Upcoming Events

On Display: "ACLU of North Carolina: Fifty Years of Protecting Liberty
Date: July 27 - Sept. 4
Location: Wilmington

Date: Sept. 7 - Nov. 30
Location: Chapel Hill

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Tomorrow we will present closing arguments in our three-week trial challenging North Carolina’s repressive voting laws. Over the past weeks, we heard about the hurdles that voters faced to cast their vote under the suppressive law North Carolina instituted almost two years ago. North Carolina did away with the week of early voting in which 900,000 voters voted last presidential election, eliminated the opportunity to register and vote on the same day, and prohibited the failsafe of out-of-precinct voting. All three provisions placed a heavier burden on African-American voters than white voters, because African-American voters disproportionately used the eliminated voting methods.

We heard from Michael Owens, who testified that he could not reach his assigned polling place on Election Day without a car, but was able to get to a polling place near work. Because North Carolina eliminated out-of-precinct voting, he was turned away at the polls without having the opportunity to cast his ballot. In a state where there are deep disparities by race in car ownership, a history of segregated neighborhoods, and inadequate public transportation, the fact that Owens is one of many Black voters who is affected by this change should come as no surprise.

We heard from Jessica Jackson, a long-time voter who tried to register at the DMV after moving across county lines, only to find out at the polls on Election Day that the DMV had failed to transmit her voter registration. In previous elections, she would have been able to easily correct the DMV’s error using same-day registration. Under the new repressive regime, her vote did not count. The state’s error disenfranchised her completely.

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A dangerous bill heading to Governor Pat McCrory would remove transparency from capital punishment in North Carolina. HB 774 would no longer require doctors to be present at executions and would allow the state to keep secret information about lethal injection drugs used to kill inmates.

Tell Gov. McCrory that executions carried out in the public's name must be transparent. Urge him to veto HB 774!

Horrifically botched executions in other states have demonstrated that we need more transparency, not less, when it comes to who is supervising executions and which drugs are being used to kill inmates.

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WILMINGTON, N.C. – The New Hanover County Public Library is hosting a 10-panel history exhibit, “ACLU of North Carolina: Fifty Years of Protecting Liberty,” that chronicles the American Civil Liberties Union’s work defending civil liberties in North Carolina since the founding of its North Carolina affiliate in 1965. The New Hanover County Public Library is located at 201 Chestnut Street in Wilmington.

The exhibit, which recounts the ACLU of North Carolina’s work on eight key civil liberties issues – free speech, voting rights, privacy rights, criminal justice reform, LGBT equality, women’s rights, racial justice, and religious liberty – is on display in Wilmington through September 4. It was previously displayed at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro and Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte and is scheduled to be on display at the Chapel Hill Public Library later this fall.

The ACLU of North Carolina was founded by a committed group of volunteers in Greensboro in 1965 to challenge North Carolina’s “speaker ban,” which prohibited so-called “radicals” from speaking at state universities; the ACLU-NC successfully challenged the law in court as a violation of the First Amendment. At the time, there were about 300 dues-paying ACLU members in the state. Fifty years later, the ACLU-NC boasts a full-time staff based in Raleigh and more than 10,000 members and supporters across the state. The organization has gone on to play a leading role in legal and advocacy campaigns to protect voting rights, secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, reform North Carolina’s criminal justice system, and defend many other civil liberties over the past 50 years.

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RALEIGH – North Carolina could hide the source of lethal injection drugs used to execute prisoners on death row under a bill approved by the state Senate today. HB 774 would also remove the requirement that a qualified physician be present at all executions and would instead allow any medical professional to assist in the execution. A version of the bill has already been approved by the House. The House will need to approve the Senate version before it heads to Gov. Pat McCrory.

“Horrifically botched executions in other states have demonstrated that we need more transparency, not less, when it comes to who is supervising executions and which drugs are being used to kill inmates,” said Sarah Preston, acting executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “North Carolina can’t hide behind a veil of secrecy when it carries out this ultimate and irreversible punishment. Courts, lawyers and the public have a right to know basic details about how the government executes inmates in their name. We urge Gov. McCrory to veto this bill in order to keep capital punishment transparent and spare the state costly legal challenges.”

Experimental, untested drug combinations were used in the horrifically botched and tortuous 2014 executions of Clayton Lockett (Oklahoma), Joseph Wood (Arizona), and Dennis McGuire (Ohio).

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