North Carolina

Articles about voting issues in North Carolina.

North Carolina: Attorneys for state NAACP file appeal of federal judge’s ruling on voting law | Winston-Salem Journal

Attorneys for the state NAACP and others filed a motion Monday asking the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to overrule a federal judge’s decision to deny a preliminary injunction blocking the state’s new voting law for the Nov. 4 general election. The state NAACP had announced last Thursday that it would appeal the ruling. The motion Monday comes two weeks after U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied the preliminary injunction that would have barred a state law that reduces days for early voting, eliminates same-day voter registration and prohibits county officials from counting ballots cast by voters in the correct county but wrong precinct. The law also gets rid of preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds and increases the number of poll observers that each political party assigns during an election. Read More

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North Carolina: NAACP appeals federal judge’s ruling to let 2014 elections proceed under new voting rules | News Observer

The NAACP has appealed a federal judge’s decision to allow elections to proceed under the sweeping changes made to North Carolina voting laws in 2013. U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder rejected a request earlier this month by the NAACP and other challengers of the 2013 overhaul to hold the November elections under old election laws instead of the ones at the heart of the lawsuit scheduled for trial in July 2015. The NAACP, the League of Women Voters, registered Democrats in North Carolina and others contend that voters will suffer “irreparable damages” if any elections scheduled before the hearing of the lawsuit are held under the laws adopted by the Republican-led General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory last summer.  “If one person’s right to vote is denied or abridged this election, this democracy suffers,” the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, said in a prepared statement. “While restoring the rights of North Carolina voters and renewing the integrity of democracy in our state will require a long legal fight, we must start now by doing everything we can to block this law for the November election.” Read More

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North Carolina: Court Rules Voting Rights Rollback to Stay In Place Until After Midterm Elections | The Atlantic

A federal judge has temporarily authorized North Carolina to implement a sweeping new law that threatens to reduce access to the polls, particularly for African-American, Latino, and young voters. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, is an early test of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision, which overturned key parts of the Voting Rights Act. In 2000, North Carolina started rolling out efforts to make it easier to register and vote, only to yank those efforts back thirteen years later. When the state legislature was controlled by Democrats, it authorized counties to conduct up to seventeen days of early voting, including Sunday voting, which enabled black churches to transport parishioners to the polls. It also allowed citizens to register and vote on the same day. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds could preregister, often at their high schools, ensuring they’d be on the rolls when they turned eighteen. And voters who showed up at the wrong precinct could still cast ballots in certain races. From 1996 to 2012, the state’s ranking in turnout among voter-eligible adults shot up from 43rd to 11th, according to the United States Elections Project at George Mason University. African-American participation pulled even with white participation. Read More

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North Carolina: After loss in court, voting rights activists turn attention to mobilizing in the streets | Facing South

Following a federal judge’s decision last week to deny a request by the U.S. Department of Justice and civil rights groups to block North Carolina’s restrictive new voting law from being enforced during this November’s election, voting rights activists are turning their attention from the ongoing legal battle in the courtroom to organizing voters to turn out despite the new rules. ”We will not falter in our efforts to mobilize until this extreme law is completely repealed,” said Rev. William Barber of the N.C. NAACP, one of the civil rights groups that sought the injunction. “Our movement against this voter suppression law is built on the legacy of those who have testified before us, with their feet and blood, to fight for equal rights in North Carolina and the nation.” On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder declined to issue a preliminary injunction that would have prevented restrictive provisions in the voting law passed last year by the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) from taking effect during this year’s general election. Those provisions include a shorter early voting period and an end to same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting and straight-party voting. Read More

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North Carolina: Voting suits continue despite ruling | Associated Press

Civil rights activists opposed to North Carolina’s dramatic voting law changes will use the ballot box and the courts to try to overturn them after a judge refused to block them from being used, attorneys for the state NAACP said Monday. A U.S. District Court judge declined late last week to prevent continued implementation of several provisions being challenged in court by advocacy groups, voters and the federal government. But Judge Thomas Schroeder allowed a trial on the constitutionality of those provisions to continue as planned next July, rejecting requests of the state to throw out the three lawsuits. The provisions, already used in the May primary, eliminated same-day registration during early voting, reduced the early-voting period by a week and eliminated the counting of ballots cast on election day outside of a person’s home precinct. Voters also are being told at the polls to prepare for a photo identification requirement in 2016. Political parties also can send in more observers to monitor voting. Read More

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North Carolina: Registrars plan to replace voting equipment before it fails | Roanoke Times

Thou shall not be like Florida in 2000. To keep that commandment, state lawmakers want localities to purchase voting machines that leave a paper trail. However without state funds to back up the directive, local registrars must figure out how long they can chance using the old touch-screen machines while they find money to afford new ones. Botetourt County Registrar Phyllis Booze worries touch-screen voting equipment purchased following the Bush v. Gore debacle might not hold up to the demand of heavy voter turnout expected for the 2016 presidential contest. Under state law, she can’t buy replacements for broken or worn machines and she needs hundreds of thousands of local dollars to switch to paper-based optical scanners.  Read More

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North Carolina: Judge Backs New Limits on North Carolina Voting | New York Times

A federal judge in North Carolina on Friday rejected an effort by civil rights groups and the Justice Department to block the application of key elements of a Republican-backed state law that curtailed early voting and other opportunities for residents to cast their ballots. The 125-page written ruling, issued late Friday by Judge Thomas D. Schroeder of the Federal District Court, rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments that the law, one of the most far-reaching in a recent national wave of Republican-backed legislation on voter ID and against voter fraud, would place “disproportionate burdens” on African-American voters hoping to participate in the November elections. Judge Schroeder, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, acknowledged that given the racism in North Carolina’s past, residents “have reason to be wary of changes in voting law.” But he cited various ways in which black voters would still have opportunities to get to the polls, even with the less generous ballot access the law affords. For example, one part of the law reduces the period of early voting to 10 days from 17. Read More

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North Carolina: Federal judge rejects preliminary injunction on voting law | Winston-Salem Journal

North Carolina’s new voting law that, among other things, reduces early voting hours and eliminates same-day voter registration will be in place for the November elections, a federal judge ruled late Friday. U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied a preliminary injunction barring the use of the laws, saying that the U.S. Department of Justice, the state NAACP and others had failed to show that the law would have such “irreparable harm” to blacks, young people, other racial minorities and poor people that it should be blocked for the November election. That election features the hotly contested U.S. Senate race between Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis, the Republican speaker of the House and one of the main architects of the new law. Schroeder also denied a request by the Justice Department to have federal observers in North Carolina for the November election. But Schroeder also declined to dismiss the trio of lawsuits filed last year, which included the League of Women Voters, the state NAACP, the Justice Department and individual plaintiffs such as Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. The lawsuits, which challenge the constitutionality of North Carolina’s voting law, are scheduled for trial in July 2015. Read More

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North Carolina: Despite budget squeeze, lawmakers poised to step up anti-voter fraud spending | Facing South

This week, North Carolina state lawmakers put forward a budget plan that calls for tens of millions of dollars in program cuts – sacrifices that Republican leaders say are necessary since the state will be collecting $1.57 billion less in revenues through 2015 due to hefty tax cuts approved last year. But at least one program is getting a boost in the plan proposed by the Senate: a request from the N.C. State Board of Elections, led by Kim Strach, to add three new investigators to tackle alleged voter fraud. While the Senate’s budget eliminates at least 12 positions from the Department of Health and Human Services, the latest budget plan released Thursday [pdf] calls for $201,657 in new funding “for three new positions to investigate fraud in elections, discrepancies in voter registration information, including duplicate registrations, and to pursue prosecution for violations of election law.” According to news reports, Strach had asked for five new investigators to focus on voter fraud. This was addition to the state board’s May 2014 hire of former FBI agent Chuck Stuber, who has been tasked with investigating voter fraud and campaign finance issues. Read More

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North Carolina: College students challenge North Carolina voting law | USA Today

Starting in 2016, students in North Carolina will have to present a photo ID to vote. Among the forms of acceptable identification are driver’s licenses, passports and military IDs. College IDs, however, are not accepted. The new law has troubled many students in the college community, and now seven students are suing. The students claim the photo ID requirement and measures such as the elimination of out-of-precinct voting are discriminatory against young people, joining organizations such as the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department in a legal battle against the state. The case challenges the constitutionality of North Carolina’s Voting Information Verification Act (VIVA), passed by the state Legislature in 2013. The law also eliminates same-day registration for voters and shortens the period for early registration. Read More

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