N.C. voters returned to the rolls after ruling

N.C. voters returned to the rolls after ruling
November 10
07:00 2016



On Election Day, thousands of North Carolina voters who had been illegally removed from the voting rolls of Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties because their voter registrations were cancelled, were able to cast their ballots, thanks to a federal judge’s ruling which called their removal “insane.”

The N.C. NAACP charged that the black voter removal by the three county boards of elections was another attempt by Republicans to suppress the black vote right before the crucial 2016 general election, and filed suit Oct. 31 in federal court in Winston-Salem against the State Board of Elections and three county Boards of Election (BOE) cited.

U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs, in her Nov. 4 ruling, agreed.

“[T]here is little question that the County Boards’ process of allowing third parties to challenge hundreds and, in Cumberland County, thousands of voters within 90 days before the 2016 General Election constitutes the type of “systematic” removal prohibited by the [National Voter Registration Act],” Judge Biggs wrote.

As outlined in the N.C. NAACP lawsuit and petition for an emergency injunction, members of a right-wing organization called “The Voter Integrity Project (TVIP) purportedly sent out thousands of pieces of mail addressed to mostly black voters in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties just a few weeks before the Nov. 8 general election. Any single mailing that came back marked “undeliverable” by the post office was then taken to the local county board of elections as “proof” that the voter no longer lived at that address, and therefore should be removed from the voting rolls. “without written confirmation from the affected voters or compliance with federal voter registration laws.”

According to the suit, 3,951 voter registrations were challenged in Cumberland County, 400 in Moore County and 138 in Beaufort County.

But as the lawsuit maintained, the “undeliverable” scheme was in violation of the federal National Voter Registration Act, which clearly states that voters cannot be removed from the county rolls inside of 90 days before an election. That clearly wasn’t done, and the removals were deemed “systematic” because the challenges came from members of TVIP were “coordinated.”

Because of North Carolina’s notorious recent history of legislatively attempting to sup-press the black vote through the 2013 voter ID law, the U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ] filed a “statement of interest” supporting the N.C. NAACP complaint.

“[T]he purge program at issue here rested  on a mass mailing and the silence of voters largely unaware of the potential injury to their  voting rights,” the DOJ stated. In fact in many cases, the black voters targeted still lived at the addresses the alleged undeliverable mail came back from, or at the very least, were still living in the very county they were registered and eligible to vote in.

“The voter purges have a long history of being racially motivated and terribly inaccurate, said Penda Hair, an attorney for the NAACP. “It’s a time-worn GOP strategy to sup-press the black vote that is being recycled in the run-up to Election Day.”

On its website, the Voter Integrity Project blasted the N.C. NAACP for its action, maintaining that the civil rights group, was “…indirectly  attack-ing the race-blind research techniques of election integrity watchdogs in North Carolina.”

“We will not take these false accusations lying down,” TVIP stated on its website. “Our supporters work for the integrity of U.S. elections by exposing vulnerabilities and recommending corrective action.

We question the motives of the NAACP and other groups who respond to our research by calling us names and entangling us in legal maneuvering.”

TVIP added that as a result of N.C. NAACP suit and media attention it garnered, the organization has been receiving numerous threats.

“The NAACP is defending rights of all North Carolinians to participate in this election and we will not back down and allow this suppression to continue,” said the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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