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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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Two parts of North Carolina's sweeping election overhaul are now back on hold. But the change likely doesn't mean much because there are no elections between now and the full trial on the overhaul.

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A group that's challenging North Carolina's voting overhaul in federal court will take a different argument to state court Friday. The League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs are asking a judge in Raleigh to toss out a photo ID requirement that starts next year.

Alberta Currie has turned out for election after election in North Carolina since the 1950s. But she doesn't have a photo ID and worries she doesn't have the right documents to get one.

Tillis Wins, Meck Sales Tax Hike Loses Big

Nov 4, 2014
Tom Bullock / WFAE

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The State Board of Elections says it may order a recount of the Supreme Court race between Cheri Beasley and Mike Robinson. The margin between Beasley and Robinson is just over 5,000 votes. State law allows for an automatic right to a recount in statewide races when the margin is under 0.5 percent or 10,000 votes, whichever is lower. Robinson will have to submit a written demand to the State Board before noon on November 18 if he wants a recount. 

N.C. Board of Elections.

Early voting turnout increased about 40 percent in Mecklenburg County compared to the last midterm election, according to the county board of elections. That's despite seven fewer days of early voting as a result of the state's sweeping election overhaul.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Senator Kay Hagan on Saturday in Charlotte on Hagan's "early voting tour."

About 2,000 people showed up to hear Clinton speak at the Charlotte Convention Center. Clinton urged women to vote and said there need to be more women like Senator Kay Hagan in Washington.

Twelfth Congressional District Candidate Alma Adams of Greensboro was the warm-up act. She said Republican extremists have taken over the state legislature. She called state House Speaker Thom Tillis an "Uncle Tom." 

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that North Carolina can move forward with voting restrictions this November. The court is effectively nullifying an appeals court ruling last week that said parts of North Carolina's election overhaul would cause African-Americans irreparable harm this November. It's the latest step – but not the last – in lawsuits against the overhaul Republicans passed last year.

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Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department will be back in a federal courtroom in Winston-Salem this morning to continue making their case that North Carolina's sweeping election overhaul is discriminatory. The hearings that began Monday morning have included personal stories of voting challenges, allegations of voter fraud, and even a 25-minute math exercise. WFAE's Michael Tomsic has been in Winston-Salem covering the hearings.

The U.S. Justice Department is arguing before a federal judge in Winston-Salem this week that North Carolina's sweeping election overhaul will deny or curtail African-Americans' right to vote. The Justice Department and civil rights groups are asking the judge to put the changes on hold.

Reverend Milton Williams was among dozens of people stuck in line outside the courthouse, unable to get into the packed hearing.

With the start of early voting for the May primary election, many counties are expanding their voting locations and times to adjust to the new requirements under the 2013 VIVA Law, or the Voter Information Verification Act.

As recently reported, Mecklenburg County will offer more than six times as many early voting hours as it did in the 2010 primary election. But as a result of the VIVA Law, those hours will come during fewer days. 

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