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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. 

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A federal judge today rejected North Carolina's request to avoid a full trial over the state's sweeping voter suppression law. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice are challenging provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit out-of-precinct voting. The groups were in court last month to argue that those measures should be placed on hold prior to next summer's trial, and in time for the November election. The judge ruled the law can remain in effect until trial.

"If this law is found unconstitutional, North Carolinians whose voting rights were violated in the midterm election will have lost a critical opportunity to participate in our democratic process," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "While we had hoped the court would recognize this irreparable harm, the ultimate goal is to see these discriminatory measures struck down. We look forward to making our case at full trial, which is something the state had sought to avoid."

The groups charge the law unduly burdens the right to vote and discriminates against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice will present arguments in federal court on Monday, July 7, asking that North Carolina's voter suppression law be placed on hold for the 2014 midterm elections.

"The bottom line is that North Carolinians should be able to vote in the November election without having to navigate the obstacles imposed by this discriminatory law," said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina.

The ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice challenged the law last August, but the case is not expected to reach trial until summer 2015. The groups filed a preliminary injunction motion in May to block key portions of the law from being in effect prior to the trial.

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By Molly Rugg, Paralegal, ACLU

Voters get to decide who represents them, but elected officials don't get to decide which eligible voters can and can't vote. Right?

Elected officials in North Carolina think otherwise.

In August, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law that cut early voting by more than a third, eliminating all same-day registration, and got rid of out-of-precinct ballot counting, which meant voters' ballots could be counted for the races they were entitled to vote for, like governor, even if they voted outside of their assigned precinct. We sued.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice have asked a federal court to put North Carolina's voter suppression law on hold for the 2014 midterm election.

"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.

The ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice challenged the law last August, but the case is not expected to reach trial until summer 2015. Late last night, the groups filed a request for a preliminary injunction to place key portions of the law on hold until the trial.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A U.S. District Court judge today upheld a magistrate's ruling that rejects an effort by some North Carolina lawmakers to withhold emails and other communications related to passage of the state's sweeping voter suppression law. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice had filed a motion to compel the release of that information after lawmakers refused to do so by claiming "legislative immunity."

 

"This ruling means lawmakers will no longer be allowed to hide behind a veil of secrecy," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "If politicians are going to tamper with people’s fundamental right to vote, we deserve to know why."

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