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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Voting Rights

ACLU-NC Voter Guide for 2014 Elections

Posted on in Voting Rights

This guide is designed to help protect your right to vote.  Keep it handy, and take it with you to the polls on Election Day. Download the entire guide here.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nationwide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with more than 500,000 members dedicated to defending the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the Constitution and our nation’s civil rights laws. The ACLU does not endorse or oppose any candidate or party, but we believe that no civil right in our democracy is more important than the right to vote.

QUICK TIPS FOR VOTERS

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By Faith Barksdale, Legal Assistant, ACLU

We know that cuts to early voting are bad for voters. But just how bad are they?

As part of our lawsuit against North Carolina's voter suppression bill, we asked Ted Allen, a professor of industrial engineering at Ohio State University, and Paul Gronke, a political science professor at Reed College, to crunch some numbers. Both found that shorter early voting periods translate to longer lines and less voters.

During the 2012 general election, over one-half of North Carolinians voted early, with about 900,000 ballots cast during the seven days of early voting that have now been eliminated. If just four percent of those voters showed up on Election Day, waiting times to vote would have more than doubled, according to Allen, who literally wrote the textbook on lines and waiting times to vote.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A federal court today ordered North Carolina state lawmakers to release some e-mails and other documents related to the passage of the state's sweeping voter suppression law. It also rejected North Carolina’s argument that legislators have absolute immunity to keep their documents from the public.  The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a motion to compel the release of that information after lawmakers refused to do so citing "legislative immunity."

"North Carolinians have a right to know what motivated their lawmakers to make it harder for them to vote," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "Legislators should not be shrouding their intentions in secrecy. The people deserve better."

Immediately after Gov. Pat McCrory signed the voter suppression bill into law last August, the ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed their legal challenge. The suit targets provisions that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. The groups charge that enacting these provisions would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate 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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The editorial boards for two of North Carolina’s largest newspapers, the Raleigh News & Observer and the Winston-Salem Journal, have joined the ACLU of North Carolina and our allies in calling on leaders of the General Assembly to release all emails and other correspondence concerning last year’s passage of the worst voter suppression law in the country.

The ACLU of North Carolina and other organizations who are challenging the law in federal court are seeking the communications in order to help determine the extent to which legislators discussed and were aware of the disproportionate impact the voter suppression law would have on African Americans and other minority groups. The new law, for example, shortens early voting in North Carolina by an entire week, which more than 70 percent of African-American voters used to cast their ballot during the 2008 and 2012 elections. The law also ends same-day voter registration, which African-American voters disproportionately relied upon in previous elections as well.

House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate President pro tem Phil Berger and 11 other Republican legislators who played a role in advancing the legislation are arguing that they don’t have to release their correspondence, claiming “legislative immunity.”

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