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article imageLawyers clash over electronic documents in NC voter ID lawsuit Special

By Kelly Fetty     Feb 25, 2014 in Politics
Winston Salem - Lawyers representing the state of North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory and other defendants were accused of holding back crucial electronic documents in a hearing last Friday as lawsuits seeking to overturn North Carolina's new voting law move forward.
Plaintiffs' attorney Bridget O'Connor demanded "real deadlines and consequences for not meeting them," in a hearing before Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake on Friday, February 21.
The plaintiffs in three lawsuits are seeking emails and other electronic documents produced by state employees documenting the creation and implementation of the North Carolina's controversial Voter Identification Verification Law (VIVA).
Several parts of the new law, such as a reduction in the number of early voting days and the end of same-day voter registration, are set to go into effect before the November 2014 election.
Plaintiffs' attorneys say they need the documents in order to file a temporary injunction to stop VIVA from going into effect.
Defense lawyers say the plaintiffs are requesting an unreasonable number of documents and state workers can't keep up with their demands.
Defense attorney Phillip J. Strach said the plaintiffs were requesting documents from four government agencies: Governor McCrory's office, the Department of Transportation, the State Board of Elections and the General Assembly.
"This is not a suit against a private company that can drop what it is doing, " he said. "What would happen to the state's business?"
He said the search terms requested by the plaintiffs were returning hundreds of thousands of hits.
Judge Peake told the defense to bring IT personnel to future meetings with the plaintiffs to help resolve the issue.
Repeal vs Implementation
Defense lawyers also objected to the plaintiffs' requests for documents dealing with the implementation of VIVA.
Apart from requiring voters to show a state-approved ID at the polls, they said, most of the changes mandated by VIVA came from repealing existing state laws.
Repealing is not the same as implementing, Strach said.
Plaintiffs' attorney Allison Riggs disagreed. She said 35 counties had asked for waivers to avoid changes to early voting.
Judge Peake granted the plaintiffs' motion to compel the documents.
More about North Carolina VIVA, Voting rights, NC Governor Pat McCrory, League of Wom, Naacp
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