Voting Is Everyone's Right
Winston-Salem hosts the state's Moral Monday protest.
The battle against North Carolina’s current voting law is spilling over from the federal court into communities. On the evening of July 7, downtown Winston-Salem hosted the state's Moral Monday Movement. Hundreds rallied in Corpening Plaza protesting North Carolina’s current voting law. The rally came after day one of a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction against the state. The plaintiffs include the state NAACP chapter, the ACLU of North Carolina, the U.S. Department of Justice and a group of college students. They hope to prohibit further use of the law’s provisions.
The new measure reduces early voting from 17 to 10 days, eliminates same day registration and prohibits county officials from counting ballots cast by voters in the correct county but in the wrong precinct. Additionally, in 2016, it would require voters to use a photo ID. The state says this law prevents voter fraud and will make individuals accountable.
Last year, the Republican led-legislature made sweeping changes to the state’s voting law. But North Carolina is not alone. According to the Brennen Center for Justice, since 2011, 22 states have also made radical voting law changes. For example, thirteen require some form of identification and seven have a reduced early voting period. State NAACP president Reverend Dr. William Barber is part of the multi-plaintiff group. He criticized the state’s opening argument in court Monday, claiming changing the current voting law would overturn the status quo. This rally focused on getting more people to the polls. Organizers and an array of clergy told the crowd they need to mobilize in their communities, educate people on what they have to do before going to the polls and to register more individuals.
Over the next ten weeks, Barber is challenging 20 people or 20 organizations to register five people each week. This would add 1,000 new voters before the general election on November 4th. Barber also directed people to the North Carolina NAACP website for registration forms and other information to help them accomplish this goal. Many believe this strategy will give the Moral Monday Movement greater leverage to push back some of the changes made by the current Republican legislature.