It’s been five years since the North Carolina NAACP sued the state over its voter ID law. The trial finally began in federal court on Monday.

From the plaintiffs’ perspective, Senate Bill 824, which requires voters to provide photo ID at the polls, is unlawful in that it purposely disenfranchises Black and Latino voters.

Outside the Middle District federal courthouse in Winston-Salem, attorney Kathleen Roblez claimed it’s clear that this law is not about voter integrity.

"Black and Latino voters are going to have the toughest time with this law," said Roblez. "They disproportionately lack the IDs that are needed. If you look at things like suspended or revoked licenses, there are over a million people in this state with those right now. You cannot use that for voting even though it looks just like you. A Black North Carolinian is four times more likely to have one of those IDs."

During the non-jury trial, attorneys representing GOP supporters of the law argued that it’s among the most permissive in the nation, with free IDs obtainable up to Election Day, and exceptions available for work, family and transportation conflicts. They claimed that more white voters were impacted than Black voters, and argued in court that 99% of all who showed up at the polls were able to cast ballots during the primary.

Costa Rican immigrant and U.S. citizen Denizza Mashburn was not among them. After voting successfully in North Carolina since 1998, she said she was turned away over the new law.

"It was my normal voting location," she said. "My ID had my name, my address that matched the records. The picture clearly looked like me, but it was expired. I had never had issues voting before, so I was shocked that my ID wouldn’t work."

Mashburn claimed she filled out and returned a provisional ballot, was never offered a photo ID exception form, and was later informed that her vote did not count.

Hearings are scheduled for the remainder of this week with U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs presiding.

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