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The Fight Against Photo Voter ID in NC

NC NAACP v. Hirsch
(Formerly NC NAACP v. Cooper)

NC NAACP President Maxwell and community members

May 13th, 2024

 

This past year, our state saw the first elections that required a photo voter ID, making it harder for Black, brown, and poor people to access their constitutional right to vote. As we approach the 2024 general election, on behalf of the NC NAACP State Conference and six NAACP branches, Forward Justice is lead counsel in the only remaining litigation in North Carolina challenging the discriminatory Photo Voter ID law (SB 824). 

Initially filed in December of 2018, NC NAACP argues in its lawsuit that the law was passed with discriminatory intent and designed to dilute the voting power of Black and brown voters. Specifically, we believe  the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.

 

 

 

 

 

The Trial: 

From May 6-13, 2024 we went to trial in federal court in Winston Salem, NC in an effort to overturn this discriminatory law.

Watch the opening and closing press conferences here.

 

Some Impacts of Photo Voter ID:

  • The law is unnecessarily burdensome 
  • The reasonable impediment option (ID Exception form) does not eliminate the disproportionate burden on minority voters 
  • Other means of voting for people without acceptable ID do not eliminate the disproportionate burden on minority voters 
  • Minority voters are less likely to possess acceptable ID 
  • The costs of obtaining acceptable ID are significant 
  • The law will do little to improve election security or public confidence in elections 
  • Lack of public knowledge is likely to affect voter turnout

Legislators argue that voter ID was needed to combat voter fraud and increase public confidence in elections, yet voter fraud is statistically nonexistent in our state. In fact:

  1. The 2013 report by the SBOE on "documented cases of voter fraud in North Carolina" concluded that between 2000 and 2012, out of nearly 40 million votes cast, only two cases of voter impersonation were referred to a district attorney.
  2. The SBOE Post-Election Audit Report for the 2016 General Election found that only two cases of voter impersonation were referred to a district attorney out of the 4.8 million votes cast in that election

 

Why This Matters: 

More than a decade has passed without full federal voting rights protections, and elected officials across the South continue to chip away at the voting rights of their constituents and the promises of our democracy. In almost every branch of government, we're seeing our rights and freedoms being attacked and eroded. North Carolina's lawmakers are using redistricting, gerrymandering, felony disenfranchisement, discriminatory photo voter ID requirements, and other predatory elections laws to restrict access to the ballot and try to cement their own power. 

Since 2018, we have stood with our clients, including the late Rosanelle Eaton, in their fight to ensure that Black, brown, and poor people are not excluded from our democracy and denied their constitutional right to vote.   This case is one of our last remaining defenses against the onslaught of voter suppression tactics being levied against North Carolinians by extremist legislators. We continue to stand ready, with the overwhelming weight of the evidence and the will of the people behind us, to defend voting rights for the people of North Carolina.

 

 

How You Can Get Involved:

  1. Join us for the Protect Our Vote NC Tour! Protect Our Vote NC (POV NC) is a campaign aimed at ensuring that Black and Brown voters, and voters in rural areas, are protected and informed during elections. As we head into the 2024 election season, Forward Justice is launching the POV NC tour to build relationships with local communities and organizations while providing them with educational resources and working to understand their local issues and concerns. The tour will begin June with a stop in Forsyth County and continue with stops in Pasquotank, Cabarrus, Guilford, Alamance, Harnett, Rockingham, and New Hanover - where organizers will share resources and information on voter intimidation, safe sites, current voting rights laws and updates on the current photo voter ID case, while activating registered and unregistered voters for the coming election. Learn more at Protect Our Vote NC
  2.  Use our Voter Protection hotlines! As a part of our work to protect voters in the state, Forward Justice is running two direct, nonpartisan voter protection hotlines. One hotline is aimed at addressing misinformation and disinformation and combatting racist voter intimidation; while the other serves voters who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system and have questions about their voting status and eligibility.

 

 

 

NONPARTISAN NC VOTER PROTECTION HOTLINE 

If you have questions about your voter registration status, voting by mail or in person, or photo voter ID requirements, you 

can contact the non-partisan North Carolina Election Protection Hotline at 1-888-OUR-VOTE (8683). You should also contact this hotline if you experience any form of voter intimidation.

SECOND CHANCE VOTER HOTLINE 
If you are directly impacted by the criminal legal system and you have questions about your eligibility to vote in North Carolina please contact us at 1-877-880-VOTE (8683).

Voter Intimidation
Second+Chance+Voter+Hotline+Flyer

Brief Timeline of the Case

Opening-Statement-5.1 (dragged)

 

 

Additional Information and Resources