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This is the best explanation of gerrymandering you will ever see
How to steal an election: a visual guide
By Christopher Ingraham March 1, 2015
Gerrymandering -- drawing political boundaries to give your party a numeric advantage over an opposing party -- is a difficult process to explain. If you find the notion confusing, check out the chart above -- adapted from one posted to Reddit this weekend -- and wonder no more. read article
Duke Mathematicians Investigate 2012 Election Results In North Carolina
By JESSICA JONES • NOV 25, 2014 WUNC
Researchers at Duke have developed a mathematical model that shows how changes in North Carolina’s congressional voting districts could affect election outcomes. Back in 2012, more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans in North Carolina’s Congressional elections. But Republicans ended up winning nine out of the state’s 13 seats that year. Those numbers piqued the interest of researchers at Duke, who decided to seek a mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. They recently published a study with their results. see article
How can I vote with an Absentee Ballot?
full instructions here
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New Maps, New Info: 2016 Redistricting FAQs
Download Democracy North Carolina’s Latest 2016 Redistricting FAQs >>
By Jen Jones Feb 24, 2016 Democracy NC
For more North Carolina voting information, visit our dedicated election website NCVoter.org or call
See the above at Democracy NC Website
Also see: The redistricting roadmap
By Sharon McCloskey NC Policy Watch 2/25/2016
WRAL 2/19/16: North Carolina's U.S. House elections will be delayed as Supreme Court denies stay
The Voter Update is the magazine of the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, a Raleigh-based nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping all citizens participate in democracy.
Check out the Civitas Website
Put together by the conservative organization; we can use it too. Keep this link handy. Includes:
Vote Tracker: 2014 Election
Voter Registration Changes
Visualize the General Assembly
Go to Civitas Website: Carolina Transparancy
Judge revises proposed court schedule in NC redistricting case
By Tim Rickard February 23, 2016
News & Record - Greensboro.com
A federal judge has given the opponents of North Carolina’s congressional redistricting maps until [Feb 29] to outline their objections. U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen Jr. asked the plaintiffs to “state with specificity the factual and legal basis for each objection.” ...A three-judge panel ruled Feb. 5 that the maps were unconstitutional and ordered the state to come up with new ones.
The plaintiffs ... proposed a schedule for the court to review the new maps, which included court hearings on March 11 and a final decision by the court no later than March 18. They also suggested judges draw their own map if they don’t like the new boundaries. The legislature has proposed that candidate filing under the new maps begin March 16. Osteen ... gave defendants until March 7 to file a response to plaintiffs’ objections. Plaintiffs have until March 9 to reply. read details
Lawmakers wrap up work on new districts, election schedule
Feb 19, 2016 WRAL
By Mark Binker and Laura Leslie
North Carolina voters will head to the polls twice this spring – once to vote for their U.S. House members and once for everything else – unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in and sides with Republican lawmakers. The state Senate voted 29-15 Friday morning to approve a new election schedule that is contingent on the court's actions. Later in the day, House members gave final approval to newly drawn congressional maps on a 65-43 vote... Earlier this month, a trio of federal judges declared that lawmakers unconstitutionally relied too heavily on race when they drew two congressional districts in 2011. Those judges gave the legislature until Friday to redraw the maps.
Senators approved 13 new districts on Thursday...
Primary voting is already underway in the state. Under the timing bill passed by lawmakers, the March 15 primary would go ahead as scheduled. All races on that ballot will count except for votes cast for U.S. House, which would be thrown out in favor a new primary to be held on June 7. The timing bill also does away with primary runoffs in 2016.
However, there's a "light switch" provision in the bill. If the U.S. Supreme Court either issues a stay or otherwise acts to set aside the lower court's ruling, the new maps are thrown out, the June 7 election is called off and the March 15 ballot counts for all races, including Congress. read article
Republicans propose major changes to NC congressional districts
BY LYNN BONNER AND COLIN CAMPBELL
Feb 17, 2016 N&O
Republican legislators’ proposed changes to the state’s congressional boundaries make dramatic changes to two districts a panel of federal judges found unconstitutional – as well as others that the judges didn’t object to.
The legislative committee charged with drawing new maps voted 24-11 along party lines Wednesday afternoon in favor of the proposal. Democrats were opposed but did not submit an alternative map, saying they wanted to see the Republicans’ version first. The proposal will go before the full House and Senate Thursday morning in a rare special session called by Gov. Pat McCrory...
The 1st Congressional District no longer takes in all or part of 24 counties. It would instead be more compact and include most of Durham County...
The 4th District, currently represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. David Price, would become more compact, consisting of Orange County, southern Durham County and a chunk of Wake County centered around Raleigh. read article
Carved-up N. Carolina county braces for redistricting fight
By JONATHAN DREW and GARY D. ROBERTSON
Feb. 14, 2016 AP
...Cathy Moore, past president of Durham Democratic Women, says the current map has already sown plenty of confusion and discouraged voters."People say they'd rather not vote than vote and make the wrong choice," she said. "If it's too complicated to figure out, they stay home."
Still, she said her group wants the districts redrawn as soon as possible... read article
Voting Rights Lose in North Carolina
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
APRIL 27, 2016
The New York Times
Late Monday, a federal district judge upheld one of the most regressive and restrictive voting laws in the country — a 2013 North Carolina law that eliminated same-day voter registration and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds; cut back on early voting by a week; barred counting votes cast outside voters’ home precincts; and required voters to show identification at the polls.
State lawmakers said these changes were necessary to reduce fraud and inefficiency in elections — though there is no evidence of voter fraud to combat or inefficiency to cure...
Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, accepted the state’s baseless rationales for the law, even as he dismissed or ignored the obvious political realities behind its passage. read column
Durham elections chief: Vote early to avoid lines
March 16, 2016 WRAL
Long lines at some Durham County polling sites on Tuesday had some people casting ballots after many statewide races had already been decided."It was completely unacceptable and insane," said Bob Rapier, who waited in line for about two-and-a-half hours to vote at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability, finally casting a ballot at 9:40 p.m. read article
Will North Carolina's new congressional map survive in court? Scalia's death adds to the uncertainty
By Stephen Wolf Feb 22, 2016 Daily Kos
...Republicans’ admission that their map’s overriding goal was to preserve their 10 to three edge in party representation theoretically
could result in it being invalidated as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. In 2004’s Vieth v. Jubelirer, the Supreme Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering potentially could be found unconstitutional, but it was unable to come up with a standard to determine when to do so. The district court could possibly choose their own standard, allowing them to strike down the legislature’s map without the threat of a conservative Supreme Court majority overturning them. Ultimately, there are simply too many unknowns to say with certainty what the likely endgame is in this litigation, but we should gain a lot more clarity in the next few weeks when the district court reviews the legislature’s new map. read article
Congressional Districts Decision
2/16/16: NC lawmakers to mapmakers: Don’t consider race in congressional districts (N&O)
2/15/16: Political lines clearly drawn during redistricting hearing (Carolina Public Press)
Update from Sen. Woodard:
*Redistricting Hearing Update*
Your speaking out has made a difference!
A new public hearing site has been added in the First Congressional District:
Halifax Community College
Taylor Complex Room 108
Weldon (near Roanoke Rapids)
2/12/16: Lawmakers to hold hearings in advance of redistricting session (WRAL)
2/9/16: North Carolina’s redistricting fight heads to Supreme Court (N&O)
2/8/16: Special session to redraw NC congressional districts may be called next week (WNCN)
2/8/16: State seeks delay in court order to redraw NC congressional maps (WRAL)
NC Voting Rights Fight Moves From the Courtroom to the Streets
by Sue Sturgis
February 06, 2016 by Facing South
The crowd during the 2015 Moral March on Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo: Kaitlyn Barlow via NC NAACP)
As the federal trial over North Carolina's restrictive voter ID law wrapped up this week in Winston-Salem, the N.C. NAACP — the lead plaintiff suing the state over its ID requirements — was getting ready to shift its fight for voting rights from the courtroom to the streets.
The civil rights group serves as the lead organizer of the annual Mass Moral March on Raleigh, which takes place this year on Saturday, Feb. 13 and involves over 150 supporting organizations. In its 10th year now, the march will kick off at Shaw University — the historically black school where the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was formed in 1960 — and wind through downtown before ending near the state capitol. It's expected to draw thousands of people to rally for a 14-point legislative agenda calling for well-funded public schools, living wages and health care for all. read article
Kate Fellman: Help us make sure all can vote
DURHAM NEWS: OPINION JAN 19, 2016
Expect to vote in the presidential election this year? Better make sure you can!
...After passage of HB 589 in 2013, analysts examined the changes to see whom they would impact. They concluded that House 589 was designed to make voting more difficult for
▪ People who find it difficult to take off work to vote,
▪ People without easy access to transportation to and from the polls,
▪ People who don’t have a state-issued photo ID and would find it hard to get one, and
▪ People without current information about changes to polling locations, hours and days.
Who are those people?
▪ People in low-wage jobs
▪ People with disabilities
▪ People of color
▪ College students
Did the law work? Like a charm.
Read column here
Study: North Carolina Polling Site Changes Hurt Blacks
by ZACHARY ROTH
NOV 23 2015
In 2013, North Carolina drew national attention when it passed the nation's most restrictive voting law—currently the subject of a challenge in federal court. The Republican-backed measure likely kept tens of thousands of voters, disproportionately minorities, from the polls last fall. But a subtler maneuver—and one that, until now, has largely flown under the radar—could throw up another major roadblock for non-white would-be voters next year, when the state figures to once again be a presidential battleground.
Last year, North Carolina's county election boards, which are controlled by Republicans, moved the location of almost one-third of the state's early voting sites. Those changes, according to new data analysis by a consulting firm that was shared with MSNBC, will significantly increase the distance African-Americans have to travel to vote early, while leaving white voters largely unaffected. read article
Federal Court Strikes Down Gerrymandered Districts
Late Friday Federal Court Ruling Strikes Down Gerrymandered Districts
by Jen Jones February 5. 2016 Democracy NC
Late Friday, three federal appellate judges threw out congressional voting maps the Republican-led General Assembly drew five years ago, ruling that two districts were gerrymandered along racial lines. Judges ordered state lawmakers to redraw the maps within two weeks. As WRAL reported, “the three-judge panel ruled that the 1st Congressional District, which spreads like an octopus across northeast North Carolina and has a tentacle that dips into Durham County, and the 12th Congressional District, which snakes along Interstate 85 between Greensboro and Charlotte, were drawn specifically so that the majority of voters in each were black.” More media coverage and reaction to the February 5 ruling >>
Bob Hall: ...There will be a lot of teeth gnashing and tongue lashing about the chaos this ruling creates, but two important points should not be overlooked. First, this ruling sends a important signal for the other court challenges to recent manipulations of election law in North Carolina. Here are federal judges ruling that General Assembly leaders purposeful used racial bias in deciding election procedures! Second, as for the election underway, the ruling only affects the primary for NC’s 13 US House seats, i.e., the process for deciding each party’s nominees for the general election. The other primary elections could proceed, unless a court quickly blocks them. North Carolina has had redistricting decisions cause parties to pick nominees in the summer before, or even decide to pick them through a caucus or convention method rather than popular ballot. read more here
What Do These Two Ads Say About NC's Controversial Voting Law?
By JORGE VALENCIA • JAN 13, 2016 • WUNC
The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP complained this week that state officials are misleading voters with their educational campaign about the state’s controversial election law. The measure will require voting officials to ask voters for photo identification.
The NAACP argues the ads should inform voters that they can cast ballots "with or without a photo ID. The board of election’s posters and flyers say, “Most voters will need to show acceptable photo ID.” read article
click below to enlarge Democracy NC's Tips for Voting in 2016:
Latinos in the 2016 Election: North Carolina
BY GUSTAVO LÓPEZ AND RENEE STEPLER
This profile provides key demographic information on Latino eligible voters and other major groups of eligible voters in North Carolina. All demographic data are based on Pew Research Center tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey. view all here
Christensen: NC population shifts highlight redistricting problem
ROB CHRISTENSEN NOVEMBER 17, 2015
This is no longer Mayberry. The truth is, we haven’t been for some time. But the recession has accelerated the process of reshaping North Carolina... the countryside is emptying out, ...The state is projecting that by 2020, the state’s 50 smallest counties will have 13 percent of North Carolina’s population, while Wake and Mecklenburg counties alone will have more than 21 percent of the population... That rapidly changing demographics has major implications when the legislature sits down in 2021 to draw the new district lines for Congress and the legislature. It is among the reasons that bipartisan groups are pushing for an independent redistricting effort...
The political art of gerrymandering – perfected through the use of political software – has now made many general elections nearly irrelevant...
As it now exists, the only thing most lawmakers have to worry about is being “primary-ied” – challenged from the right if they are Republicans, or attacked from the left if they are Democrats. This political environment discourages bipartisan compromise. Such Soviet-style elections raise serious questions about the nature of our democracy. Which is why the GOP-led House approved a redistricting reform bill in 2011, and a majority of House members sponsored a similar bill this year. But so far, the state Senate has been a graveyard for redistricting reform. read column
State court allows voter ID case to proceed to trial, but only after the 2016 presidential primary
By Sharon McCloskey NC Policy Watch 9/24/2015
North Carolina lawmakers’ late June quick-fix to the voter ID law was not enough to head off the legal challenge to photo ID as a requirement to vote, Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan said in an order issued on Wednesday, allowing the pending state court voter ID lawsuit to proceed to trial. Morgan’s ruling comes a month after lawmakers asked for a dismissal of the case, arguing that recent legislative changes rendered claims against them moot. Under the law as initially passed in 2013, voters at the polls must present a photo ID before casting a ballot beginning in 2016. read article
A DREAM UNDONE Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act.
By JIM RUTENBERG
JULY 29, 2015
New York Times
This article is the first in a series examining the ongoing effort to roll back the protections of the Voting Rights Act.
...What changed this state of affairs was the passage, 50 years ago this month, of the Voting Rights Act. Signed on Aug. 6, 1965, it was meant to correct “a clear and simple wrong,” as Lyndon Johnson said. “Millions of Americans are denied the right to vote because of their color. This law will ensure them the right to vote.” It eliminated literacy tests and other Jim Crow tactics, and — in a key provision called Section 5 — required North Carolina and six other states with histories of black disenfranchisement to submit any future change in statewide voting law, no matter how small, for approval by federal authorities in Washington.
...Since then, however, the legal trend has abruptly reversed. In 2010, Republicans flipped control of 11 state legislatures and, raising the specter of voter fraud, began undoing much of the work...They rolled back early voting, eliminated same-day registration, disqualified ballots filed outside home precincts and created new demands for photo ID at polling places. In 2013, ... Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, declared that the Voting Rights Act had done its job, and it was time to move on. Republican state legislators proceeded with a new round of even more restrictive voting laws.
All of these seemingly sudden changes were a result of a little-known part of the American civil rights story. It involves a largely Republican countermovement of ideologues and partisan operatives who, from the moment the Voting Rights Act became law, methodically set out to undercut or dismantle its most important requirements. read comprehensive article
Oregon voter turnout was 69.5 percent, and Democrats won BIG
By Laurence Lewis Daily Kos Nov 06, 2014
Oregon has mail-in voting, no serious efforts at voter disenfranchisement, and an engaged populace. Here's the big one: Out of the 2.2 million registered voters in Oregon, 69.5 percent, or 1,519,804, returned ballots. ...And the result?
Congressional Democrats Launch a New Strategy to Restore the Voting Rights Act
By Ari Berman NOVEMBER 3, 2015 The Nation
The 2016 election is one year away... But not everyone will be able to cast a ballot... The 2016 election will be the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Twenty-one states have put new voting restrictions in place since the 2010 election, with voters in 15 states facing these obstacles for the first presidential cycle in 2016, including in crucial swing states like North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Legislation has been introduced in Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act (VRA) following the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision gutting the law, but neither the modest Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 or the more ambitious Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, which both have bipartisan support, have moved legislatively.
Today congressional Democrats unveiled a new strategy to build support for the Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill compels states with a well-documented history of recent voting discrimination to clear future voting changes with the federal government, requires federal approval for voter-ID laws and similar measures, and outlaws new efforts to suppress the growing minority vote.
Every Tuesday while in session members of Congress will speak about the importance of voting rights, calling it “Restoration Tuesday,” spotlight stories of modern-day barriers to voting and rally on social media with the hashtag #RestoreTheVOTE & #RestorationTuesday. ...read article
Key Voting Rights Test Now in Federal Judge’s Hands
By ERIK ECKHOLM JULY 31, 2015
New York Times
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A federal trial that may help shape voting rights protections across the country in the 2016 elections and beyond came to a close here Friday, with the Department of Justice and civil rights groups charging that North Carolina deliberately sought to suppress black voting with a new election law, while the state defended its right to set election rules and said it treated all races equally.
“African-Americans were on the verge of having real influence in the state of North Carolina,” Bert Russ, a lawyer with the Justice Department, said of the expanded voting procedures that were curtailed in a Republican-sponsored 2013 law. “The legislature stepped in and took away” the methods that drove this progress, he said, in “a troubling mixture of race and politics.” read article
Voting Rights Legacy of the ’60s Heads to Court as North Carolina Law Is Tested
By ERIK ECKHOLM JULY 11, 2015
New York Times
Days after South Carolina confronted its past and lowered the Confederate battle flag, North Carolina will grapple with its present-day rules that determine access to the voting booth.
A federal trial opening in Winston-Salem on Monday is meant to determine whether recent, sweeping changes in the state’s election laws discriminate against black voters. These changes were adopted by the Republican-dominated state legislature in 2013, immediately after theUnited States Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when it ended a requirement that nine states with histories of discrimination, including North Carolina, get federal approval before altering their election laws. read article
June 19, 2015:
There were huge, unexpected changes made yesterday to NC’s voter ID law. These changes will blunt the voter suppression effect that the photo ID requirement will have on NC voters. There are still miles to go to undo the voter suppression mess that’s been created by the anti-voter Monster Law, but make no mistake about it -- yesterday was a victory for the people.
See full statement from Democracy NC about these new developments here
Lawmakers agree to allow affidavit at polls in lieu of
June 18, 2014 WRAL By Mark Binker and Matthew Burns
Voters who do not have photo identification would be able to sign a affidavit and present alternate forms of identification in order to cast a ballot under a last-minute addition to an elections law bill that passed the General Assembly on Thursday. The measure now heads to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature or veto. read article
UPDATED: Board of Elections data reveal voter registration irregularities under NC Gov. Pat McCrory
by DocDawg Daily Kos
May 7, 2015, Updated May 9.
A data-mining analysis of information publicly available from the North Carolina State Board of Elections has uncovered apparently systematic irregularities in voter registration efforts which are required of the state by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA; the so-called 'Motor Voter Act'). These irregularities, potentially disenfranchising tens of thousands of poverty-level North Carolina citizens, have all occurred during the Republican administration of North Carolina's current governor, Pat McCrory (R).
Update: Fri, May 8: several voting rights legal action organizations banded together to notify North Carolina's Board of Elections that it is violating the NVRA - thus starting the 90-day clock leading to filing a suit against the state. Democracy NC's discussion (including a link to the notification - read it!) is here.
Full story and links to the growing media coverage here
Democracy North Carolina Report:
Wake-Up Call: Up to 50,000 NC Voters Silenced by
New Rules, Confusion, Poor Preparation at the Polls
November 25, 2014
New voting restrictions and unprepared poll workers kept as many as 50,000 North Carolinians from voting in this fall’s general election, according to an analysis by the elections watchdog group Democracy North Carolina. ... there is mounting evidence that a shorter early voting period, confusion caused by new election rules, and strong turnout pushed many Election Day polling sites to the breaking point. Democracy North Carolina analyzed 500 reports from poll monitors in 38 counties and 1,400 calls to a voter assistance hotline. It found that voters stood in “excessively long lines” on
Election Day in more than a dozen counties, some for up to three hours. Many simply left. read report
How Voting Restrictions Impacted the 2014 Election, Federal Ruling on Registration Law
Brennan Center For Justice November 14, 2014
...With restrictions in place for the first time in more than a dozen states, voters last week experienced the full force of new laws making it harder to vote. While it may take months to assess their overall impact, reports make clear these laws led to problems and confusion at the polls. Voter ID and voter registration problems were the most visible...
North Carolina judge: 'Why does the state of North Carolina not want people to vote?'
byJoan McCarter Sept. 29, 2014 Daily Kos
North Carolina's sweeping voter suppression law, passed in August 2013, may or may not be in effect for the 2014 election. Last month, a federal judge...ruled that the law would be in effect in November, but an appeal of that decision to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit could prevent that... Oral arguments were held last Thursday, before a skeptical court.
One provision ... is a change to the state law that causes ballots to be tossed out if a voter shows up in the wrong precinct. For the last decade, voters who showed up at the wrong precinct would still have their votes counted in races that were not specific to that precinct, so long as they voted in the correct county. The new law prohibits these ballots from being counted at all... that means thousands of ballots will be thrown out each election year. Judge Wynn .. appeared baffled by this provision... he asked the state to justify why his vote should be thrown out if he did not travel to a precinct that is further away from his home. At one point, his questions grew quite pointed—"Why does the state of North Carolina not want people to vote?" Wynn asked. read article
North Carolina Becomes the Latest Casualty of the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act Decision
by Ari Berman Aug 9, 2014
On Wednesday, August 6, the country celebrated the forty-ninth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the most impactful civil rights law ever passed by Congress. Two days later, a federal judge in North Carolina denied a preliminary injunction to block key provisions of the state’s new voting law, widely described as the most onerous in the country. North Carolina’s new voting restrictions will now be in effect for the 2014 midterms and beyond, pending a full trial in July 2015...The federal government and plaintiffs including the North Carolina NAACP and the League of Women Voters argued during a hearing last month that three important parts of the law—a reduction in early voting from seventeen to ten days, the elimination of same-day registration during the early voting period, and a prohibition on counting provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct—disproportionally burdened African-American voters in violation of Section 2 of the VRA and should be enjoined before the 2014 election. As evidence, plaintiffs showed that in recent elections African-Americans were twice as likely to vote early, use same-day registration and vote out-of-precinct...
Judge Thomas Schroeder of the Middle District of North Carolina disagreed...he wrote in a 125-page opinion. "...Even assuming Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits, they have not demonstrated they are likely to suffer
irreparable harm—a necessary prerequisite for preliminary relief—before trial in the absence of an injunction.” read article
The value of young voters
Letter by Montravias King and Lee Storrow
July 25, 2014
North Carolina’s cities and towns benefit when young people are engaged in civic life, and we respectfully disagree with Jay DeLancy’s July 20 Point of View piece “ How young voters can be a destabilizing force in college towns.” ...There is longstanding Supreme Court precedent that college students have a right to vote in the towns where they are attending school. In 1979, the court ruled in Symm v. United States (with only one justice dissenting) that discrimination against college students seeking to vote at their college addresses is a violation of the 26th Amendment...
Even if this legal precedent didn’t exist, young people and college students provide value to college towns... College towns witness tensions between students and community members in neighborhoods near campus... Student input is key to tackling challenges in our communities, and as young council members we’ve been able to be a bridge between students and other residents... read letter
North Carolina’s ‘Monster’ Voting Law Challenged in Federal Court
by Ari Berman July 7, 2014 The Nation
Winston-Salem--In March 1965, Carolyn Coleman, a young activist with the Alabama NAACP, marched to Montgomery in support of the Voting Rights Act... Nearly fifty years after marching for voting rights in Alabama, Coleman testified in federal court today in Winston-Salem against North Carolina’s new voting restrictions, which have been described as the most onerous in the nation... The federal government and civil rights groups, including the ACLU and the North Carolina NAACP, asked Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee for the Middle District of North Carolina, to enjoin key provisions of the law before the 2014 midterms under Section 2 of the VRA... The hearing is expected to last until later in the week, with a decision in the next month or so....
The plaintiffs say the new restrictions disadvantage minority voters at a greater rate than white voters, in violation of Section 2’s ban on racial discrimination in voting... Black voters were over 35 percent more likely than white voters to register using same-day registration.
And black voters were twice as likely to cast an out-of-precinct provisional ballot as white voters. According to expert witness Charles Stewart, a political scientist at MIT, if the law had been in effect in 2012, “over 30,000 African-Americans who registered during the same-day registration period would have been unable to register during that period, almost 300,000 [black] early voters would have been shoehorned into more congested early voting and Election Day voting sites, and at least 2,000 African-American voters would have had their out-of-precinct votes left uncounted.”...Indeed, the new voting law repealed or curtailed nearly every reform passed by the state in the past two decades that encouraged more people to vote...
North Carolina is the perfect case study for what happened after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act... We’re in uncharted territory...
After the hearing, eight hundred North Carolinians gathered in downtown Winston-Salem for a “Moral March to the Polls” event protesting the law. “I know it’s hot out here,” Barber told the crowd. “But it’s going to be hotter if you let them take our vote away.” read article
Voter registration is the antidote to voter suppression
By Benjamin Jealous
UPDATED 06/25/14 MSNBC
We have the antidote to voter suppression. In fact, we’ve always had it.
We have known what it is for at least half a century. Fifty years ago this month, Freedom Summer activists risked life and limb to register voters in Mississippi and spread the gospel of democracy across the southern United States. They confirmed the notion that the best way to overcome massive voter suppression is through a massive wave of voter registration. As we prepare for the midterm election of 2014 – and look toward the presidential election of 2016 – we need to remember their lesson. read article
Block voting law changes, challengers ask federal court
Sharon McCloskey May 20, 2014
The groups and individuals challenging North Carolina’s recent voting law changes filed papers late yesterday in federal court in Winston-Salem asking that implementation of those changes be suspended until at least after the November mid-term elections. “North Carolinians should be able to vote in the November election without having to navigate the barriers imposed by this discriminatory law,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina and one of the attorneys for the challengers in League of Women Voters of North Carolina et al. v. North Carolina... “Voters are at real risk of being blocked from participating in the pivotal midterm election,” Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement. “If this law is subsequently found unconstitutional, as we fully expect it will be, North Carolinians who were denied the vote will never get a do-over.”
The parties’ motion follows a ruling late last week by U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder requiring state lawmakers to disclose communications about the voting changes between themselves and others during the time such changes were being discussed and implemented. read article
Judge hears appeals of legislators on subpoenas
May 9, 2014 Associated Press
A federal trial judge has listened to arguments over whether North Carolina lawmakers have to hand over their documents about last year's election overhaul law when subpoenas demanded them.
Attorneys for state officials and groups who helped sue to overturn parts of the elections law went before U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder on Friday in Winston-Salem. The issue is the state's appeal of a federal magistrate judge's ruling that said the legislators didn't have broad immunity from the subpoenas. Schroeder listened for more than two hours and didn't say when he would rule. read article
Experts: North Carolina early voting cuts will hit blacks hardest
By Zachary Roth MSNBC
If the cuts to early voting in North Carolina’s restrictive voting law had been in effect in 2012, Election Day wait times would have risen dramatically, a significant number of would-be voters would have given up in frustration—and African-American voters would have been hit hardest.
That’s according to two top voting scholars, whose testimony in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the measure was released Thursday by the ACLU, one of the groups leading the effort. read article
Federal judge strikes down Wisconsin voter ID law
By Alana Semuels
April 29, 2014
A federal judge struck down a Wisconsin voter ID law as unconstitutional because it imposed an unfair burden on the poor and minorities, a move that could set a precedent for other voting rights cases to be decided this election year. The Wisconsin law, passed in 2011, required voters without ID – many of whom are minorities – to overcome large obstacles to obtain a photo ID to be able to vote, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote in his opinion Tuesday. That violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, he said. read article
North Carolina Legislators Justify Voter Suppression With An Inconclusive Report
BY JOSH ISRAEL
APRIL 3, 2014
At a meeting of the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committees of the North Carolina state legislature, representatives of Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) State Board of Elections
presented a report Wednesday identifying suspected cases of dead people voting and individuals voting in two states in 2012. Despite the board’s explanation that it is still investigating to determine whether these cases were actually voter fraud or something as innocent as poll-worker errors, Senate President Phil Berger (R) and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) immediately lauded the findings as “evidence of widespread voter error and fraud” which should “put to rest ill-informed claims that problems don’t exist and help restore the integrity of our elections process.” read article
How to Advance Voting Rights Through Executive Action
Lucy Zhou May 19, 2014 Brennan Center
Crossposted on The Hill
Voters across the country scored significant victories in the past few weeks. A federal judgestruck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law, saying it violated the Voting Rights Act. A Pennsylvania ID law is dead after the governor decided not to appeal a decision ruling it unconstitutional. And two states passed laws expanding voter registration access. Still, fights continue in dozens of states, and a bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act is stalled in Congress.
At a time of historic dysfunction and congressional inaction, it is not enough to rely on the courts. It is high time for a greater executive role in safeguarding the right to vote. President Obama has the authority to act, and he must. read article
Barack Obama says voting rights face greatest threat in half a century
12 April 2014
President Barack Obama on Friday made his second speech on race issues in two days...
In New York, Obama said: “The stark, simple truth is this: the right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago.” ...In June last year, the supreme court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, which was passed in 1965 to protect the democratic rights of minorities, on the grounds that racial equality had improved sufficiently to render such protection unnecessary...
In 2013 seven states passed voter restrictions, ranging from reductions in early voting to identification requirements... North Carolina adopted a photo ID requirement, eliminated registrations on election day and reduced the number of early voting days... Critics of such laws say they intentionally discriminate against minorities, who are less likely to have the required ID and are more likely to vote early – and are also more likely to vote Democrat...
On Friday, speaking to an audience of 1,600 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, Obama said the effort to institute such laws "has not been led by both parties. It's been led by the Republican party". He added: "What kind of political platform is that? Why would you make that a part of your agenda, preventing people from voting?" ...The Obama administration has also challenged the North Carolina election law, which will take effect for the 2016 elections... read article
Freedom Summer (Trailer)
from Firelight Media PLUS
In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation’s eyes were riveted on Mississippi. Over ten memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers joined with organizers and local African Americans in an historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in Mississippi, the nation’s most segregated state. The summer was marked by sustained and deadly violence, including the notorious murders of three civil rights workers, countless beatings, the burning of thirty-five churches, and the bombing of seventy homes and community centers. read/watch video
Did Voting Restrictions Determine the Outcomes of Key Midterm Races?
November 6, 2014
...In the North Carolina senate race, Republican Thom Tillis...defeated Democrat Kay Hagan by 50,000 votes. Nearly five times as many voters in 2010 used the voting reforms eliminated by the North Carolina GOP—200,000 voted during the now-eliminated first week of early voting, 20,000 used same-day registration and 7,000 cast out-of-precinct ballots.
Lawyer Allison Riggs of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham flagged dozens of stories of disenfranchised voters and election problems in North Carolina. Voters were not able to register during the early voting period. There were longer lines during early voting because the state cut early voting by a week. And there were longer lines on election day because of the shorter early voting period, particularly in heavily Democratic urban areas like Durham, Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro, where wait times stretched to over two hours at some polling places... Many voters also arrived at the wrong polling location, where they could no longer cast a regular ballot out-of-precinct...
More than 450 voters were disenfranchised in North Carolina’s primary because the state eliminated same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. Riggs expects that number will be significantly higher for the general election, even as turnout increased in North Carolina compared to 2010 for the early voting and general election period. “The real question is what would turnout have been like if these voters hadn’t been disenfranchised?” she says.
Nationally, voter turnout in 2014 has been estimated at 36.6 percent, the lowest level since 1940. In North Carolina and across the country, the electorate was older, whiter and more conservative than in 2008 and 2010, which is exactly what Republicans wanted. The new voting restrictions contracted an already-minuscule electorate. Nearly twice as many Americans chose not to vote as voted in 2014. As turnout decreased, voting problems increased. The Election Protection coalition received 18,000 calls at the 1-866-Our-Vote hotline [see graph, above], a 40 percent increase over 2010. read article
North Carolina moves to the U.S. Supreme Court after Fourth Circuit refuses to stay ruling on voting law
by Sharon McCloskey Thursday, October 2, 2014
The same three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals which yesterday blocked state provisions eliminating same-day registration and prohibiting the counting of out-of-precinct ballots refused today, by a 2-1 vote, to stay its ruling pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court’s order is here. And as expected, the state shortly after asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stay the 4th Circuit ruling. A copy of the state’s emergency application is here. That makes two states now with emergency applications for stays in voting rights cases now pending at the nation’s highest court. Earlier today the American Civil Liberties Union asked the Supreme Court to block Wisconsin’s voter ID law from taking effect for the election next month. read article
US Supreme Court ruling blocks same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting in NC
BY ANNE BLYTHE October 8, 2014
News and Observer
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on Wednesday that means voters in North Carolina will not be able to vote out of their precincts on Nov. 4 nor register to vote and cast ballots on the same day. The ruling blocked a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision Oct. 1 that reinstated same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting for the coming election.
Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented and issued an opinion outlining their reasons. They said they had no reason to disagree with the 4th Circuit’s reasoning that elimination of same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting would limit opportunities for black voters to cast ballots. Ginsburg said the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had “worked to safeguard long-obstructed access to the ballot by African-Americans” by blocking such election-law changes in the South. But the court voided that “pre-clearance rule” last year in a 5-4 decision.
...The challengers contend the changes made in 2013 discriminate against African-Americans, Latinos and voters younger than 25. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling and others made in the case are just steps in a protracted legal process.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder has set a trial for July 2015 to hear arguments for and against constitutional questions raised by the challengers. Schroeder held hearings this past July to determine what parts of the 2013 law, if any, would apply to the November elections. In August, Schroeder ruled that the challengers had not shown that any voters would suffer “irreparable harm” if the elections were governed by the 2013 law...
The U.S. Supreme Court offered little explanation for its ruling on Wednesday to uphold Schroeder’s ruling and reject the 4th Circuit order to reinstate same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. read article
Putting a face on voter suppression
by Rob Schofield
NC Policy Watch
Report details the real life havoc that North Carolina’s controversial new voting laws are wreaking Read the new report here
...For years now, civil rights advocates have issued report after report and filed lawsuit after lawsuit challenging the transparent efforts of conservative activists to suppress the vote of disfavored groups of Americans – racial minorities, the poor, the elderly, and the disabled. [a] new report by Democracy NC [identifies] more than 450 actual North Carolina voters who were disenfranchised just this past May by the state’s 2013 “Monster Voting Law.”
This is from the report:
...“While Black voters make up 22% of all registered voters, they were 39% of those who lost their votes because of the two rule changes – the elimination of same-day registration and elimination of out-of-precinct voting on Election Day. Democrats are 42% of the state’s registered voters, but 57% of those disenfranchised by the new rules.” read much more here
Judge: NC vote can be held with GOP-backed changes
Aug 8, 2014 WRAL
A federal judge has ruled that North Carolina's November election can be held under new voting rules drafted last year by Republican lawmakers.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder on Friday denied a motion seeking to hold the November vote under old rules, pending a trial scheduled for next year. A coalition of groups, including the League of Women Voters and the NAACP, filed suit over more than two dozen changes to voting laws approved by the GOP-controlled state legislature in 2013. read article
Lawmakers miss opportunity to reverse course on restricting voting rights
7/7/2014 by Dr. Stephen Boyd
NC Policy Watch
As the General Assembly prepares to conclude the 2014 short session, it’s now clear that lawmakers will adjourn without taking action to restore the voting access policies, public financing options, limits on campaign contributions, and disclosure requirements that were stripped in last year’s omnibus voting law. Indeed, as the session winds down, lawmakers and their lawyers are defending their 2013 actions before a federal judge in Winston-Salem in a constitutional challenge brought by civil rights groups. This is extremely unfortunate because such a restoration would be good for voters, candidates, the legislators themselves and for North Carolina. read article
North Carolina Will Determine the Future of the Voting Rights Act
Ari Berman on July 10, 2014
... [Rosanell] Eaton testified in federal court in Winston-Salem this week against North Carolina’s voting law, as part of a challenge brought by the Justice Department and civil rights groups to enjoin key provisions before the 2014 election under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. “Voting should be free and accessible to everyone,” she told Judge Thomas Schroeder of the Middle District Court of North Carolina...
Eleven witnesses—a mixture of civil rights activists, legislators and election experts—testified against the law, known as House Bill 589, over the course of four days... Here are my ten takeaways from the hearing
This is just the beginning of the legal battle.
... “I’m not here to decide the ultimate merits of the case,” [Judge] Schroeder said. “The question is the urgency of the injunction…. What is the irreparable harm before November?” It’s very possible the plaintiffs could lose the preliminary injunction hearing and win the trial in July 2015, when they’ll have more time, more expertise and more evidence, like voter ID, to draw on... He asked the plaintiffs a lot of questions about the standard he should use to examine the evidence and the harms to prospective voters in 2014...He’s expected to issue a ruling sometime in the next month. read article
A year after Supreme Court strips Voting Rights Act, prospects for change
by Sharon McCloskey
NC Policy Watch
It’s been a year since a sharply divided Supreme Court declared victory in the war against voter discrimination and suppression and tossed out one of the most powerful weapons used in that battle – preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
...“Because voting discrimination comes to light near major elections or right after the decennial census, we are only beginning to see examples of potentially discriminatory voting changes post-Shelby,” said the authors of this report released by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Already though voting changes in at least seven states, including North Carolina, are setting off alarms. read article
Black voters and the future of Southern politics
By Chris Kromm 6/20/2014
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, the massive organizing project that brought more than 1,000 volunteers to Mississippi and drew national attention to the ongoing civil rights struggle in the South. Freedom Summer was launched as an assault on segregation and inequality on many fronts. Activists set up 30 Freedom Schools as an alternative to the state's underfunded and segregated education system. The Medical Committee for Human Rights offered free health clinics. While Freedom Summer went beyond electoral politics, a key focus from the beginning was breaking down voting barriers and harnessing African-American political power...
The make-up of Southern states is rapidly changing, but there are still very real barriers ... The raft of election law changes, including restrictive voter ID laws and slashing early voting days, will hit the emerging Southern electorate the hardest. Post-2010 redistricting in state legislatures and Congressional districts has diluted the power of African-American, Latino and other New Majority voters. State-level anti-immigration laws and the rise of deportations in recent years have created a chilling climate in communities of newcomers.
To overcome these and other obstacles, those seeking to harness the potential power for change in the South need to think big, think strategically, and think long-term. read article
North Carolina voting law causes confusion at the polls
By Zachary Roth MSNBC
North Carolina’s restrictive new voting law was in effect for the first time in Tuesday’s primary election. And there were plenty of signs that the law could make it harder to cast a ballot for many in the Tar Heel State...
North Carolina’s voting law, passed by Republicans in 2013 and signed by McCrory, has been called the most restrictive in the country...The law is being challenged under the Voting Rights Act by the U.S. Justice Department and several civil rights groups, who allege that it discriminates against racial minorities...
The ban on votes cast in the wrong precinct has flown relatively under the radar among the law’s provisions. Previously, if voters showed up at a precinct that wasn’t theirs, they could still cast a ballot that would count for federal and state races. Not anymore...
The problem was especially acute on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone... Half of the students are assigned to one precinct and half to another whose polling place is about a mile away, without reliable transportation between the two...
But the state’s patchy effort to educate voters about the ID requirement may portend even more trouble ahead. read article
In Rural N.C., New Voter ID Law Awakens Some Old Fears
by AILSA CHANG August 16, 2013
This week, North Carolina's governor signed a new law requiring a state-approved photo ID to cast a vote in a polling place and shortening the period for early voting...NPR's Ailsa Chang visited rural areas of North Carolina to report on how the changes could affect poor minority voters who live there.
Listen to/read story
Voter registration among first impacts of NC elections law
Apr 4, 20134
By Laura Leslie WRAL
People wishing to vote in the May 6 primary have only eight days left to register, thanks to the sweeping elections law passed last year by the General Assembly. The law ended same-day registration during the early voting period, which North Carolina implemented only six years earlier.
Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, said it's a security issue. People shouldn't be able to vote before election officials can confirm they're eligible, he said... Rep. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, opposed the repeal of same-day registration, noting that statistics show it disproportionately hurts black voters. "There was no evidence of fraud with same-day registration. It is very well documented," Bryant said... Voting rights groups are challenging the new law.
Without same-day registration, state law requires that all voters be registered 25 days before an election, which means that all new registrations must be postmarked by April 11. ...You can update your name and your address during early voting at any one-stop site," [SBOE manager Veronica] DeGraffenreid said, "as long as it's within the same county in which you are currently registered." Elections officials say the best thing to do is go to the elections board's website and double-check your registration.
NC State Board of Elections: Fine By Us If You Want to Suppress the Votes of College Students!
Watauga Watch March 25, 2014
The Republican-dominated State Board of Elections (SBOE) totally gets it: Their job is to enable and rubber-stamp whatever the Republican-dominated local boards of elections in all 100 counties do to block ballot-access, because they all understand that their electeds don't continue to stay in office without voter suppression.
One of the groups targeted for suppression: college students, of which Watauga County has a bunch. The campus of Appalachian State University has had an Early Voting station in the Student Union since 2008 for every election cycle -- up until last fall. Thousands of voters, including voters registered in every precinct in the county have voted there. Faculty and staff, who live all over the county, have found it very convenient to vote where they work. But not any more. read article
also WRAL article: State Elections Board Okays Voting Moves
Judge delays ruling on legislators' voting law records
Feb. 21, 2014 WRAL
A federal judge said Friday that she needs more information before deciding whether 13 North Carolina lawmakers should have to turn over records relating to election law changes passed last year. The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, the American Civil Liberties Union and others are asking the judge to force lawmakers to release emails and other records related to the passage of the new elections law...
"We request documentation that shows the circumstances under which this (law) was passed," said ACLU attorney Julie Ebenstein. "These claims are very serious."
Alexander Peters, an attorney for the state, argued that lawmakers are immune from having to disclose those records and that they are exempt from the state's public records law... U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake said she would take the issue under advisement and asked the attorneys to give her more information before she makes a ruling... read article
NC counties reduce early voting hours for primary
February 27 By GARY D. ROBERTSON, Associated Press
Almost a third of North Carolina's 100 counties have received permission from the State Board of Elections to reduce early-voting hours heading into the May 6 primary below what last year's elections overhaul law demanded of them... The law actually decreased the number of early-voting days leading to an election from 17 days to 10, but it came with a qualification. Counties would still have to offer at least the same number of cumulative hours for people to vote ahead of election day — compared to the 2010 primary...
"We didn't shorten early voting. We compacted the calendar, but we're going to have the same hours in which polls are open in early voting and we're going to have more polls available," McCrory said on CNN's "Crossfire" program earlier this week. "In fact, the legislation does not shorten the hours for early voting." But more than 30 counties have used an exception in the law to get around the hour requirement for the first election under new in-person absentee voting rules. The exemption can happen only if members of the requesting county's election board and the state board agree unanimously — both Democrats and Republicans.
Lewis: March organizers 'hypocritical' on voter ID
Feb 10, 2014 WRAL
A senior state House member took marchers who protested at the State Capitol to task over the weekend for their "hypocritical" stance on voter ID... Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, pointed to a flier of "dos and don'ts" distributed to marchers, which included the instruction that marchers should "bring photo identification (driver's license, passport or other valid ID) with you and keep it on your person at all times."
Lewis pointed to polls showing that voter ID is popular among voters despite the opposition of liberal groups. "The NC NAACP has filed suit in court to block this common sense idea," Lewis wrote. "However, the NC NAACP requires their protesters to maintain valid photo identification on their person throughout the march. The idea that Chairman William Barber and his followers find it more important to carry their photo identification with them when marching than when electing the President of the United States is reprehensible."
...Barber said that ID is not a requirement to participate in the marches. "To prepare participants, we have always recommended various security measures, including looking out for the elderly, remaining calm in the face of any altercation, and bringing a photo ID for safety reasons," he wrote. "What is in fact hypocritical is for extremists in the General Assembly to lie about widespread voter fraud, which does not exist in the state of North Carolina, in order to pass a monster law that suppresses the right to vote at every level of the democratic process." read article
Voter registration deadline nears for N.C. primary
Same-day registration no longer an option for North Carolina voters
By Brent Laurenz Mar. 31, 2014
North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.
While primaries typically feature lower voter interest and participation than the general election in November, it really is imperative that voters take them seriously... If you are not registered to vote by the [April 11] deadline, then you will not be able to vote in the primary. No exceptions.
...Citizens who wish to register must fill out a voter registration application – available to print online through the board of elections website at NCSBE.gov or in person at DMV offices, public libraries, public high schools and public assistance agencies – and mail back to their county board of elections office prior to the deadline. read more
Voter ID suit could open lawmaker emails to public for first time
By Laura Leslie WRAL March 28, 2014
A lawsuit challenging a sweeping elections law that the General Assembly passed last year could force open legislative emails to public inspection for the first time. North Carolina's public records law gives people the right to see emails and letters by government officials, but state lawmakers have claimed for years that they're exempt from that law.
Groups that oppose the law, including the state chapter of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and the American Civil Liberties Union, contend that lawmakers are trying to make voting more difficult, especially for minority voters.
...The plaintiffs tried to subpoena lawmakers' emails to determine their motives, but the lawmakers refused, arguing that legislative privilege makes their emails confidential. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake ruled Thursday that..."The Court concludes that, while the judicially-created doctrine of 'legislative immunity' provides individual legislators with absolute immunity from liability for their legislative acts, that immunity does not preclude all discovery in the context of this case," Peake wrote. The judge also ruled that additional categories of documents may be released after further hearings in the coming weeks. read article
Compacting the calendar, suppressing the vote
3/19/2014 by Sharon McCloskey
Shortly after the General Assembly reduced the number of early voting days from 17 to 10 as part of sweeping voting changes enacted last session, Gov. Pat McCrory took to the airwaves to defend the move. “We didn’t shorten early voting,” the governor said in a clip that went viral. “We compacted the calendar, but we’re going to have the same hours in which polls are open in early voting and we’re going to have more polls available.”
As it’s turning out, though, with just a little more than a month remaining before early voting begins for the May primaries, compacting the calendar is not that simple a task. Under the new law, counties must offer the same number of hours provided during similar elections in 2010 or 2012, unless all local and state board members approve fewer hours.
Trying to fit the same number of hours into seven fewer days and finding the sites and staff needed to do that has become a problem for many counties — so much so that at least 40 have asked the state board of elections to allow them to do exactly what the governor said would not happen: reduce the number of early voting hours. read article
Report ranks best and worst NC counties for voting access
by Megan Cassella January 17, 2014
...Seventy-nine counties in the state were analyzed based on rates of overall voter turnout, voter registration, voter list maintenance, provisional ballots accepted and rejected, and absentee ballots rejected.
The report (NC starts on p. 39), which analyzed counties in every swing state from the last election, concluded that ease of exercising the right to vote is heavily dependent on where one lives... Researchers analyzed data collected in the 2012 election, but numbers could change significantly in this year’s election after Gov. Pat McCrory’s new voting law goes into effect, said Joshua Field, one of the authors of the report from the left-leaning organization...
“It’s going to be very interesting to see how that affects (the data),” Field said. “If you think about anything that makes it harder to register, reduces the number of days that someone could go in and vote, and adds more restrictions for what people need to vote, we’ll guess that you’re going to see some dramatic changes.” read article
Is This Any Way to Remember MLK?Racism is alive and well in America. So why is the new voting rights act so weak?
By ANDREW COHEN January 19, 2014 Politico
Martin Luther King Jr. marched famously from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery in March 1965 in a campaign that helped put the Voting Rights Act onto President Lyndon Johnson’s desk. ...his murder in Memphis happened long before it became clear that the controversial federal law had succeeded, grandly, in protecting black citizens from discriminatory voting policies and practices in the Old South and elsewhere.
...the U.S. Supreme Court’s renunciation of it last June was...profoundly premature. ...what the conservative justices broke with their decision in Shelby County v. Holder a bipartisan group of lawmakers is now trying to mend... The new measure isn’t nearly as bold as the original it would amend... It seems that lawmakers are willing to buy into the proposition, best expressed by the Supreme Court’s majority in Shelby County, that federal oversight over voting should only be as broad as it needs to be to halt discrimination in voting, and since discrimination in voting is far less severe than it was in 1965, it needn’t be very broad indeed. But tell that to the black voter in North Carolina, who heard the precinct chair of Buncombe County’s Republican Party tell a “Daily Show” correspondent in October, “if [the voter ID] law hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.” At a time when the country pauses to remember the work of Dr. King, it’s clear many of his dreams remain unfulfilled. read article
More on the proposed amendments to the Voting Rights Act
Sharon McCloskey January 17, 2014
Lots of activity in the voting rights area this week, with a Pennsylvania judge today tossing out that state’s voter ID law, a federal judge in Alabama ordering a city there to preclear voting law changes with the Justice Department (breathing new life into the Voting Rights Act), and a bipartisan group introducing amendments to the Act intending to reinforce its provisons in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The provisions of those amendments are now being digested, and voting law experts and civil rights groups are weighing in on the pros and cons. For some quick analysis see Ian Milhiser’s post at Think Progress here and election law expert Rick Hasen’s post here. read article
Members of Congress Introduce a New Fix for the Voting Rights Act
by Ari Berman on January 16, 2014
Today Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation to strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last June invalidating a critical section of the VRA. The legislation, known as “The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014,” represents the first attempt by a bipartisan group in Congress to reinstate the vital protections of the VRA that the Supreme Court took away... Section 4 covered nine states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia) and parts of six others (in California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota) based on evidence of voting discrimination against blacks and other minority groups dating back to the 1960s and 1970s. Since the Shelby decision, eight states previously covered under Section 4 have passed or implemented new voting restrictions. This includes onerous new laws in states like North Carolina and Texas, which the Justice Department objected to under other provisions of the VRA (Sections 2 and 3).
The Sensenbrenner-Conyers-Leahy bill strengthens the VRA in five distinct ways: read article
Profile of Alberta Currie
Mark Manring Jan 2, 2014
Profile of Alberta Currie, lead plaintiff in the Southern Coalition for Social Justice's lawsuit battling NC's restrictive Voter ID requirement. watch video
Wake to keep Sunday voting in 2014 election
By Tyler Dukes Dec. 10, 2013 WRAL
...The Wake County Board of Elections voted 2-1 Tuesday to keep Sunday voting for the 2014 cycle. At eight early voting locations, which the board will choose next year, polls will be open for four hours on Saturday and Sunday. The decision is subject to a possible appeal by the board's dissenting member.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly passed a sweeping elections law this year that shortened the number of days over which early voting can take place. But the law also required counties keep polls open for the same number of total hours as in prior elections. County boards of elections have a great deal of discretion in how to set those hours. Republican majorities control all 100 county boards of elections due to a state law that shifts control based on the party of the sitting governor.
Many observers have expected Republicans to do away with Sunday voting entirely by extending voting hours on other days. read article
Dec. 11, 2013
-- Pat McCrory was interviewed by a Triad TV station this week and claims that Progress NC is behind 12-year old Madison Kimrey's attempts to meet with him to discuss his policies. Now, we admire this young lady's activism and her determination but 1) we did not sponsor that event as McCrory claims, and 2) we have nothing to do with Madison Kimrey's overtures to the Governor. So someone needs to let Pat McCrory know that Progress NC is not the only one who thinks he could be doing a better job. And maybe someone needs to let NC's media outlets know that, sadly, they can no longer assume a statement is accurate just because our state's highest leader said it.
State begins issuing free IDs for voting
By Mark Binker January 2, 2014 WRAL
Voters in North Carolina will not have to show photo identification at the polls until 2016, but the state Division of Motor Vehicles began issuing free photo ID cards Thursday to those who don't have other forms of identification... "To obtain a No-Fee Voter ID card, you must sign a declaration stating that you do not have a photo ID acceptable under" North Carolina law, reads a notice on the DMV website.
Applicants will have to provide a valid Social Security number and provide other documents that verify their age and identity. Applications can be submitted at any DMV driver license office. read article
Women, unaffiliated voters are key in N.C.
By Fannie Flono Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013
On Tuesday, Democracy North Carolina released intriguing new information on voter registration trends in North Carolina. If you’ve been following N.C. politics, you probably won’t be surprised by one key finding – that the number of independent or unaffiliated voters is increasing at a rapid pace, stealing potential voters from both major political parties... Women still outnumber men by 500,000 voters in North Carolina, the analysis of State Board of Elections records shows. Said Hall: “If women consolidated around a message or messenger, they’d dominate state politics.”
Given how shabbily the GOP-dominated legislature and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory treated women during the last legislative session, that could pose a potential problem for Republicans. There is a long list of grievances women can cite... Still, over the past five years, white women have abandoned the Democrats more than anyone... For white women, who dominated the protests of N.C. legislative changes, lawmakers’ shenanigans could move some back to the Democrats’ arms. But for now [Democracy North Carolina Executive Director Bob] Hall aptly notes: “They are split by party and a growing minority is disenchanted with partisan politics.”
That disenchantment could push more N.C. women into the unaffiliated ranks where they already top men in registrations... For N.C. women and for independents, there is clearly power in their votes. read column
Judge: No quick trial on NC voting law changes
By MICHAEL BIESECKER, AP Dec. 13, 2013 WRAL
A federal judge has ruled there will be no trial on North Carolina's Republican-backed voting law changes until after the 2014 elections, though she signaled motions will be considered to bar the measures from taking effect until the case is resolved. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joi Peake said Thursday the issues raised in the three lawsuits challenging the new law are too complicated to be resolved before next year's elections. Peake set a bench trial for July 2015. Peake added that the court will hear requests this summer for an injunction to block some or all of the new law's provisions from taking effect until after the trial... The U.S. Justice Department, the state chapter of the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters and other groups have sued Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina Board of Elections over the voting changes. Those separate cases will likely be consolidated at trial...
Though his side did not get the quick trial date they wanted, North Carolina NAACP President William Barber nonetheless declared the hearing a success... "We believe we had a victory today. ... We believe the court will provide an injunction." read story
Also see video:
12-year-old Democratic activist takes on NC governor over voting law
By Barnini Chakraborty Nov. 17, 2013 FoxNews.com
The first Republican governor to lead North Carolina in 20 years is being taken to task -- by a 12-year-old girl. The pint-sized Democratic activist, Madison Kimrey, has become somewhat of a national sensation in recent weeks after videos circulated of her railing against election laws in her home state... Kimrey, who spoke with FoxNews.com... said she simply “didn’t like what was happening in the state and wanted to take action." ...“I have always had an interest (in politics),” Kimrey said, adding, "Moral Mondays got me more active."
... the governor...turned down her request for a 15-minute meeting. Then he called her a liberal prop. “This is all … very liberal groups using children as, I think, props to push a very far-left agenda,” McCrory said during an interview on WWNC Radio in August... Kimrey responded during an Oct. 29 speech, “I am not a prop! I am part of the new generation of suffragettes, and I will not stand silent while laws are passed to reduce the amount of voter turnout by young people in my home state.”
When contacted by FoxNews.com, McCrory’s office suggested they would respond to Kimrey's charges but later said their only statement would be a “no comment.”...
Kimrey’s father, Doug Kimrey, says ... “She has her own opinions and I respect that.” When asked about the future, Kimrey...says ...“I don’t know what I want to do. “I don’t think it’s been invented yet." read article
12-year-old activist fights voter suppression
MSNBC Oct. 30, 2013
Rev. Al Sharpton interviews Madison Kimrey, a 12-year-old from [Burlington,] North Carolina who’s campaigning to get a meeting with Gov. Pat McCrory.
New NC Voting Restrictions Heavily Burden Women
NOVEMBER 5, 2013 NARAL
“Voter suppression is a critical reproductive justice issue. Because of the new voter suppression laws, hundreds of thousands of women in North Carolina could be denied the right to express themselves on issues that directly impact their lives and their futures; these issues include the right to decide whether, when and with whom to have children,” said Suzanne Buckley, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation. To learn more about how North Carolina’s new voting restrictions impact women, see Southern Coalition For Social Justice article:
NC: Women voters heavily burdened by new voting restrictions or, see NARAL post
Spinning the voter suppression law
10/29/2013 by Chris Fitzsimonm
NC Policy Watch
Governor Pat McCrory and other supporters of the sweeping voter suppression law passed by the General Assembly this summer are working hard to make sure people don’t really understand how regressive and anti-democratic the law is. They’d rather people not realize that their unmistakable goal is to make it more difficult for people to vote who are not likely to support McCrory and his far-right Republican colleagues. Many of those voters are African-American. ...
McCrory loves to talk about voter ID...
But he never talks about the other provisions in the law, the end to same-day registration at early voting sites, the reduction in the number of days for early voting, the elimination of pre-registration for 16 and 17-year olds, and not allowing college students to use their school ID at the polls. That’s not an accident. McCrory and his supporters know that only the concept of voter ID is popular with voters--as long as you don’t explain it... read article
Opinion: Voting laws like N.C.’s hurt, don’t help voters
Monday, Oct. 21, 2013
North Carolina officials on Monday publicly defended controversial voting changes [in] response to lawsuits brought by the ACLU, NAACP and the Southern Coalition for Justice. The U.S. Department of Justice is also filing suit.
The state reiterated its stand that the changes were made to fight voter fraud and ensure voting integrity--and are not voter suppression, as litigants suggest.
That’s hogwash, of course. And it was refreshing to finally hear recently two prominent jurists whose landmark rulings enabled voter ID laws nationwide to essentially admit that. Both Appeals Court Judge Richard A. Posner, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975, expressed misgivings about the impact of rulings they made affirming voter ID laws. read editorial
State denies elections law violates rights
By Laura Leslie and Matthew Burns
WRAL October 21, 2013
State officials responded Monday to two lawsuits filed over sweeping changes to elections laws, denying allegations that the legislation violates voters' rights.
The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, Common Cause of North Carolina and several individuals sued Gov. Pat McCrory and the State Board of Elections in August, alleging that regulations requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls, limiting early voting and ending same-day registration were designed to suppress voter turnout.
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a third lawsuit, alleging that North Carolina's law is racially motivated. State officials haven't yet responded to it.
McCrory and Republican lawmakers who crafted the legislation contend that North Carolina is merely trying to combat voter fraud and ensure the integrity of its elections, and they note that many other states already have similar laws for voter ID, same-day registration and other provisions in North Carolina's law. read article
Watauga Dems seek election board ousters
By Laura Leslie WRAL Oct. 9, 2013
The North Carolina State Board of Elections is reviewing a complaint by three Watauga County Democrats against the two Republican members of the Watauga County Board of Elections. read
State elections board reverses Pasquotank decision, backs Watauga ruling
September 3, 2013 N&O
By Anne Blythe
Under the glare of a national media spotlight, the North Carolina Board of Elections ruled on two cases Tuesday...
The board members unanimously agreed that an Elizabeth City State University student can run for local office, reversing a decision by the Republican-controlled Pasquotank County elections board.
But in a 4-1 vote, the state board brushed aside an attempt to overturn a Watauga County elections board decision to close an early-voting site on the Appalachian State University campus for the coming municipal election. read article
WRAL: NC elections board gives college voters split decision story/videos
Opinion: Dorm residency issue is settled NC law
August 20, 2013 By Gerry Cohen
The decision of the Pasquotank County Board of Elections to reject the city council candidacy of an Elizabeth City State University student because he lives in a dorm raises again the issue of student voting in college towns.
His candidacy in a primarily black ward was challenged by a white political party chairman. It has been settled law in North Carolina that students could vote where they go to school, specifically including a dorm, as long as they do not intend to return to their parents’ home to live after graduation. That was the unanimous N.C. Supreme Court holding in the 1979...
NC senator quits to work against GOP war on voting
Rachel Maddow MSNBC August 19, 2013
North Carolina State Senator Ellie Kinnaird talks with Rachel Maddow about why she's quitting her job as a state legislator to help grassroots activists prevent the disenfranchising effects of new Republican voter suppression laws. watch video
Winston-Salem St. polling place next on GOP hit list
by rob christensen 2013-08-19
The newly appointed Republican chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Elections says he plans to eliminate an early voting site at Winston-Salem State University, the Winston-Salem Journal reports.
Chairman Ken Raymond said he will move Tuesday to shut down the voting site at the historically black campus after hearing talk that a professor had offered students extra credit for going to the polls, which he said was a violation of the law. He offered no proof. read story
War On Student Voting Next Step For NC Republicans.
Aug 15, 2013
Rachel Maddow reports on a new phase in the North Carolina Republican war on voting rights in which they are focused on local election precincts and trying to find ways to prevent students from voting. watch 11 minute video
McCrory struggles with his own voter-suppression law
By Steve Benen MSNBC
Aug 14, 2013
Two weeks ago, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) touted the state's sweeping new voting restrictions, though he clearly struggled with the basics. The Republican governor boasted, for example, that the law allows online voter registration, which turned out to be wrong. When McCrory said new measures are intended to prevent fraud, a reporter asked what eliminating pre-registration for North Carolinians under 18 has to do with preventing fraud.
"I don't know enough, I'm sorry, I haven't seen that part of the bill," he replied.
This week, McCrory signed the most severe voter-suppression bill in the nation into law -- dismissing "scare tactics" from the "extreme left" -- but he's still confused about what it does. read article
Local BOE Goes Bonkers
August 13th, 2013
With many Republican appointees coming from the ranks of passionate tea party supporters, observers worried we might be headed into a new era of friction at the county level. Unfortunately, the actions in Watauga County yesterday legitimize those concerns. The new Republican members merged three precincts in Boone into one with about 9,500 voters, removed the Early Voting location and Election Day polling site from Appalachian State University, and rammed through other dramatic changes, despite vigorous opposition from the Democrat on the board and an audience of 60 outraged citizens. The biggest losers are college students and others in the ASU community--and the integrity of a fair election process. read article
NAACP, lawyers 'enthusiastic' about challenge to elections law
By Derek Medlin & Laura Leslie WRAL Aug. 13, 2013
A day after filing a lawsuit against Gov. Pat McCrory for his decision to sign historic elections changes into law, a team of lawyers and state NAACP President William Barber laid out their legal plan Tuesday to fight what they called "regressive, unconstitutional acts to rig and manipulate elections through voter suppression." read article/watch videos
ECSU student battles back to win seat
By Laura Leslie WRAL Oct. 10, 2013
With a solid win Tuesday in the Elizabeth City's municipal election, councilman-elect Montravias King has become the state's youngest elected official. King, 22, is a senior at Elizabeth City State University, where he's lived and voted since 2009. He was one of seven candidates to file for Ward 4, the city council seat representing the school.
It wasn't exactly a smooth road to Town Hall.
In August, Pasquotank GOP Chairman Pete Gilbert filed a challenge to King's candidacy, arguing that King's residency in a dormitory did not qualify him for candidacy as a permanent resident of the 4th ward. Despite decades of legal precedents to the contrary, the Republican majority on the Pasquotank County Board of Elections agreed with Gilbert and voted to kick King off the ballot.
King appealed to the State Board of Elections, which voted unanimously to throw out the local board's decision and put King's name back on the ballot.
Tuesday night, he won his ward easily with support from 68% of the voters, more than enough to avoid a runoff. He'll be sworn into office in December. read article
DOJ To Sue North Carolina Over Voter ID Law, Voting Restrictions
09/30/2013 by Ryan J. Reilly
The Obama administration will sue the state of North Carolina on Monday in an effort to block an array of voting restrictions passed by Republican officials this year, a source briefed on the Justice Department's plans told The Huffington Post.
The lawsuit, which will be filed on Monday and announced at a press conference featuring Attorney General Eric Holder, challenges four provisions of the voting law, known as House Bill 589 and signed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last month. Voter advocates have criticized the law as one of the most restrictive voting measures passed since the civil rights era. read article
Dark Chapter In Nortrh Carolina Voting Success Story
August 22, 2013 MSNBC
Rachel Maddow reports on North Carolina’s success in improving voter turnout and ease of voting through the 2008 election and the sudden change in direction (and ruling party) when wealthy Republican backer, Art Pope, turned the tide in 2010 allowing a Republican take-over of the state government and a wave of regressive legislation, including voter suppression. watch video
What the voting law does
August 12, 2013
The state’s new election law changes when people can vote and how they can vote. It also changes campaign financing and disclosure laws. Here are some of the major provisions and when they begin. see bullet points
Election changes coming in 2014, 2016
By Mark Binker
August 12, 2013
The rules for voting in North Carolina are about to change. House Bill 589, which has passed the General Assembly has been signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, will require voters to show photo identification when they go to the polls starting in 2016. It also makes dozens of other changes to how the state conducts elections, which will start taking effect this fall and continue through 2014 and beyond. read detailed article/watch video of McCrory explaining
Hillary Clinton Calls For Election Reform, Condemns States' 'Assault On Voting Rights'
By PAUL ELIAS Huffington Post 08/13/13
Potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton kicked off a series of speeches on Monday with a call to combat what she called an "assault on voting rights."
She spent most of her 45-minute talk to about 1,000 members of the American Bar Association assailing a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a significant part of the Voting Rights Act and discussing what she sees as "deep flaws in our electoral system" as it relates to racial discrimination at the polls...
She called on lawmakers to pass legislation countering the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a requirement that 15 states get approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before changing election systems. read/watch video
Photo ID discriminates against minorities
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Reporter: Lisa Millar
New rules in North Carolina which compel voters to produce photo identification have outraged black Americans who say it will suppress the vote of minorities. watch video
Hagan calls for DOJ review of new voting law August 13, 2013 by Sharon McCloskey
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan sent a letter today to Attorney General Eric Holder, calling for a Justice Department review of the voting law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory yesterday. In the letter, Hagan identifies the many provisions of the law which, she says, may “restrict the ability of minorities, seniors, students, the disabled and low- and middle-income citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”
Read her letter here.
NC Governor Signs Voter ID Bill, Lawsuit Filed
Aug 12, 2013 The Associated Press WFMY News 2
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law a fiercely contested initiative making sweeping changes in how and when the state's voters can cast their ballots.
Hours after Monday's signing, the American Civil Liberties Union announced it and two other groups had filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation... on behalf of a 92 year-old calling the law discriminatory. Attorneys representing the woman released this statement: "Our plaintiff, 92-year-old Rosanell Eaton, was one of the first African Americans to vote in North Carolina, registering in the 1940s in the days of literacy tests and violent intimidation from the Ku Klux Klan. Despite having voted for more than 70 years, under the new law's photo ID requirement she may not be able to vote in the next election. read article
92-year-old black woman sues just hours after North Carolina gov. signs voter ID law
The Raw Story By David Edwards August 13, 2013
Just hours after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed a sweeping voter ID measure into law, a 92-year-old African-American woman has sued the state claiming that her constitutional rights had been violated.
At a bill signing with no formal ceremony on Monday, McCrory quietly signed the Republican bill that will require a voters to present a government-issued ID, cuts early voting days, stops same-day registration, ends “straight ticket” party voting, makes it harder for students to vote and gives poll watchers new powers for challenging voters.
The first lawsuit, filed by the NAACP, says that 92-year-old Rosanell Eaton will be disenfranchised after voting for 70 years. read article
NAACP, others seek sit-down with McCrory
By Laura Leslie Aug 5, 2013 WRAL
...State NAACP President Rev. William Barber asked McCrory in a letter last Thursday to veto House Bill 589, the elections omnibus that includes voter identification requirements and host of other major changes to state voting and campaign laws... Barber said Monday that follow-up calls to the Governor's Office have not been successful.
At a press conference on the final day of legislative session, July 26, McCrory said he would sign the bill. But when questioned by a reporter about other parts of the bill, McCrory admitted he was not familiar with all of it.
The elections bill is one of 38 currently on McCrory's desk. The governor has until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 25 to take action on them. If he doesn't sign or veto them, they will become law without his signature.
...McCrory said in June that he had no wish to meet with the protesters. Last month, he told the Wilson Times he "go[es] out in the crowd all the time" at the protests, but there have been no reports of any such appearances. read article
McCrory not familiar with all of bill he's to sign
WRAL July 27, 2013
By MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he will sign into law a Republican-backed bill making sweeping changes to how and when citizens can vote even though he has not seen one of its key provisions. ...McCrory was...asked specifically about the provision ending pre-registration by those under 18. "I don't know enough, I'm sorry, I haven't seen that part of the bill," McCrory replied...
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, sent McCrory a letter urging him to veto the bill.
"For years, North Carolina has taken steps that encourage people to vote while maintaining the integrity of the system," Cooper wrote. "With a veto, you can encourage more people to be involved in the political process, stop this bad public policy, and prevent the confusion and cost of a legal battle." read article
Voting Rights Advocates Occupy NC Speaker's Office, 6 Arrested After Historic Vote in NC Senate
StoryofAmerica Jul 25, 2013
After a sweeping voting restrictions bill passed the NC state Senate, about 12 members of the Forward Together coalition (Moral Monday) left the Senate gallery and occupied the office of House Speaker Thom Tillis. They said they would not leave until they got a meeting with the Speaker, and, he agreed to block the advancement of the bill. The General Assembly police arrived and arrested 6 of the activists...watch video
Senate backs sweeping elections bill
By Matthew Burns
WRAL July 24, 2013
The Senate gave key approval Wednesday to legislation that radically alters how voting will be conducted in North Carolina in future elections.
House Bill 589 passed by a 32-14 vote. A final vote is expected Thursday, and the House would then have to agree with the myriad changes the Senate made to what started out as a measure to require voters to show photo identification at the polls...
The extreme makeover of the bill...prompted a sit-in in Speaker Thom Tillis' office by protesters demanding that the proposals be scrapped.Six people were arrested, police said. read article/watch video
Opponents warn of chaos if early voting cut
By Matthew Burns and Renee Chou
July 23, 2013 WRAL
...House Bill 589, which has been sitting idle for three months since the House approved it, has undergone an extreme makeover and now includes a raft of elections provision beyond the initial voter ID proposal.
The legislation now proposes to shorten the two-and-a-half week early voting period by a week, prohibit counties from extending early voting on the Saturday before Election Day to accommodate crowds and eliminate same-day voter registration during early voting. read article
Rachel Maddow: Pink Flamingos Send Message to NC Republican Legislators
MSNBC July 23, 2013
The Senate Rules Committee rolls out an election omnibus later this afternoon.
WRAL.com will carry it live at 2 p.m. Check the Video Central box.
From Josh Stein:
... a proposed committee substitute on the voter ID bill that turns a 14 page bill into a 57 page elections bill monstrosity. The bill still does not allow college IDs and continues to force someone to go to the county board of elections after the election if they do not have an ID. It will keeps tens of thousands of registered voters from participating in their democracy because of two instances of in person voter fraud out of more than 20 million votes cast over past 6 elections in NC.
If anyone had any doubt about the bill's intent to suppress voters, all he/she has to do is read it. The bill now does the following:
*shortens early voting by 1 week,
*eliminates same day registration and provisional voting if at wrong precinct,
*prevents counties from offering voting on last Saturday before the election beyond 1 pm,
*prevents counties from extending poll hours by one hour on election day in extraordinary circumstances (like lengthy lines),
*eliminates state supported voter registration drives and preregistration for 16/17 year olds,
*repeals voter owned judicial elections and straight party voting,
*increases number of people who can challenge voters inside the precinct, and
*purges voter rolls more often...
GOP embraces mythic 'missing white voter' theory
July, 2 2013
Chris Hayes talks about the Republican's magical thinking on white voters and North Carolina's efforts to suppress the black vote with Tim Carney and North Carolina State Representative Larry Hall.
see video (Rep. Hall starts about 10 minutes in)
Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Part of Voting Rights Act
By ADAM LIPTAK June 25, 2013
The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, ruling that Congress had not provided adequate justification for subjecting nine states, mostly in the South, to federal oversight.
read article/watch voting rights history video
What Shelby County means for North Carolina
NC Policy Watch
6/26/2013 by Sharon McCloskey
...Just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court...gutted the requirement that certain states and local governments get Justice Department approval of proposed voting changes, Republican lawmakers here promised quick passage of a voting bill that would set the state back decades.
“Now we can go with the full bill,” Senator Tom Apodaca told WRAL, referring to an omnibus voting bill that would do more than just require voter ID; it would reduce early voting, eliminate Sunday voting and ban same-day registration.
But voters’ rights advocates called the Court’s decision a setback for democracy. “We can’t allow discrimination at the ballot box and must prevent minorities from having their votes purged, packed, gerrymandered, and redistricted away,” said Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. ”... As the Court acknowledged, voting discrimination still exists and Congress may draft another coverage formula. We urge Congress to act with urgency and on a bipartisan basis to protect voting rights for minorities.” read article
North Carolina Voting Restrictions: What's the real agenda?
May 28, 2013
By speaking out, a 25-year veteran of the Guilford County Board of Elections may help to preserve the integrity of the voting process in North Carolina.
George Gilbert of Greensboro, NC served as Chairman of the Guildford County Board of Elections through 2012, supervising 7 presidential elections. watch video
Say yes to nonpartisan redistricting - Support H606!
July 11, 2013
This past Monday, a panel of state judges upheld the redistricting maps drawn by the state legislature for North Carolina’s Congressional and legislative seats.
Democracy North Carolina challenged these maps with other nonpartisan groups and voters because they used race as a basis for creating crazy-shaped districts and hundreds of split precincts. The maps “pack” African American voters into districts to make neighboring districts whiter; they segregate voters and undermine the potential for multi-racial collaboration...
Let’s start today. Contact your legislators and ask them to move forward with H-606, which would require a non-partisan process for future redistricting. This bill has broad support from civic groups on both ends of the political spectrum and a majority of voters. But some powerful political leaders are blocking progress. You can read more about the bill and the coalition here...
Read full letter from Democracy NC
NAACP ready to challenge any changes to NC voting laws
WRAL By Beau Minnick June 26, 2013
Leaders of the state chapter of the NAACP said Wednesday that they are prepared to challenge any changes to North Carolina's voting laws in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down part of the landmark Voting Rights Act...
"This bad ruling of the ultra-conservative justices on the Supreme Court attacks the very heart of our democracy," said Rev. William Barber, state president of the NAACP..."Saying that the high turnout of African-Americans is proof that the Voting Rights Act is not needed is to miss the point. The turnout is high because of the protection of the Voting Rights Act," Barber said. read article
Freed of federal oversight, NC could change range of voting laws
WRAL June 25, 2013
Voter identification legislation in North Carolina will pick up steam again now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down part of the Voting Rights Act.
Voting Rights Act Brought Major Economic Benefits
These regressive trends can be turned around. But that will require the mobilization of an expansive political movement, sufficiently inclusive to attract Hispanics, low-income white southerners and African-Americans.
By Gavin Wright Bloomberg June 26, 2013
The Supreme Court’s rejection...of a central element of the 1965 Voting Rights Act took aim at a measure that not only broke down barriers to political participation in the South but also made significant contributions to the economic wellbeing of black southerners and to the region as a whole...A comparative study of North Carolina (where only 40 counties were covered by the act) found that VRA counties recorded greater increases in black voting and elected officials, experienced faster growth in black incomes and occupational status, and attracted more revenue from both county and outside government sources. read article
Perri Morgan, Associate Professor at Duke University School of Medicine, is escorted by police to a Inmates Transfer bus following an act of civil disobedience condemning the Republican legislature's agenda
April 29, 2013
In the strongest statement so far against the Republican legislature, a group of 50 protestors marched into the legislative building Monday and blocked the tall gilded doors to the N.C. Senate chamber in an act of civil disobedience that led to 17 arrests.
N.C. NAACP President William Barber led the protest, standing in the rotunda on the second floor to read an indictment against the Republican-led legislature for denying Medicaid coverage to as many as 500,000 poor people, cutting unemployment benefits and proposing legislation to divert money from public education and require a voter ID at the polls. read article
See all NAACP news on our Taking Back North Carolina page
April 29, 2013
...at the General Assembly today at 5 p.m. State NAACP President William Barber issued the "call to nonviolent civil disobedience" over the weekend, through a news release and at a prayer service on Sunday night. According to reports from Sunday's service, the NAACP is hoping for 50 people to participate in the stand-in and possibly be arrested. The group is pushing back against a number of policies, including legislation that would require voters to show photo ID when they go to the polls. original post
By Matthew Burns
April 24, 2013Presenting photo identification before being able to vote in North Carolina moved a step closer to reality Wednesday when the House approved a Republican-backed proposal.
House Bill 589 passed on an 81-36 vote and now moves to the Senate...
Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, recalled the civil rights struggles of a half-century ago and said creating a new qualification for voting is unconstitutional.
"What you're doing is putting another impediment in there," Michaux said. "You're going to be faced with a myriad of lawsuits that you're not going to be able to defend." read article
April 19th, 2013
A new State Board of Elections analysis pinpoints who will be most harmed by a photo ID law. It says 318,643 out of 6.4 million voters don’t appear to have a NC driver’s license or identity card from the Division of Motor Vehicles. African Americans are a disproportionate share of this group. They’re 23% of all registered voters but 34% of the voters without a NC photo ID.
...An ID requirement won’t hurt most voters. But it will add another hassle and push away the infrequent, lower-income voter with many other worries (who still has constitutional rights and deserves your respect!) The numbers show the strict ID barrier will hit black voters hardest and especially affect their participation in a hot presidential election... read article
April 17th, 2013
A survey by an independent polling firm adds new insights into how North Carolinians view a proposed photo ID requirement for voters. The poll by Survey USA indicates that 75% of NC voters favor a photo ID bill, but only a third think passing it should be a high priority. Also, 70% say a registered voter should not be turned away if she signs an attestation and provides a verifiable identifying number, such as a date of birth or Social Security number. House Bill 589 does not include this back-up option. It lets voters without a photo ID cast a provisional ballot, but the ballot won’t count unless the voter returns after Election Day and shows officials a government photo ID. read article
by rob christensen on 2013-04-05
The Rev William Barber, president of the state NAACP, accused House Speaker Thom Tillis of stooping “to a new moral low ground” by introducing a voter ID bill on the 45th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
Barber rejected Tillis' suggestion that the bill was a compromise because it offers free voter IDS and birth certificates to those in financial need.
He said the costs of finding such documents as birth certificates will only be covered if the person was born in North Carolina.
”Citizens born elsewhere will still have to shell out time and money to obtain their birth certificates,'' Barber said. ...
“Any tax on any citizen who wants to vote - rich, poor, young, old, black, white or brown - is unconstitutional,'' Barber said. “In 1964, the United States passed the 24th Constitutional Amendment that outlawed $2 poll tax, and "any other taxes" to vote. Whether or not someone can afford the poll tax is irrelevant. The bill is clearly unconstitutional.'' full post
By Laura Leslie
April 5, 2013
Some legal experts say charging people for photo identification cards in order to vote in North Carolina might violate the state constitution.
House Republican leaders unveiled their proposal Thursday for a voter ID law, and they plan to hold a public hearing on the legislation next Wednesday before beginning debate on it. read article
By Laura Leslie and Bruce Mildwurf
April 4, 2013
House Speaker Thom Tillis and Republican House leaders have filed a new proposal to require photo identification for voters.
House Bill 589, entitled the Voter Information Verification Act, or VIVA, was filed Thursday afternoon, after what Tillis said was "a transparent and deliberative process" of seeking public input...House Minority Leader Larry Hall said he believes voter ID creates barriers to a constitutional right."This is a pay-to-vote type of situation," said Hall, D-Durham...read article
April 4th, 2013
NC House Republicans rolled out their long-awaited photo ID bill today, complete with a press conference and an initial round of responses from ID opponents. At its core, H-589 follows the model of the Republican bill (H-351) that Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed in 2011...Despite some charming sounds from the bells and whistles, the photo ID legislation is still a giant waste of money and creates more problems than it solves. read article
By Mark Binker
March 15, 2013
North Carolina lawmakers have begun drafting a bill that would require voters to show photo identification when they go to the polls. WRAL News answers some common questions and misconceptions from both sides of the issue. read Q&A
by Chris Fitzsimon
21 million--estimated number of votes cast in North Carolina elections in the last 12 years (Testimony Before North Carolina Assembly Committee on Voter ID on March 13 by Keesha Gaskins, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law)
1--number of cases of voter impersonation fraud that occurred in North Carolina in the last 12 years according to the State Board of Elections (Ibid)
5--number of votes per million cast in North Carolina from 2004 to 2010 that involved fraud that a voter ID law MAY have prevented according to investigations by the State Board of Elections (“The Facts About Voter ID,” Democracy North Carolina)
86--total number of convictions for improper voting found in five-year national investigation by of tens of millions of votes by the U.S. Department under the administration of President George W. Bush (“In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud,” New York Times, April 12, 2007)
500,000--estimate number of people in North Carolina may not have a current NC driver’s license or state-issue photo ID card according to the State Board of Elections (Democracy North Carolina)
22--percentage of currently active North Carolina voters who are African-American (“Who Doesn’t Have a Photo ID?” Democracy North Carolina)
32--percentage of active voters without a valid NC photo ID who are African-American (Ibid)
see the rest
April 28, 2013
Rev. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP, talks to Up host Steve Kornacki about voting rights advocates’ legal and organizing strategies against a voter ID bill in North Carolina. watch video
April 22, 2013
By Jody L. Herman and Holning Lau
The voter ID bill introduced by N.C. House Republicans has generated a great deal of attention on how the law would make voting more onerous for low-income communities, the elderly and people with disabilities. We should add transgender citizens to that list because their rights to the ballot box are in danger, too. read article
April 5, 2013
(click photo to play video)
April 8, 2013
MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry and guests give very good summary of what's going on in NC now.
Watch above NAACP video on the urgent situation regarding voting rights.
Join us in asking North Carolina lawmakers to keep voting free, fair, and accessible for all eligible voters. Say NO to voter ID!
April 1, 2013 by Rob Schofield
The folks at Progress NC released new poll results this morning that show North Carolinians overwhelmingly (78%-18%)support early voting. The poll also found a sizable majority (53% – 43%) supports limited Sunday voting as well.
The new results stand in sharp contrast to new legislation introduced at the General Assembly to shorten early voting, end Sunday voting and do away with same-day registration. The wags at Progress NC have dubbed the new bill (appropriately it would appear) the “Longer Lines to Vote Act.” NC Policy Watch
Read the poll results by clicking here.
By Matthew Burns and Laura Leslie
March 29, 2013
Using Easter imagery, various voting rights groups railed Friday against proposals to cut back early voting and eliminate same-day registration in North Carolina.
Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, and Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, filed bills this week that would reduce the early voting period from two weeks to one and eliminate same-day voter registration. Starnes' proposal also would outlaw early voting on Sunday and straight-ticket voting. "The legislature is trying to crucify voting rights in this state," said Rev. William Barber, state NAACP president. read article
March 27, 2013
In case you’ve been waiting to see the much anticipated “Screw the Voter Act of 2013,” it was filed today by Rep. Edgar Starnes, NC House Majority Leader. House Bill 451 creates new barriers to Early Voting... read article
In a time when numerous states are considering or have already enacted legislation to restrict or suppress voter participation, Congressman John Lewis (GA) and 165 of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced H.R. 12, the Voter Empowerment Act. Senator Kristen Gillibrand (NY) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S. 123). This important legislation would expand and protect voters’ access to the polls and would increase accountability and integrity among election officials and poll workers. It also would expand eligibility to allow all ex-offenders who have been released from prison (even those who may still be on probation or parole) to register and vote in federal elections.
For more information on this legislation, or how you can advocate for it with your federally elected officials, please review the Action Alert.
Director, NAACP Washington Bureau &
Senior VP for Advocacy and Policy
(202) 463-2940 read article
By Laura Leslie
March 16, 2013
State House Speaker Thom Tillis signaled what could be a change in messaging on voter ID Saturday--and dropped some hints about the details of upcoming legislation--during an appearance on MSNBC...Tillis was invited to appear to address his party's push for a photo voter ID law in North Carolina.
MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin quizzed Tillis about the scant evidence of actual voter fraud in the state..."There is some evidence of voter fraud, but that's not the primary reason for doing this," Tillis told Melvin.
"We call this restoring confidence in government," Tillis said. "There are a lot of people who are just concerned with the potential risk of fraud." He added a voter ID law "would make nearly three-quarters of the population more comfortable and more confident when they go to the polls." read article
By Cullen Browder
March 7, 2013
Two days after Republicans mapped out their plan to pass a law requiring North Carolina voters to present a photo to cast a ballot, the NAACP attacked the idea as just another poll tax to restrict voters.
The NAACP joined other voting-rights groups Thursday to protest the voter ID proposal, contending that it will unfairly exclude thousands of registered voters who don't have a photo ID, especially minorities, students and the elderly. read article
March 12, 2013
By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Citizens and advocates admonished House Republicans on Tuesday not to push ahead with requiring people to show photo identification before casting ballots, saying the mandate would discourage black residents, older adults, students and the disabled from voting...
At a public hearing lasting about four hours, the strong majority of speakers before the House Elections Committee opposed a similar effort that the GOP majority in the General Assembly approved in 2011 but was vetoed by then-Gov. Beverly Perdue.
...While many speakers praised Republican leaders for a deliberative process, they didn't mince words at the microphone. Supporters dismissed GOP arguments that requiring photo identification at the polls would discourage voter fraud. Opponents repeatedly mentioned data showing that very few cases of fraud have occurred and the potential costs of providing ID cards to people who don't have them or a current edition, suggesting it could cost millions of dollars. read story, see video
Write a Letter to the Editor Against Voter Photo ID!
Click Here for a list of newspapers in your area, a submit box, and talking points you can use to craft your letter.
Here goes most of Early Voting and Same-Day Registration!
Write your representatives in the General Assembly. We need to express outrage! Without these, imagine what Election Day will be like--
From Democracy NC on March 27th:
Bill to Promote Voter Fraud
In case you’ve been waiting to see the much anticipated “Screw the Voter Act of 2013,” it was filed today by Rep. Edgar Starnes, NC House Majority Leader... This is actually a bill to Promote Voter Fraud! House Bill 451 creates new barriers to Early Voting, which will put more pressure on Election Day and cause longer lines, more hassles, and more mistakes. But it makes it easier to vote using mail-in absentee ballots, which is actually the way most voter fraud is committed! more
Devil Dems on Voter ID
By Mark Binker
April 18, 2013
...The House Finance Committee passed the bill Thursday morning...The current draft of the bill does away with a requirement that someone sign under threat of perjury that they cannot afford an ID. The next stop for the bill will be the House Appropriations Committee. It is expected to be heard by the full House on April 24.
A fiscal analysis ...showed the state would spend less than $1 million on free ID cards...in the first year the photo ID requirement was in effect [and] spending another $2.5 million over the next four years on voter outreach efforts.
Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, raised an objection that students in his district who attend Duke University and North Carolina Central University would be treated differently. N.C. Central students would be able to use their student ID cards in order to vote, but Duke students would not.
"There's no logical reason a Duke ID isn't as good as NCCU ID," Luebke said. "I think you're just trying to keep people from voting." read article
Is a photo ID law
January 17, 2013
Legislators are coming back to Raleigh in less than two weeks, and so is an issue Democracy NC has long opposed: photo ID for voters.
In 2011 and 2012, we and our allies stopped one of the most extreme photo ID bills in the nation (H351) from becoming law by convincing Gov. Perdue to veto the legislation. However, Gov. Pat McCrory has said he will sign a bill as soon as possible.
But the rush to adopt a photo ID requirement is hitting new snags. Why? Because the courts and U.S.. Justice Department have blocked new photo ID laws in other states that are unfair and discriminatory. And because a new report from the NC State Board of Elections reveals that hundreds of thousands of active NC voters don’t have a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID card.
GET A FACTSHEET FROM DEMOCRACY NORTH CAROLINA HERE.
WRAL article: Board: 556,513 voters have no record of a DMV-issued ID
...The Voting Rights Act was first passed in 1965, outlawing discriminatory electoral practices. Section 5 -- a key provision in the act-- requires certain states and localities that have a history of racial discrimination to receive approval from the Justice Department before changing election procedures. ...Congress reauthorized the VRA in 2006 with overwhelming bipartisan backing;...At the time, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- who was then the majority leader -- praised the VRA as "an effective tool in protecting a right that is fundamental to our democracy."
...Section 5 is what is most at issue before the Supreme Court this term. Observers worry that justices may argue Section 5 is unconstitutional and send it back to Congress to make it easier for states to skirt the requirement or update the formula dictating which areas are subject to preclearance. read article
Brian Harkin The New York Times
March 7, 2013
Emerging from the bloody protests in Selma, Ala., the Voting Rights Act was initially heralded as a declaration that the federal government would no longer tolerate the open racism of the segregated South. But this narrow mandate to monitor elections in six Southern states grew quietly over the years, extending to unexpected corners of the country, including the Bronx.
The borough landed on the list of places to be monitored more than four decades ago, along with Brooklyn and Manhattan, when the statewide English-language literacy test required of voters suppressed participation in Hispanic and black neighborhoods around the city to rates low enough to prompt federal intervention
... In a brief in the case now before the justices, New York City officials contended that the oversight “imposes no undue burden on covered jurisdictions,” saying that the process for submitting changes for federal approval is clear and routine, and that any change must be researched and documented anyway under state and local laws. read article
Conservative justices on on the Supreme Court expressed skepticism Wednesday about whether the federal government should still be requiring preclearance of voting system changes in certain places with a history of racial discrimination in elections. read article
Nation Of Change
by Ofari Hutchinson
Feb. 24, 2013
One of the GOP’s fondest wishes has been to kill the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. Twice it floated several trial balloons in Congress. The first one was in 1981 when the Act came up for renewal. The deal in the initial passage of the Act was that it be renewed every 25 years. read article
State NAACP President Rev. William Barber... calls voter ID initiatives "national propaganda efforts by the far-right to justify the obvious tactic to suppress the votes of minorities, youth, disabled and the elderly," and urges Republican legislative leaders to abandon their push for such a law in North Carolina.
Rep. Michael Speciale sent in response [an email] in which he accused Barber of tarnishing the "proud history" of the NAACP.
"You do minorities and the elderly a disservice when you assume that they are incapable or incompetent to the point that they cannot provide a photo ID to vote," Speciale wrote. "Your comments, both today and in the past are racist and inappropriate." ....
"If a policy is going to have a disparate impact upon blacks (and) minorities, we're going to call it what it is," Barber said. "That is why we call it systemic racism." read article
The American Prospect
Jan. 28, 2013
When Tea Party Republicans swept into power in 26 states in the 2010 midterms, voting restrictions suddenly became an urgent legislative priority.
This was nowhere more obvious than in North Carolina read article
By Matthew Burns and Cullen Browder
March 5, 2013
Republican House leaders said Tuesday that legislation requiring voters to present photo identification before casting a ballot will undergo weeks of deliberation and review before being filed in late March...Still, Democrats quickly blasted the idea of requiring an ID to vote, saying instances of voter fraud in North Carolina are rare. They suggested it is, instead, a way to keep Democratic-leaning voters from casting ballots.
Democratic Women of Durham County (DWDC), PO Box 377, Durham, NC 27702 firstname.lastname@example.org webmaster