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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

NC's Voting Law Goes to Court Today

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Thursday, September 25, 2014   

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With less than two months to go before the November elections, North Carolina's controversial voting law is being fast-tracked to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Charlotte this morning. The American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Coalition for Social Justice are challenging provisions in the law they say place a burden on citizens as they exercise their right to vote. Jeremy Collins, advocacy and policy council for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, says they consider it a good sign the court wants to take up the law before November.

"We're clearly optimistic," Collins says. "We are enthusiastically preparing for the oral argument and we're excited to place our arguments back before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals."

Provisions in the law that eliminate one week of early voting, end same-day registration, and restrict out-of-precinct voting are being challenged on constitutional grounds. Both parties are asking the court to place the law on hold until next summer, until further legal analysis can be done. Collins says if the Fourth Circuit agrees, voting laws would be restored to what they were in the 2012 election.

Supporters of North Carolina's new voting law argue it's needed to combat voter fraud, but Collins and the other plaintiffs aren't buying it.

"It seems as though it's a deliberate attempt to confuse folks and to disenfranchise a considerable population of North Carolinians," he says.

Requirements in the new law, according to Collins, are believed to have a disproportionate impact on minorities, low-income voters and college students. A recent analysis by Democracy North Carolina found that 400 provisional ballots cast in the May primary were not counted, but would have been counted under the 2012 laws.


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