A Good Week in North Carolina
The 2013 voting restrictions law “targets African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision.
How can we not be thrilled by the Democratic party’s nomination of their first woman nominee for President of the United States? This week’s Democratic National Convention built the case for Hillary as the strongest candidate with hundreds of testimonials from those who know her. There were some excellent speeches. Two of those were made by strong women we admire; Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Below we highlight some of those of particular relevance to our group which you may not have watched last week.
First, our local hero, Rev. William Barber was introduced to the rest of the country in this incredible speech. Watch how the initially quiet crowd becomes totally engaged by the end of the speech.
Read what Esquire magazine wrote about him in their article on the convention.
“Ultimately, though, there was the Reverend Doctor William Barber from North Carolina, the prophetic activist behind that state’s Moral Monday movement, whose voice sounds the way the gospels sound in your head. They put him in the middle of a bunch of politicians giving their Big Moment speeches and it was like someone dropped Pavarotti into the middle of a barbershop quartet competition.
Barber began his movement fighting for voting rights, but he has since moved on to an entire panoply of issues, from the fight against discriminatory laws aimed at LGBT citizens to the preservation of rural hospitals. His movement is multiracial and, even though he came Thursday night to support HRC, he and his movement largely pray outside the camp. In a year in which nothing seems rooted, and everything impermanent, Barber’s call to prayer, and that’s entirely what it was, summoned his audience and his country to remember that there is, down there below our currently unmoored passions and confusion, a foundation of unchanging stone.
Next, we heard Jesse Lipson, founder of Citrix, talk about being an entrepreneur in NC and some of the impacts he has seen as a result of the current state administration.
Another local entrepreneur, Brooks Bell also spoke about her experiences starting a business in Raleigh. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XommtVJ3cF8
One of the most moving and immediate speeches of the conference was that of Khizr Khan, father of a Muslim soldier killed in action in Iraq. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzkkk-oJ6bo These are very powerful words, spoken on behalf of grieving wife (despite what Donald Trunp might claim.)
The biggest news this week came on Friday when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision by Judge Thomas Schroeder and unanimously ruled the Monster Voting Law unlawful. This is a huge decision for all of us fighting to keep voting accessible to all.
One notable section of the judgment reads as follows:
‘After years of preclearance and expansion of voting access, by 2013 African American registrations and turnout rates had finally reached near-parity with white registration and turnout rates. African Americans were poised to act as a major electoral force. But, on the day after the Supreme Court issued Shelby County v. Holder eliminating preclearance obligations, a leader of the party that newly dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an “omnibus” election law. Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices. Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five differetnt ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.”
In commenting on the work of Judge Schroeder the opinion says “In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees,” the ruling states. “This failure of perspective led the court to ignore critical facts bearing on legislative intent, including the inextricable link between race and politics in North Carolina.” For more details including a link to the full opinion, read here.
What does this mean for the November 8th general election?
VOTER ID IS GONE!
THE FULL 3 WEEKS OF EARLY VOTING IS RESTORED!
PRE-REGISTRATION FOR 16- AND 17-YEAR OLDS IS RESTORED!
SAME DAY REGISTRATION (REGISTER AND VOTE AT THE SAME TIME DURING EARLY VOTING) REMAINS IN EFFECT.
VOTING OUT OF PRECINCT (NOT AT YOUR ASSIGNED POLLING PLACE) ON ELECTION DAY WILL NOT DENY YOU THE RIGHT TO CAST YOUR BALLOT!
A couple of small but important details which are not clear: there was no mention of the number of hours required for early voting only the number of weeks. It is still possible for anyone, regardless of precinct, to challenge any voter in the state. Democracy NC will be look for vote protection volunteers to address this.
There is still much work to be done on voter registration. When we register we also educate and we have much new information to share. We have been hard at work in senior communities around Wake County and have many events set up. Please check out www.youcanvote.org/events for our events scheduled in Wake County. Check back regularly as new drives are being booked all the time.
I will confess to having a super soft spot for Senator Tim Kaine. Click here to listen to John Oliver’s take on the Democratic VP pick.
Margaret and Helen always come through with their snarky humor. Thanks Dana for sharing.