Testimony is expected to end this week in the civil suit seeking to overturn North Carolina’s controversial voting rights law, Voter Information Verification Act (V.I.V.A). On Friday, the defense started presenting expert witnesses who testified that V.I.V.A has presented no major obstacles to minority and poor voters.
Defense attorney Thomas Farr on Monday called Sean Trende, a Senior Election Analyst with Real Clear Politics a conservative politics web site, who testified that V.I.V.A. didn’t have any major impact on minority voter turnout in 2014 arguing that the law didn’t change early voting, out-of-precinct voting or the youth vote in any substantial way.
But in an aggressive exchange with one of plaintiff’s attorney Dale Ho, Trende acknowledged he only enrolled in two statistics courses as a graduate student. Trende never received his Ph.d in any discipline although he has earned a master’s degree in political science and a law degree from Duke University, as well as, he earned a bachelor’s from Yale University.
Attorney Ho further challenged him about his credentials on early voting where Trende acknowledge that his only work in this area was an exchange on Twitter. He admitted further that his testimony was incorrect in an earlier case about California as a state that allowed same day registration.
Farr said that Trende was more than qualified with his work at Real Clear Politics and his work with University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabado’s Crystal Ball. He has also been used as an expert guest on Fox News and NPR.
But attorney Ho said that Trende hadn’t studied election laws in all 50 states, and it would further erode his credibility as an expert witness on election law.
Judge Thomas Schroeder admitted Trende as an expert witness. “I’m going to listen to what he has to say,” Judge Schroeder said.