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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Voting Rights

GREENSBORO, N.C. –The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice today filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s voter suppression law signed hours ago by Gov. Pat McCrory. The suit specifically targets provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit “out-of-precinct” voting. It seeks to stop North Carolina from enacting these provisions, arguing that they would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several North Carolinians who will face substantial hardship under the law, and on behalf of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, North Carolina Common Cause, and Unifour Onestop Collaborative, whose efforts to promote voter participation in future elections will be severely hampered if the measure takes effect.

 “This law is a disaster. Eliminating a huge part of early voting will cut off voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of citizens. It will turn Election Day into a mess, shoving more voters into even longer lines,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “Florida similarly eliminated a week of early voting before the 2012 election, and we all know how that turned out – voters standing in line for hours, some having to wait until after the president’s acceptance speech to finally vote, and hundreds of thousands giving up in frustration. Those burdens fell disproportionately on African-American voters, and the same thing will happen in North Carolina. We should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder.”

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RALEIGH – Today, in a 5-4 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress revisits the formula used to determine which states and localities require federal approval to change voting laws.

Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, released the following statement:

“The Voting Rights Act is one of the most important civil rights laws in American history and has played a vital role in protecting the voting rights of North Carolinians from its passage in 1965 to the present. With attempts to suppress voting becoming more common and more sophisticated across the country, and North Carolina’s legislature poised to approve legislation that will make it harder for thousands of eligible state voters to cast a ballot by requiring forms of ID that many North Carolinians lack and cannot easily obtain, the need for such protections is more urgent than ever. Unless Congress acts promptly to make sure that the federal government has the tools it needs to protect voting rights, today’s decision could leave many North Carolinians vulnerable to attempts to exclude them from the democratic process. We urge Congress to act without delay.”

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RALEIGH – After the North Carolina House of Representatives today passed H.B. 589, a bill that would make it harder for potentially hundreds of thousands of eligible North Carolina voters to cast a ballot by requiring a photo ID to vote, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) released the following statement: 

“We all agree that it’s important to protect the integrity of our voting system, but putting up barriers that will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of eligible North Carolinians to vote is not the answer,” said ACLU-NC Policy Director Sarah Preston. “We urge the Senate to reject this proposal and instead take steps to ensure that all eligible voters in our state are able to exercise their fundamental right to vote without having to face any additional obstacles.” 

According to a recent Survey USA poll, 91 percent of voters say voting should be “free, fair, and accessible” to all North Carolina citizens. The same poll found strong majority support for allowing voters to sign a sworn statement affirming their identity rather than having to show a photo ID.  

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At a press conference at the North Carolina General Assembly this morning, the ACLU of North Carolina and other organizations committed to protecting voting rights unveiled a new website -- ProtectOurVoteNC.com -- and public service announcement aimed at educating the public about how a law requiring voters to show photo ID would make it harder for thousands of eligible voters to participatre in our democracy.

The process of obtaining a state-issued photo ID requires time and money that many North Carolinians — especially low-income, disabled, and elderly voters — don’t have. It may sound simple, but in reality, it’s costly and complicated. According to the North Carolina Board of Elections, more than 600,000 eligible voters may not possess a state-issued photo ID.

The North Carolina General Assembly passed a so-called "voter ID" law in 2011, but the legislation was ultimately vetoed by then-Gov. Beverly Perdue.

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