DNC Press Concern for NC Voting rights

Photo from Google Images

Photo from Google Images

 

April 27, 2016 (GMT)According to the DNC,
voting rights activists announced they would appeal a U.S. District Court’s decision to uphold North Carolina’s overly burdensome election law, H.B. 589. The law imposed a number of new restrictions including eliminating same-day registration, reducing the early voting period and imposing strict new photo ID requirements that have made it harder for millions of North Carolinians to vote. Make no mistake, these are efforts by Republicans to intentionally silence the very groups that disagree with their extreme policies. While Republicans continue to defend laws to limit voter turnout, Democrats have gone to court in Arizona and beyond to reverse the culture of voter discrimination. This was echoed in North Carolina, as voting rights activists plan to file an appeal of the onerous H.B. 589 decision. Democrats across the country will continue to defend the right to vote — the most fundamental of our rights. Today, CBC Chairman Representative G.K. Butterfield, Representative Alma Adams and DNC’s National Director of Voter Expansion Pratt Wiley held a press call to discuss the restrictions of North Carolina’s H.B. 589 and how Democrats are working to expand access to the ballot box leading into the general election.

Below find excerpts from the call as prepared for delivery:

CBC Chairman Representative G.K. Butterfield
“It is deeply disturbing that as our nation moves forward, one of the country’s major political parties is attempting to drag us backward. We should not have to re-litigate yesterday’s battles or continue a fight we have previously won. North Carolina’s so-called Voter Information Verification Act, or H.B. 589, reversed a generation of electoral progress in my home state. Passed in the wake of the Supreme Court gutting a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, the bill eliminated same day voter registration, rolled back early voting by a full week, and imposed new requirements for voters to show a government-issued photo ID before being permitted to vote.

Supporters of the law argue that this bill was a necessary tool in the imaginary fight against voter fraud. At the time this bill was passed, the North Carolina State Board of Elections identified only two instances of potential voter impersonation in a 14-year period. Then House Speaker Thom Tillis even acknowledged in an interview that fighting so-called voter fraud was not the primary reason for passing the bill. This purely partisan law was passed without any support from Democrats because its intent was clear from the beginning ? to systematically limit access to the polls in order to sway elections.

I sent Governor Pat McCrory a letter urging him to reject this onerous bill. Instead, he signed it into law. The Governor and those who advocated for this egregious law should be ashamed of themselves.  I know many of the good people of North Carolina are ashamed. While we are certainly disappointed in the U.S. District Court for upholding this law, I strongly believe that the courts and the American public will ultimately understand what these types of laws do ? in both cause and effect. Restrictive voting laws make it harder for minorities, women, students, the elderly and working parents to vote.

I have stood on the front lines of the fight for civil rights, as a participant in the 1963 March on Washington and as a former civil rights attorney. Voting is our most fundamental right ? and one that for too long was kept out of the reach of far too many Americans. It is said that those who do not know their history are destined to repeat it. The legacy and history of the civil rights movement is still being written, and we are continually adding new chapters to include the fight for full equality under the law for all Americans. I have not, and will not, sit idly by and allow others to erase our hard-fought gains. I applaud the work that voting rights activists are doing in the courts and in our communities in order to continue the fight. I intend to do my part in the halls of Congress so that no vote is cast in vain, and that no voices within our electorate are silenced.”

Representative Alma Adams,

“It’s deeply troubling that North Carolina had one of the highest voter participation rates in the country before H.B. 589 was signed into law. As G.K. noted, the law rolled back early voting periods, eliminated same-day registration, and imposed restrictive photo ID requirements for no other reason than to make it harder to vote.

Not everyone can take off time from work or school on a Tuesday to vote. Not everyone has a caregiver or can take a break from being a caregiver on a Tuesday to vote. Not everyone can drive to the polling location when another location is closer to one’s home or children’s school.  When we limit the ways that people can vote, we are hurting the low-wage workers with two jobs, the single mother who goes to work early each morning and picks up her children late at night, and the widower without a car who relies on his grown children to get to the polls.

There was a time in our not too distant past, when only a few blacks were able to cast a ballot across the South. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and being asked to count marbles in a jar were among the tactics used to prevent African-Americans from voting. While we need not count marbles in a jar, modern barriers to voting have been erected in their place. From North Carolina to Wisconsin to Arizona, Republican-led state legislatures have taken steps to make it harder to vote.

I have heard very little from the Republican Party when it comes to protecting our most fundamental of rights, but I have witnessed what they are willing to do in order to win elections. If the Republican Party or any party wants my vote, they have to earn it. This law would not have passed muster if it were subject to federal pre-clearance. Since a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 was invalidated, we have seen numerous states enact these types of burdensome laws. No one should ever take for granted their right to vote, nor should anyone seek to take that right away.”

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