RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia election officials say the state’s voter identification law differs greatly from a North Carolina law recently struck down by a federal appeals court. Attorneys for the Virginia Department of Elections and Democratic Party of Virginia sparred in front of a three judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday over whether the state’s law requiring voters to show photo IDs at the polls discriminates against minorities. Much of the debate centered on how the Virginia case differs from one over a North Carolina law that required voters to produce a photo ID, scrapped same-day registration and shortened early voting periods. The 4th Circuit blocked that law in July. Bruce Spiva, an attorney for the Democrats, says Republicans lawmakers’ intent to discriminate against minorities with the voter ID law is as clear as it was in the North Carolina case. Virginia election officials say the law isn’t discriminatory and doesn’t suppress minorities’ ability to vote.