Wednesday, May 21, 2014

North Carolina NAACP Files Motion to Stop North Carolina's Voter Suppression Law


May 21, 2014


Contact: Sarah Bufkin, NC NAACP - or 404.285.3413


DURHAM, NC - The North Carolina NAACP on Monday embarked upon the next phase in its campaign to block the state's monster voter suppression law from disenfranchising voters during the November general elections.


Monday night, the NC NAACP legal team - led by NCCU Law Professor Irv Joyner and Atty. Adam Stein as well as attorneys from Kirkland Ellis, LLP and Advancement Project - filed a motion in federal court seeking a preliminary injunction against HB 589 on the grounds that the new voter restrictions violate the 14th, 15th and 26th Amendments as well as Section II of the Voting Rights Act by disproportionately impacting people of color and other minority groups.


"Without same-day registration, without the full schedule of early voting, without voter protection from vigilante poll watchers, without the ability to cast provisional ballots if you mistakenly go to the wrong precinct, people in North Carolina will be disenfranchised during November's critical elections," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement. "Disproportionately, those disenfranchised will be people of color, seniors, women, youth, the disabled and other minorities. We cannot forget that, for decades, our state legislature worked hard to keep people of color from the ballot box by passing all sorts of burdensome regulations that restricted their access to the ballot box. We did not stand idly by last summer when extremists passed the worst voter suppression law seen in the South since Jim Crow, and we will continue to take our fight for the simple, unfettered right to vote into the courts and into the streets this summer."


"While the voters of North Carolina were fighting to have their voices heard at the statehouse during yesterday's Moral Monday demonstration, our attorneys were at the courthouse filing this motion seeking a preliminary injunction to block HB 589 for the November 2014 election," said Penda D. Hair, Co-Director of Advancement Project. "While our lawsuit is pending, North Carolina should maintain the same voting procedures that were in place for the 2010 and 2012 elections - successful procedures that led to North Carolina having among the highest rates of voter turnout in the nation. In our brief, we provide unequivocal evidence showing that North Carolina's voter suppression law has a disparate impact on voters of color, and will abridge the right to vote for voters across the state. A preliminary injunction is necessary ensure that the voters of North Carolina are not harmed by the effects of HB589 while our case challenging this harmful law makes its way through the courts."


The NC NAACP legal team filed its motion and its 95-page brief jointly with the League of Women Voters plaintiffs and with interveners representing youth voters in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. In the brief, the NC NAACP argues that these voter restrictions should not be allowed during the 2014 general elections because clear evidence shows that they will hurt African Americans and young people.


"Defendants do not (because they cannot) dispute that HB 589 imposes disproportionate burdens on African Americans," the brief reads. "Indeed, at the time it enacted HB 589, the General Assembly had before it (or previously had been told) that African Americans used early voting, SDR, and out-of-precinct voting at far higher rates than whites. The evidence shows, moreover, that the elimination of these practices will interact with existing socioeconomic conditions to impose material burdens on African Americans' ability to vote. North Carolina has an unfortunate and judicially recognized history of racial discrimination, and the effects of that discrimination persist to this day."


The NC NAACP legal team expects to argue its case for a preliminary injunction in federal court this summer. A date for the hearing has not yet been scheduled.


The NC NAACP motion and the full brief, filed by NCCU Law Professor Irv Joyner; Attorney Adam Stein of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen LLP; Kirkland Ellis, LLP; and Advancement Project can be accessed HERE and HERE, respectively.



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