A federal magistrate says North Carolina state legislators can't ignore subpoenas from attorneys seeking documents that may help explain how and why last year's election and voting overhaul law was developed and approved.
But the court also ruled late Thursday the lawmakers could still cite a legal doctrine giving them the privilege to keep private certain internal files.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Peake issued the order after lawyers for several advocacy groups, voters and the U.S. government complained more than a dozen legislators weren't responding to demands to turn over emails and other documents.
Peake says Congress made lawmakers' motives a key element in determining whether election law changes comply with the U.S. Voting Rights Act. Three lawsuits allege photo ID requirements and changes to early voting are discriminatory.