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North Carolina Fact Sheet: A Pattern of Blocking Access to the Polls

Click here to download this fact sheet as a PDF.
After Shelby: Passage of Restrictive Voting Laws:  Prior to the Shelby County decision, 40 out of 100 North Carolina counties were covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and were required to seek federal approval before making changes to their election laws. After the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v Holder weakened the VRA in 2013, North Carolina passed and implemented a sweeping elections bill that imposed strict voter ID requirements, cut early voting days, eliminated same day registration and ended pre-registration of 16 and 17 year-olds. Many of the cuts were made to programs that had been designed and shown to increase turnout and participation among Black and young voters.
Voters and Advocates Fight Bad Elections Laws in Court: Voters and organizations including the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, and League of Women Voters challenged these restrictive voting changes in individual lawsuits that were consolidated with a suit brought by the United States Department of Justice claiming that the voting law changes intentionally discriminate against black voters. On January 15, 2016, the North Carolina district court denied the NC NAACP’s motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from implementing the law’s photo ID requirement for the March primary. The trial began in federal court on January 25, 2016.
NC map
Non-Compliance with Federal Motor Voter Law: In December 2015, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and other attorneys representing Democracy North Carolina, the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, Action NC, and three individual North Carolina citizens filed suit against the state officials responsible for elections, public assistance programs and motor vehicle services for failing to provide federally mandated voter registration opportunities, in violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). According to the plaintiffs, North Carolina has failed to place many voters on the rolls when they tried to register at DMV offices, and is failing to offer required voter registration services to people who renew their driver’s licenses or state ID cards via mail or DMV website. Additionally, public assistance agencies were not providing opportunities to register to vote, as required by the NVRA.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau. Voting Age Population (VAP)- 2010 Redistricting Data Summary File PL 94-171: Tables P1-P4