Black Voters In N.C. Sue Over Voter Suppression

Voters line up during early voting at Chavis Community Center in Raleigh, N.C. AP / Gerry Broome

African-American voters in North Carolina are up in arms over the cancellation of voter registration in three counties. The North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP sued the state to end the practice for voter suppression in these areas, which have large Black populations. The organization calls these actions “a coordinated effort right out of the GOP playbook to suppress the Black vote in the state.”

Beaufort, Moore, and Cumberland counties are being charged for dismissing voter eligibility for those who have had their voter registration mail bounced back as undelivered. Many people have lived in the same house for years or have moved around within the same county may have fallen victim to post-office delivery error and as a result had their registrations cancelled.

The lawsuit claims that North Carolina is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act, which bans the removal of voters from rolls within the final 90 days before an election. In response, state officials are defending the practice by saying they are following federal laws because it has affected people individually and not in a systemic manner.

The NAACP is also accusing Republicans of coordinating a mailing campaign to challenge voting eligibility of those who did not receive the mailing. Penda Hair, lead attorney for the NAACP stated: “We know that in two of the counties, the people who brought the challenges had connections to the local Republican Party. We also know that the pattern of these challenges is very similar across the counties.”

“This is a very pernicious treatment of voters,” she said.

The NAACP and supporters are demanding the state put voters who were challenged back on the roll immediately and to notify them of their status change. They also need to be allowed to cast early at regular ballots or on election day.

These recent charges stem days after a federal court failed to register tens of thousands of people who registered at a DMV over the years. This past Thursday U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs ordered the state of North Carolina to allow these voters to submit provisional ballots.

Image: Voters line up during early voting at Chavis Community Center in Raleigh, N.C.  AP / Gerry Broome