A Year after the U.S. Supreme Court Dismantled the Voting Rights Act, the North Carolina NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement Remain Committed to a Full Strength Restoration of Federal Voting Protections in North Carolina
DURHAM, NC – A year ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act by ending the Section IV preclearance formula, ignoring centuries of black disenfranchisement in the American South and clear evidence that local and state governments continue to engage in voter suppression and obstruction that targets people of color and other minorities.
The North Carolina NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement remain firmly opposed to the court’s decision in Shelby Co. v. Holder and call for a full-strength restoration of the Voting Rights Act that provides preclearance coverage for North Carolina and other Southern states.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the Shelby Co. decision:
“Discrimination in our election process is a real and present danger today, and it is an immediate threat. The position of the NAACP is rooted in the sweat, blood, tears and courage of many of our forbearers; the NAACP was extremely disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court decision issued on June 25, 2013 in Shelby v. Holder which struck key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
“One of the most important and fundamental rights of racial minorities is the right to vote. Since the NAACP was organized in 1909, voting rights has been at the top of our agenda and it remains in that position today. Voting rights is the life-blood of a vibrant and politically connected people. We will not stand by passively and allow five ahistorical Supreme Court justices – who closed their eyes and minds to the blood stained history of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution – to destroy the hard-gained victories for voting rights for racial minorities in this country.
“We are up against a national conspiracy to take us back to the days of Jim Crow voter suppression tricks from the southern state houses and county courthouses. We need a national movement to stop this regression. The minute the ahistorical five’s decision in Shelby Co. was announced, the NC General Assembly passed the most restrictive voter suppression law since Jim Crow. North Carolina’s voter suppression law inhibits and restrains the right to vote, particularly for African Americans, Latinos and the poor, by:
requiring all voters to show specific forms of photo ID, excluding student ID’s and non-North Carolina driver’s licenses;
reducing popular early voting days;
ending same-day registration;
limiting early registration;
ending it entirely for 16- and 17-year olds;
empowering vigilante poll watchers to challenge voters of color;
barring counties from keeping polls open later to accommodate long lines;
refusing to count provisional ballots mistakenly cast in the wrong precinct;
simplifying obtaining absentee ballots, the most common means of voter fraud, which is used most by people who vote for extremist candidate.
“Accordingly, we plan to meet with North Carolina’s elected leaders in the U.S. House and Senate as well as our National NAACP leadership to amend and fix any proposed legislation that aims to restore Section V of the Voting Rights Act. It is our plan to fight as hard for a full-strength restoration of Section V as we are presently fighting against the voter suppression efforts here in North Carolina.
“Congress must make voting rights a legislative priority. While we know that compromise will be needed to pass any legislation, we cannot sacrifice our core principle: participation in our democracy should be unfettered and all votes should be properly counted. As the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization with a massive membership base, we have the responsibility to insure that any legislation that is enacted protects the best interests of our members, our community and the democratic principles espoused in our constitution. Our mission is to stand on the side of equal protection under the law and not to merely celebrate political compromise, especially where it has the intent or effect of undermining our hard-won political victories.
“The NAACP calls for unfettered and unabridged access to voting that guarantees that equal protection under the law does not shift the burden of litigation regarding discrimination to the shoulders of those discriminated against. We call on Congress to swiftly and with bipartisan support pass amendments to restore the Voting Rights Act in keeping with our core principles:
The legislation must contain an expansive rolling trigger formula to include as many states and jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory election practices as possible;
The legislation should contain a “known practices coverage” proposal;
We remain ardently opposed to any stringent requirements for a government-issued photo identification when casting a ballot; and
We support making adjustments to Section 3 bail-in provisions to include state judgments, settlements, and consent decrees.
“We look forward to an opportunity to engage in the debate about proposed legislation as this idea moves through the legislative process. We will draw upon the 1,200 NAACP units from around the country to monitor their districts for additional evidence of racially discriminatory voting practices in their locales which can serve as further examples of the concerns and objections which we presently have about the present state of federal voter protections.
“We who believe in freedom and democracy cannot rest. But we could sure use some help from the Congress in reversing this racist decision. And we could use it NOW.”
-North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP
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