N Carolina photo ID, voting law challenges return to court


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Long-running legal challenges over photo identification and other voting changes in North Carolina are returning to federal court.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled oral arguments Tuesday in Richmond, Virginia. The hearing comes two months since a lower court upheld the photo ID mandate, restrictions on early voting and ending the practice of counting out-of-precinct ballots on Election Day.

The changes were initially approved in 2013 by Republicans at the General Assembly. U.S. Justice Department attorneys, the state NAACP and other groups and voters sued to block the laws, saying they were passed with racially discriminatory intent.

The 4th Circuit agreed to an expedited review. A lot is riding of a final outcome that could occur before the November presidential and gubernatorial election.

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