a 17-year-old African-American who plans to be the first from her family to go to college. 

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A federal trial starts in Winston-Salem on Monday morning that will have big implications for voting rights in North Carolina and, potentially, across the country. The U.S. Justice Department and several groups are suing North Carolina over the sweeping election overhaul it passed two years ago. Federal appeals court judges have already indicated that some of the changes likely violate the Voting Rights Act.

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In South Carolina, some state senators are making passionate calls to move the Confederate flag off the Capitol grounds. Senator Vincent Sheheen introduced a bill to do that. On the Senate floor today, he said the debate over the flag shows that racial tensions are still a problem in South Carolina.

"We still have a very serious culture of division within our state. And it's a culture of division that we as leaders have to take stands to change."

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During this Fourth of July week, North Carolina has begun offering a new standard license plate. In addition to First in Flight, drivers can now choose First in Freedom.

The slogan pays tribute to North Carolina's early push as a colony to break from Great Britain.

The man who designed the new plates, Charles Robinson, says this all started for him with a box of cereal when he was 10 years old.  

The Charlotte Motor Speedway and other NASCAR tracks will start asking fans not to display Confederate flags. 

Confederate flags and paraphernalia are common sights at NASCAR races in the South. Fans fly them in the campgrounds and wear them in the stands.

Now, all the NASCAR tracks that host top-flight races are trying to change that. In a statement, they said quote: we are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols.

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