Target: Senator Phil Berger, North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore
Goal: Condemn passage of voter suppression bill by the North Carolina State Senate
The North Carolina Senate, after a mere two hours of debate and with little public input, recently passed a new voting bill that would create multiple obstacles for new voters. This new measure, still yet to be signed into law, not just imposes voter stringent ID requirements but also contains suppression measures up to enabling partisan voter intimidation.
The proposed law, HB 589, contains multiple changes in how the state conducts its elections. Several amendments passed in the bill were specifically created to eliminate early voting. These include shaving a full week from the pre-election day voting period and stopping 16 and 17 year olds for pre-registering to vote. WRAL reported before the bill passed that “About 57 percent of the votes cast in last fall’s election in North Carolina were done during early voting.” Further complicating matters for time-pressed voters is a provision that would prevent counties from extending polling hours if necessary due to backed-up lines.
In addition, other measures would end the state’s “Citizens Awareness Month” voter registration drive and enable anyone to challenge the eligibility of a voter, even if they do not live in the same precinct. This latter provision, notes the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch, would enable voter intimidation groups such as the Tea Party-linked True the Vote.
The North Carolina bill represents potentially the most shocking voter suppression measure passed in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act decision. By signing this petition, you will let the North Carolina State Senate know its actions will not go unnoticed and demand it ensure protection for voters across the state.
Dear Senator Berger,
Recently, it was just reported that the North Carolina State Senate passed a wide-reaching reform of the state’s voting system that contains numerous new restrictions for registered and prospective voters. These include not only a strict voter ID requirement, but also multiple provisions that have effects up to enabling voter intimidation.
One special concern is the new restrictions on early voting, reducing this period by a week. In the 2012 elections, reported WRAL on July 23, “about 57 percent of the votes cast…in North Carolina were done during early voting.” On Election Day itself, counties would have no authority to extend polling place operations by an hour if needed due to long lines.
More transparent examples of how this bill was designed to suppress votes are the elimination of the state’s Citizen’s Awareness Month registration drive and removal of pre-registration for those under 18. Added on to measures restricting voters’ ability to make the polls are ones that remove opportunities to register them in the first place. Lastly, enabling the ability of those from outside a voter’s precinct to challenge his or her eligibility enables reported voter intimidation groups such as True the Vote.
In summary, it is impossible to see how this bill helps voters in North Carolina. Its only effects are those which suppress votes through reducing poll hours, remove opportunities to register voters, and even create a hostile environment at the polling place itself. I ask you to do the right thing and ensure the rights of North Carolina voters are respected.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Keith Ivey (KCIvey) via Flickr