The North Carolina NAACP is preparing to take legal action against the state Board of Elections for suppressing voter registration. Just months after the NAACP won a three-year legal battle against a North Carolina voter identification guide, NAACP President William Barber II said Friday that the state Board of Elections was in violation of the 1993 National Voter Registration act as thousands of black citizens in this battleground state were having their voting registration challenged in court. “Voting fraud is a distraction: statistically and legally nonexistent,” Barber said. “It is in fact voter suppression that is the real threat in this election.” Dozens of delegates at NAACP state convention surrounded Barber as he spoke in front of the North Carolina Governor’s mansion, bearing signs that read, “Vote because black lives are on the ballot” or “vote because education is on the ballot,” and chanting “Yes!” or “amen” as he spoke.
In North Carolina and 45 other states, private citizens can challenge other individuals’ registration to vote, often bringing in a piece of mail as evidence the voter no longer lives in at his or her listed address. The NAACP has received reports that 400 people in Beaufort County, 130 people in Belhaven County and 3,500 people in Cumberland County have been denied access to voting, Barber said.
The State Board of Elections wrote in a letter to the NAACP that there were roughly 4,500 challenges, including 3,951 in the Cumberland County.
Challenged citizens can lose their registration if they don’t appear in court to defend themselves.