WASHINGTON -- A trial on North Carolina's new voting restrictions won't take place until after the 2014 elections, a federal judge said Thursday. But voting rights supporters challenging the law may argue this summer that parts of the measure should be delayed until a court decides whether they are discriminatory, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Peake ruled.
The Republican-backed law, considered the most restrictive in the U.S., was signed into law in August following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed North Carolina and other southern states to change voting laws without federal clearance. Several voting rights organizations sued to stop the law from going into effect shortly after it was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R).
The Justice Department is also challenging the law, arguing that North Carolina Republicans intentionally discriminated against black voters by eliminating a week of early voting, restricting individuals from registering to vote on the day that they cast their ballots, stopping counties from counting certain provisional ballots and requiring voters to present specific forms of photo identification at polls.
Some of the groups challenging the law, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, wanted judicial review before the 2014 elections. North Carolina sought to delay the trial until 2015.
"We will continue to vigorously push for voters to have a chance to participate in next year's elections without having to encounter the unnecessary hardships imposed by this law," Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement.