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In case you missed it over the weekend, one of the nation’s sharpest experts on voting and voter suppression efforts, Prof. Richard Hasen of the University of California, Irvine, (click here to see Hasen interviewed on “News and Views”) had an excellent editorial in the New York Times entitled: “Voter Suppression’s New Pretext.”

He cites North Carolina’s now banished GOP official Don Yelton in the article:

“Unlike with race-based discrimination, which, if proved, could violate both the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution, the Supreme Court has refused to recognize a standard for policing even nakedly partisan gerrymandering.

But now, supporters of strict voter-ID, registration and other voting laws are trying to use the same defense they have used to defend gerrymandering. Read More

Bob HallThe state’s leading  independent elections law analyst and advocate, Bob Hall of Democracy NC, released the following statement (and data) this morning in response  to the U.S. Justice Department’s announcment that it will sue the state of North Carolina over the racially discriminatory impact of new voter suppression laws:

“Democracy North Carolina applauds the decision of the US Department of Justice to file suit against key provisions of North Carolina’s new anti-voter law, HB-589. We welcome a vigorous challenge to a law designed to push away certain voters and rig the election system to benefit incumbent politicians.

North Carolina has a sad history of voter suppression, stemming from the Jim Crow laws adopted by Democrats over 100 years ago that included the poll tax, literacy tests and other measures aimed at pushing away African Americans and low-income white voters. As a result of those laws and intimidating practices, North Carolina ranked in the bottom 12 states for voter turnout throughout the entire Twentieth Century.

Since 2000, voter participation has finally begun to increase for all parties and demographic groups, thanks to Early Voting, Same-Day Registration, and other measures that make voting more accessible yet secure. In 2008, North Carolina climbed to 22nd among the 50 states for voter turnout among eligible citizens, and in 2012 we ranked 11th, a modern record.

Republican lawmakers had clear evidence that their proposals would harm African American voters more than white voters, yet they intentionally chose to adopt those provisions. Read More

Despite recent action by the State Board of Elections overturning the efforts of Pasquotank County officials to prevent an Elizabeth City State University student from running for office, activists at NC Vote Defenders report that all is not yet hunky dory for ECSU students seeking to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

As the activist group reported yesterday on its website:

It’s Already Started: Student Voter Suppression Hits NC on the First Day of Early Voting Read More

From the good people at Common Cause NC:

North Carolina kills pre-registration law as Colorado enacts its own.

As North Carolina repeals the law allowing 16 & 17 year olds to pre-register to vote, Colorado becomes the 9th state in the nation to adopt such a law.

Earlier this month, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law the bill (H589) to end the pre-registration program, five days after Colorado’s new law went into effect.

“It’s a real mystery why the legislature and the Governor feel a program that enhanced high school civics education and allowed 16 & 17 year olds to pre-register to vote has to end,” said Bob Phillips, Common Cause North Carolina executive director.  

“The program was virtually cost free and helped young people understand the importance of voting. How can that possibly be a bad thing?”   Read More

Rev. barber 2Invoking the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech to “go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana,” North Carolina NAACP President William Barber urged civil rights advocates around the country to “go back to North Carolina” at press event today in Durham. Speaking as the nation prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Barber told the assembled audience that “North Carolina is our Selma of today” in the nation’s centuries-old battle for civil rights.

In a wide-ranging talk that focused mostly on the activities of local boards of elections to restrict college student voting in the aftermath of the passage of the so-called “Monster” voter suppression bill, Barber announced that the NAACP would be sponsoring 13 separate Forward Together Movement rallies next Wednesday August 28 (the actual 50th anniversary of the ’63 march) in each of the state’s 13 congressional districts – see below for details.

He also announced along with NAACP attorney Jamie Phillips that the NAACP had established a new toll-free hotline that North Carolinians can call with concerns about voting and voting rights. The number is Read More