On day two of the federal trial over North Carolina’s 2018 voter ID law, plaintiffs called four witnesses to the stand. At the Middle District courthouse in downtown Winston-Salem, each highlighted what they perceive to be the negative impacts of the law.

Among the witnesses was Guilford County voter Danell Burney. She’s a librarian at The Academy at Lincoln. Burney described a tense racial climate ahead of the 2020 elections: loud pickup trucks with Confederate flags driving through her Black neighborhood in Greensboro; an aggressive poll watcher staring people down face-to-face as they waited in line to vote. 

Kinston native Courtney Patterson chairs the Lenoir County Board of Elections. He testified that low poll worker pay — roughly $10 an hour — and lack of sufficient voter ID training resources are a recipe for disenfranchisement.

Keith Rivers of Pasquotank County also appeared on the stand. He’s an adjunct professor at Elizabeth City State University. He accompanied his 88-year-old mother to vote curbside in this year’s primary election. Rivers testified that she lost her ID and was told to fill out a registration form. An hour later, after calls to disability rights and the voter hotline, and a return the next day with a new ID card, the situation was eventually resolved. But not without a cost, says Rivers.

"The length of time in that process can become disheartening to a senior," he says. "You have to think of how many seniors do not have transportation. That’s two trips to go vote. In Elizabeth City, which is inside of Pasquotank County, 22% of the seniors do not have vehicles."

Former state Senator Teresa Van Duyn was the last witness called. The Raleigh Democrat argued that North Carolina’s voter ID law was rammed through the General Assembly too quickly without enough time for proper vetting. 

Meanwhile, attorneys for the North Carolina Department of Justice argued in court that voter ID information is readily available on the State Board of Elections website. All county boards can issue a voter ID to registered voters at no cost. To do so, the voter must provide their name, date of birth, and the last four digits of their Social Security number. A photo is also required. 

The trial continues Wednesday.

300x250 Ad

300x250 Ad

Support quality journalism, like the story above, with your gift right now.