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US Justice Department Looking To Settle ID Piece Of Voting Lawsuit

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Flickr/Vox Efx

The U.S. Justice Department and others suing over North Carolina's 2013 election overhaul are looking to settle one part of their case: voter ID.

Republican state lawmakers watered down the ID provision this summer, just before a federal trial on the overhaul began. Now there's a list of acceptable excuses for not having an ID, including lack of transportation or disability. So the Justice Department, the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs are finalizing a settlement offer for that part of the case. 

Attorney Allison Riggs represents the League of Women Voters.

"It's fleshing out how they're going to implement the law and developing a really comprehensive voter education plan," she says. "There would also be some agreement about monitoring in the future to make sure that the public has access to data on how the reasonable impediment exception is being used."

For example, if there are racial disparities in who can't get an ID.

Race is a key part of the overall lawsuits against the 2013 election overhaul. Republican lawmakers cut the early voting period by a week and eliminated both same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting – all things that African-Americans disproportionately relied on in North Carolina. Federal judge Thomas Schroeder held a three-week trial focusing on those changes last month and has yet to rule.

On ID, Riggs is unsure how willing the state is to negotiate. In court filings this week, the state's attorneys argued the recent ID tweaks should make that part of the lawsuit moot. 

There's still a lawsuit in state court over voter ID, too.