Attorneys for the U.S. Justice Department and North Carolina square off Tuesday before the federal appeals court in Virginia. The Justice Department, the League of Women Voters and others are appealing a judge's decision that upheld North Carolina's sweeping election overhaul.
North Carolina's Republican lawmakers cut early voting, eliminated both same-day registration and out of-precinct voting, and created a photo ID requirement. The Justice Department and others say those changes disproportionately impact African-Americans in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
A federal judge in Winston-Salem, Thomas Schroeder, ruled against that argument in April. Tuesday morning, the plaintiffs take their case one step below the U.S. Supreme Court. They'll try to convince a three-judge panel that Schroeder relied too much in his opinion on the voting practices of other states. He said the overhaul put North Carolina in the mainstream. The plaintiffs say that ignores how much African-Americans in North Carolina relied on the voting practices that were taken away.
They also contend Schroeder gave too much weight to one midterm election. His ruling emphasized that African-Americans fared better on registration and turnout in 2014, after the overhaul.
Attorneys for the state say Schroeder's ruling is based on the facts and is consistent with other court opinions. Each side will have 40 minutes to make its case.