• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.

Voting Rights

Voting is the cornerstone of democracy. And yet, throughout our history we have excluded indispensable voices from this fundamental right. African-Americans, women and young people all risked their lives for and eventually gained the right to vote. Voter turnout in the 2008 election was the most racially diverse in American history, closing the longstanding gap between white and minority voter participation. In response to this historic moment, however, lawmakers nationwide have erected more barriers to the ballot box. 

By Faith Barksdale, Legal Assistant, ACLU

We know that cuts to early voting are bad for voters. But just how bad are they?

As part of our lawsuit against North Carolina's voter suppression bill, we asked Ted Allen, a professor of industrial engineering at Ohio State University, and Paul Gronke, a political science professor at Reed College, to crunch some numbers. Both found that shorter early voting periods translate to longer lines and less voters.

During the 2012 general election, over one-half of North Carolinians voted early, with about 900,000 ballots cast during the seven days of early voting that have now been eliminated. If just four percent of those voters showed up on Election Day, waiting times to vote would have more than doubled, according to Allen, who literally wrote the textbook on lines and waiting times to vote.

...

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A federal court today ordered North Carolina state lawmakers to release some e-mails and other documents related to the passage of the state's sweeping voter suppression law. It also rejected North Carolina’s argument that legislators have absolute immunity to keep their documents from the public.  The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a motion to compel the release of that information after lawmakers refused to do so citing "legislative immunity."

"North Carolinians have a right to know what motivated their lawmakers to make it harder for them to vote," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "Legislators should not be shrouding their intentions in secrecy. The people deserve better."

Immediately after Gov. Pat McCrory signed the voter suppression bill into law last August, the ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed their legal challenge. The suit targets provisions that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. The groups charge that enacting these provisions 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 editorial boards for two of North Carolina’s largest newspapers, the Raleigh News & Observer and the Winston-Salem Journal, have joined the ACLU of North Carolina and our allies in calling on leaders of the General Assembly to release all emails and other correspondence concerning last year’s passage of the worst voter suppression law in the country.

The ACLU of North Carolina and other organizations who are challenging the law in federal court are seeking the communications in order to help determine the extent to which legislators discussed and were aware of the disproportionate impact the voter suppression law would have on African Americans and other minority groups. The new law, for example, shortens early voting in North Carolina by an entire week, which more than 70 percent of African-American voters used to cast their ballot during the 2008 and 2012 elections. The law also ends same-day voter registration, which African-American voters disproportionately relied upon in previous elections as well.

House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate President pro tem Phil Berger and 11 other Republican legislators who played a role in advancing the legislation are arguing that they don’t have to release their correspondence, claiming “legislative immunity.”

...

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A federal judge today ruled that a trial over North Carolina's sweeping voter suppression law will be held in 2015. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joi Peake also said the court would hear requests this summer for an injunction to halt some or all of the law's provisions from taking effect until after the trial. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which challenged the law in August, sought judicial review in time for voters to participate in the crucial 2014 midterm elections. In contrast, North Carolina asked the court to delay the trial date well into 2015.

"We will continue to vigorously push for voters to have a chance to participate in next year's elections without having to encounter the unnecessary hardships imposed by this law," said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation.

The ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice's lawsuit targets provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. The groups charge that enacting these provisions 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.

...

Democracy Can't Wait

Posted on in Voting Rights

By Dale Ho, Director, ACLU Voting Rights Project

Today, the state of North Carolina will try to convince a judge to postpone a trial concerning the country's worst voter suppression law until after the 2014 midterm elections. The state's reason: So that it can carry out the elections under a regime that would burden thousands of eligible voters before the court has a chance to determine whether it violates federal law.

The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice are challenging the law which cuts early voting by a week, gets rid of same-day voter registration, and imposes a new voter ID requirement. Voters are also no longer allowed to cast provisional ballots for upper-ticket races like the U.S. Senate if they show up at the wrong polling place or get in the wrong precinct line to vote. Proponents of the law (including Governor Pat McCrory) say that the changes are necessary to improve the integrity of elections. Aside from trying to address the almost-nonexistent rate of voter fraud in North Carolina, there's absolutely no evidence that cutting a week of early voting gets at election integrity.

...