The Vote and Social Change: Why All Eyes are on North Carolina


The Supreme Court’s decision to remove Section IV from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 opened the door for the introduction and passage of new voting laws and the potential for huge social change. North Carolina is leading the effort to make sweeping changes to the voting process. North Carolina’s House Bill 589 , the state’s newest voting legislation, passed the House, and the Senate will to vote on this legislation this week. This law will:

  • Implement a strict voter ID requirement that eliminates certain IDs. (Local government issued and college IDs are accepted.)
  • Eliminate same-day voter registration.
  • Cut early voting by a full week.
  • Increases the amount of money in elections by raising the max campaign contribution from $4000 to $5,000 and increasing the limit every two years with inflation.
  • Make it easier for  groups to challenge any voter who they think are ineligible by requiring that challengers simply be registered in the same county, rather than precinct of those they challenge.
  • Bar young adults from pre-registering as 16 and 17-year-olds, which is permitted by current law, and repealing a state directive that high schools conduct voter registration drives in order to boost turnout among young voters.
  • Forbid some types of paid voter registration drives
  • End public financing programs, including the landmark program that funded judicial elections.
  • Weaken disclosure requirements for outside spending groups.
  • Prevent counties from extending polling hours if long lines or other extraordinary circumstances make it more difficult for them to accommodate elderly or disabled voters with satellite polling sites at nursing homes, for instance.
  • End “Citizens Awareness Month,” an annual registration drive sponsored by the State Board of Elections.’

This bill will most likely pass the Republican led senate and become law in the state, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) is already preparing to challenge such voting laws. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the DOJ is requesting pre-clearance to any changes in voting laws in TX.  North Carolina could be next.



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