North Carolina: Forward Together
On August 12, 2013, Gov. McCrory Signed Into Law The Most Restrictive Voting Laws In The Nation.
Advancement Project Files Lawsuit as North Carolina Governor Signs Most Far-Reaching Assault on Democracy in the Nation
We are deeply committed to all Americans having an equal voice in our democracy, and to ensuring that elections in North Carolina remain free, fair and accessible. Advancement Project has joined with North Carolina attorneys Adam Stein and Irv Joyner, and the national law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, to file a legal complaint on behalf of the North Carolina NAACP State Conference and Mrs. Rosanell Eaton, a 92-year-old African American whose ability to vote is threatened by North Carolina’s discriminatory new voting law.
Each of the law’s changes, on their own, would be harmful to the voting rights of North Carolinians. Taken together, this is the worst voter suppression law in the country. It viciously targets nearly every aspect of the voting process. With the stroke of his pen, Gov. McCrory has transformed North Carolina from a state with one of the nation’s most progressive voting systems, where we saw some of the highest voter turnout rates of the last two presidential elections, into a state with the most draconian policies we’ve seen in decades, policies that harken back to the days of Jim Crow.
The law clearly violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bans voting procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in one of the language minority groups. It also violates our nation's cherished promise of equality as expressed in the 14th and 15th Amendments of our Constitution.
The Forward Together Movement
A historic movement has taken hold in North Carolina. In protest of extreme policies pushed by the governor and state legislature that viciously attack the poor and working class, a multiracial, multigenerational crowd of thousands of people – including clergy members, doctors, lawyers, college students, senior citizens, historians, veterans, teachers and others – are gathering at the General Assembly. Hundreds of these individuals have engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience, lining up week after week to get arrested and jailed. Standing united in what’s known as the Forward Together Movement, they refuse to allow politicians to take North Carolina back.
Led by the North Carolina NAACP and its President, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, the Forward Together Movement also includes a 25-county organizing tour, where legal and policy experts, as well as grassroots leaders, are mobilizing local actions against the legislature’s far-right ideology.
Advancement Project is proud to stand behind the leadership of the North Carolina NAACP and the statewide coalition. We are strong supporters of this locally-grown and driven effort to defeat the assaults on the people of North Carolina.
Attacks on the Poor in North Carolina
Already this session, Governor Pat McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger have passed and signed into law measures that:
- Cut the earned income tax credit for over 900,000 poor and working people
- Rejected federal funding to expand Medicaid to cover 500,000 North Carolinians without health insurance
- Slashed state unemployment benefits and rejected federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation to 170,000 laid-off workers
The conservative legislature is also pursuing bills targeted at poor and working-class North Carolinians, including proposals to:
- Cut funding from public education to provide vouchers for private schools
- Increase and expand state sales tax on groceries, haircuts and prescription medicine
- Repeal ban on payday lending, authorizing “deferred presentment transactions” up to $500 and enabling the lender to charge a 15 percent fee per $100 borrowed
- Require people applying to the Division of Social Services for temporary assistance or benefits to submit to a criminal background check, and requires anyone with a parole/probation violation to be reported to law enforcement
- Require applicants to the Work First program, which offers job training for poor people, to take a drug screening test – for which they have to pay
- Make the union-weakening right to work law a part of the state constitution
Assaults on the Right to Vote
North Carolina’s General Assembly is also pursuing draconian measures making it harder to vote, pushing bills that:
- Require citizens to show strict forms of state-issued photo ID to vote
- Cut a full week from the early voting period
- Ban all early voting on Sundays
- Repeal same-day voter registration
- Create the most restrictive felony disenfranchisement law in the country -- enforcing a 5-year waiting period, after a person has served their time, before they can get their voting rights back. Having rights restored must be approved unanimously by their county board of elections, and requires two affidavits from local voters about one’s “upstanding moral character”
- Amends the state constitution to automatically disqualify voters deemed “mentally incompetent”
Who is in the Forward Together Movement?
Launched by the North Carolina NAACP, the movement is a multi-racial, multi-generational group of doctors, veterans, teachers, parents, grandparents and students from all across North Carolina. Ranging in age from 18 to 92, concerned citizens from all walks of life have come together to risk arrest for the cause. Members of the movement who have been arrested are:
- Grandmother Vicki Ryder
- Attorney Tye Hunter
- Minister Linda Parker
- College student Molly McDonough
- Former law enforcement officer Scott Teamer
- Web developer Jillian Johnson
- Historian William H. Chafe
As long as the avalanche of regressive legislation continues, so will the Forward Together Movement. For more information on how you can participate, please visit http://www.naacpnc.org/