An emergency motion was filed Saturday asking a federal judge to require the NC State Board of Elections to comply with a previous decision addressing early voting in North Carolina. The motion filed in US District Court on behalf of a group called ‘The Duke Intervenor Plaintiffs’ seeks to get the board to modify the early voting plans of Nash, New Hanover, Mecklenburg, Guilford and Forsyth counties.
According to the motion, the board recently approved early voting plans that the plaintiffs think run counter to the decision by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Also, the motion says if the court finds it necessary to issue an order of contempt, the plaintiffs would move for an order to show why the board shouldn’t be held in civil contempt for violating the court’s order.
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Among those attorneys listed in the motion is Marc Elias, who is also general campaign counsel for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, but who is not filing the motion on behalf of the campaign.
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina GOP, said in a statement that the Clinton campaign “stuck a finger in the eye of the people of North Carolina by seeking to overturn bipartisan compromises passed by local and state election board members in regards to North Carolina’s already extremely accessible early voting plans.”
After the appeals court this summer found Republican legislators acted with discriminatory intent against black voters in an effort to depress Democratic turnout with a 2013 law, board members had to approve new proposals for early voting dates, hours and locations in a third of the state’s 100 counties.
Early in-person voting is very popular in North Carolina, used by more than half of the people casting ballots in the 2012 presidential election, when it covered 17 days. Its use could make a crucial difference on Nov. 8.
County boards of elections had already approved 10-day plans for early voting sites and hours of operation. They had until late August to give the State Board of Elections revised plans based on a schedule beginning Oct. 20 instead of October 27. The motion asks for the motion to be resolved ‘as expeditiously as possible.’ They ask for a ruling by October 7.
Local boards in 66 of the state’s 100 counties approved their updated plans, according to data provided by the State Board of Elections. Those plans are now essentially finalized.
But 24 counties provided two plans _ one approved by a majority on each three-member board and the other backed by a single member. Those counties include several of the state’s largest: Mecklenburg, Wake, New Hanover, Pitt and Union. In addition, the Orange County board offered four plans.